Philco for 1929 (introduced January 1929)


As 1929 began, Philco made up for lost time. Anoth­er com­pa­ny that had spe­cial­ized in bat­tery elim­i­na­tors, Majes­tic (Grigs­by-Grunow), had made a big splash in the radio indus­try in June 1928 with its own new line of radio receivers. Majestic's sets fea­tured a new type of speak­er - Elec­tro-Dynam­ic - and the Majes­tic radios pro­duced thun­der­ing bass which proved to be very pop­u­lar.

Philco's ini­tial radio line­up had used high-imped­ance mag­net­ic speak­ers. Thus, Philco slight­ly refined the basic 511 cir­cuit­ry, adding a push-pull out­put stage and their own elec­tro-dynam­ic speak­er. The new set became Mod­el 86. (The 25-40 cycle ver­sion of Mod­el 86 was Mod­el 82.)

It appears that Mod­el 86 was nev­er offered as a table mod­el set, only in con­sole form.

Philco's new radio line was slimmed down con­sid­er­ably from six months before. A few 511 Series sets were retained in the Philco line­up: the Span­ish Brown 511 table mod­el, the 531 Low­boy, and the 551 High­boy. How­ev­er, the hand-paint­ed mod­els (512, 513, 514, 515) were dis­con­tin­ued.

A new low­boy was intro­duced, with no drop-down door and a dif­fer­ent grille open­ing. It became Mod­el 591 (with the 511 chas­sis) and Mod­el 86 (with the 86 chas­sis).

The 511 series chas­sis and the 86 chas­sis also shared the same low­boy (with the drop-down door) and high­boy cab­i­nets used dur­ing the pre­ced­ing six months.

Model Index

The fol­low­ing mod­els remained in the Philco line­up: 511, 531, 551. All oth­er 1928 mod­els were dis­con­tin­ued.

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


86 & 531 Low­boy 86 & 591 Low­boy 86 & 551 High­boy



Model 86 & 531 Lowboy

Model 86 & 531 Lowboy
Model 86 & 531 Lowboy Model 86 & 531 Lowboy - 1928 sales catalog.

The Philco 1928 Low­boy, Mod­el 531, also con­tin­ued for Jan­u­ary 1929. The Mod­el 86 chas­sis was also avail­able in an iden­ti­cal cab­i­net.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $129.50 (86), Not avail­able (531)

Num­ber made: 9,009 (Note: This fig­ure includes both 86 and 531 ver­sions)

Model 86 & 591 Lowboy

Model 86 & 591 Lowboy

A new low­boy, with no drop-down door cov­er­ing the dial and con­trols, became avail­able in Jan­u­ary 1929. It, too, was avail­able with either the 86 or 511 series chas­sis.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: $127.50 (591), $157 (86)

Num­ber made: 78,760 (Note: This fig­ure includes both 86 and 591 ver­sions)

Model 86 & 551 Highboy

Model 86 & 551 Highboy - Image courtesy of Dan Robinson.
Model 86 & 551 Highboy - Image courtesy of Dan Robinson.

The High­boy also con­tin­ued for Jan­u­ary 1929, and was like­wise avail­able either as a Mod­el 86 or Mod­el 551 (511 series chas­sis).

This par­tic­u­lar mod­el is a Mod­el 86; Mod­el 551 is iden­ti­cal in appear­ance.

Orig­i­nal sell­ing price: Unknown

Num­ber made: 7,910 (Note: This fig­ure includes both 86 and 551 ver­sions)

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