Philco Model 112X Floor Standing Radio Console (Jan 1932)
The Philco model 112X was introduced to the public in January of 1932 as "the first radio scientifically designed
as a musical instrument". It was the company's first model to use the "inclined sounding board", a new invention
that was their latest salvo in the ongoing battle for superior tone. It looked radically different to any Philco that
had preceded it and was marketed using the catchy phrase "It looks different. It sounds different. It is different!".
The cabinet was styled by Edward L. Combs (patent), who was also responsible for the housings of the very
successful models 70 and 90, introduced the previous June.
The "inclined sounding board" was designed to provide clearer high frequency rendition by directing high notes
up towards the listener and away from the floor. Furthermore, according to some 112X ads, high frequencies
emitted from the rear, such as they were given the set's rear-mounted "echo absorbing" screen, were directed
down to the floor and were not reflected back to the listener off of walls behind the radio. The innovation was
used on various Philco models for a number of years and was obviously very successful, since even though
the 112X's rather unusual styling was short-lived, some later models achieved a more conventional appear-
ance by inclining the speaker baffle internally behind a vertical front panel, while others lessened the angle of
its incline, rendering it largely inconspicuous. The 16L is an example of a set that Philco referred to as having
a "concealed inclined sounding board", while the 116X is a set featuring an unconcealed board with reduced
angle of inclination. In any event, much was made of the feature by Philco in the design and marketing of their
sets throughout the 1930s. Of the 112X, in a 1932 advertisement Philco commented "Words cannot express the
supreme quality of this marvelous instrument. Here is a fidelity of tone beyond anything you ever thought possible. Turn
your back or close your eyes, you will believe that you are in the actual presence of the artists themselves".
The original purchase price of the 112X was $150, complete with Philco tubes.
The 112X uses the highly sensitive 11-tube "balanced superheterodyne plus" chassis with push-pull type 47
pentode output stage, tuned RF stage, 2 IF stages, AVC, Philco's much-touted 4-point tone control and
illuminated station-recording dial. Selectivity is great thanks to a 4-gang tuning condensor, with dual antenna
tuning in the front end, and two IF stages. The complete tube line-up is 24 (RF), 27 (oscillator), 24 (mixer), 24
(1st IF), 24 (2nd IF), 27 (diode-connected 2nd detector), 27 (detector amp)*, 27 (1st AF amp), 47 * 2
(push-pull output) and 80 (rectifier). It covers standard broadcast from 550-1500kc. Probably one of the best
sounding models of the season.
During 1931 model 112 had been available in a very different cabinet, sans the inclined sounding board,
designed by Norman Bel Geddes. Initially, for serial numbers below 174001, that model employed push-pull
245 triodes in its output stage rather than type 47 pentodes. Philco changed over mid-production to use the
more modern, higher-output 47 types but according to some commentators this resulted in degraded sound
quality. The pentodes were known to produce higher levels of distortion than the sweet-sounding 45s, which
to this day have remained a staunch favorite of audiophiles. "Never before so much distortion from a bottle" was
one remark made about the type 47 pentode shortly after its introduction.
This radio had been sitting in an antiques store for a while before I finally made up my mind to buy it. It had
been fully restored and plays beautifully.
* For a description of the Philco "multiplex detector" see the bottom of my Philco 111 page.
It looks different...it sounds different..it IS different!
...a musical instrument of quality.
...with the new Philco inclined sounding board.