Philco for 1928 (introduced June 1928)

Overview

This marked the bat­tery and "Sock­et-Pow­er" company's entry into the radio man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness. They aimed to "make a splash" by offer­ing a num­ber of table mod­el sets in dif­fer­ent col­ors, as well as a few con­sole mod­els.

Col­lec­tive­ly, this ear­ly line of Philco mod­els are known as the "511 series" since all of the sets below used the same 7-tube TRF chas­sis, which per­formed quite well. All were designed to oper­ate on 105-115 volt, 60 cycle AC: ver­sions made to run on 25 cycle AC were also avail­able. All had pow­er sup­plies built as part of the main chas­sis, unlike most of their com­peti­tors which were still using large, sep­a­rate pow­er sup­plies.

Of course, these sets received only the AM band, and not the entire AM band as we know it today. These Philcos were designed to receive between 550 and 1500 kc, which was the entire AM (stan­dard broad­cast) band as it exist­ed then.

The weak points of these new Philcos were the high-imped­ance mag­net­ic speak­ers used, which by 1928 were already becom­ing obso­lete.

The orig­i­nal sell­ing prices of the radio below did not include tubes, or (in the case of the met­al table mod­els) speak­ers.

Philco would fin­ish the year in 26th place in the radio indus­try, not bad con­sid­er­ing their radios had only been on the mar­ket dur­ing the lat­ter half of 1928.

Model Index

Click on a thumb­nail to see infor­ma­tion and pho­tos for each mod­el:

Table Mod­els

511 512 513 514 515

Con­soles

531 551

Radio-Phono­graph

571

Speak­er Table

Con­sole Grand

Models

Table Models

Model 511

Model 511 - Image courtesy of Robert Remes.
Model 511 - 1928 sales catalog. Model 511 - 1928 sales catalog.

Mod­el 511, the basic entry-lev­el Philco, came in a "Span­ish Brown" col­or scheme. The match­ing Mod­el 211 speak­er (sold sep­a­rate­ly) was paint­ed to match the radio.

The cab­i­nets of all of the table mod­els, and the speak­er hous­ings, were made of stamped met­al.

A ver­sion of Mod­el 511 made to oper­ate on 25 to 40 cycle AC cur­rent was Mod­el 521. It is oth­er­wise iden­ti­cal to Mod­el 511.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $115 (511), $25 (211 speak­er)

Num­ber made: 68,850 (Note: Num­ber includes all of the 511 series table mod­els, in their var­i­ous col­or schemes.)


Model 512

Model 512 - Model 512, front. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak.
Model 512 - Model 512 with 212 speaker. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 512, inside. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 512, chassis bottom. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 512, top. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak.
Model 512 - Model 512, back. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 512, left. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 512, right. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 512, left front detail. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak.
Model 512 - Model 512, right front detail. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 512, chassis badge. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 212 speaker, front. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 212 speaker, back. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak.
Model 512 - Model 212 speaker, left. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 212 speaker. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 212 speaker, bottom. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 512 - Model 212 speaker, label. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak.
Model 512 - 1928 sales catalog.

Mod­el 512 was the Man­darin Red mod­el with a Chi­nese-type flower motif and a bird paint­ed on the lid.

The match­ing Mod­el 212 speak­er could be pur­chased sep­a­rate­ly.

The 25-40 cycle AC ver­sion of this set was Mod­el 522.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $125 (512), $27.50 (212 speak­er)

Num­ber made: 68,850 (Note: Num­ber includes all of the 511 series table mod­els, in their var­i­ous col­or schemes.)


Model 513

Model 513 - Model 513, front. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak.
Model 513 - Model 513, top. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 513 - Model 513, side. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 513 - Model 513, back. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 513 - Model 513, chassis top. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak.
Model 513 - Model 513, chassis bottom. Image courtesy of Paul Czerniak. Model 513 - 1928 sales catalog.

This is Mod­el 513, known as the Labrador Grey set. The match­ing Mod­el 213 speak­er was sold sep­a­rate­ly.

A ver­sion made to oper­ate on 25 to 40 cycle AC was Mod­el 523.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $125 (513), $27.50 (213 speak­er)

Num­ber made: 68,850 (Note: Num­ber includes all of the 511 series table mod­els, in their var­i­ous col­or schemes.)


Model 514

Model 514 - Model 514, front. Image used with permission.
Model 514 - Model 514, left detail. Image used with permission. Model 514 - Model 514, right detail. Image used with permission. Model 514 - Model 514, top. Image used with permission. Model 514 - Model 514, left side. Image used with permission.
Model 514 - Model 514, right side. Image used with permission. Model 514 - Model 514, back. Image used with permission. Model 514 - Model 514, inside. Image used with permission. Model 514 - Model 514, badge. Image used with permission.
Model 514 - Image courtesy of Timothy O"Connell. Model 514 - 1928 sales catalog.

Mod­el 514 is in a Nile Green col­or scheme, and could be pur­chased with the (option­al) match­ing Mod­el 214 speak­er.

The 25-40 cycle AC ver­sion of this set was Mod­el 524.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $125 (514), $27.50 (214 speak­er)

Num­ber made: 68,850 (Note: Num­ber includes all of the 511 series table mod­els, in their var­i­ous col­or schemes.)


Model 515

Model 515
Model 515 Model 515 - 1928 sales catalog.

Mod­el 515, the Impres­sion­is­tic, is the rarest of the 511 series of table mod­el radios. The Mod­el 215 speak­er was avail­able to match this radio.

The 25 to 40 cycle AC ver­sion of this mod­el was Mod­el 525.

Note that the radio shown is a repro­duc­tion of a 515, and is not an orig­i­nal set. Orig­i­nal 515 sets have the lotus leaf design on the sides and back as well as on the front.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $125 (515), $27.50 (215 speak­er)

Num­ber made: 68,850 (Note: Num­ber includes all of the 511 series table mod­els, in their var­i­ous col­or schemes.)


Consoles

Model 531

Model 531
Model 531 Model 531 - 1928 sales catalog.

This is Philco's 1928 Low­boy, Mod­el 531, which has its dial and con­trols hid­den behind a drop-down front pan­el which could be used as a small writ­ing desk.

The 25-40 cycle ver­sion of this set was Mod­el 541.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $215

Num­ber made: 9,009 (Note: This fig­ure includes pro­duc­tion of Jan­u­ary 1929 Mod­el 86 low­boy)


Model 551

Model 551 - 1928 sales catalog.

The High­boy was Mod­el 551, a large set with dou­ble doors which con­cealed the radio's dial, con­trols and speak­er.

25-40 cycle AC ver­sions of this set are known as Mod­el 561.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $275

Num­ber made: 7,910 (Note: This fig­ure includes pro­duc­tion of Jan­u­ary 1929 Mod­el 86 high­boy)


Radio-Phonograph

Model 571

Model 571 - 1928 sales catalog.

Philco announced a radio-phono­graph com­bi­na­tion in its 1928 deal­er cat­a­log. Mod­el 571 would have com­bined a 511 series chas­sis with a sin­gle play 78 rpm phono­graph.

It appears, how­ev­er, that this mod­el was nev­er put into pro­duc­tion. None are known to exist, and there are no records of its being pro­duced.

Two years would pass before Philco would again offer a radio-phono­graph com­bi­na­tion - a mod­el that did make it to pro­duc­tion. (See the June 1930 line­up for details.)

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: Unknown

Num­ber made: Unknown


Speaker Table

Model Console Grand

Model Console Grand - Image courtesy of Robert Remes.
Model Console Grand - Console Grand with Model 511 Image courtesy of Robert Remes. Model Console Grand - 1928 sales catalog.

This was known as the Con­sole Grand Speak­er. It com­bined a table large enough to hold one of the 511 series table mod­el sets with a built-in speak­er of the same type used in the con­sole mod­els and the small met­al-enclosed speak­er units.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $50

Num­ber made: 20,025


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