|The Seven Millionth Philco
|The 116X's Standard Broadcast Band Coverage (or lack of it!)
|It is of note that the 116X's broadcast band coverage extends to just 1500kc*, which was the band's upper limit when the 116X's
legacy type 16 chassis was introduced in June of 1933. About a month later, at the North American Radio Conference, the 1500-
1600kc region just above the band was re-designated for the band's expansion. Then, that December, with the imminent arrival of
high-fidelity receivers, the FRC authorized a number of experimental "high-fidelity" stations having frequency allocations within the
new space with 20kHz channel spacings. Although this enlarged band was not made official until March of 1941, radio set manu-
facturers scrambled to accommodate it. Most new Philcos, including all the true "high-fidelity" models starting with the 200X in
1934, were as a result designed to provide coverage to at least 1600kc. But this was all too late for the 16/116. The fact that one
had to change bands to receive the high fidelity stations, along with the set's lack of an IF control, only served to highlight its pre
high-fidelity era legacy. If one wanted a true "high-fidelity" Philco for 1936, one had no option but to buy the more expensive 680X.
* see table in the Technical Highlights section below
The 116X's chassis, which was basically that of the earlier model 16, as it stood in 1936 was at the end of the road. It had served
admirably in one form or another since 1933, the days of its roots in the model 16, but its shortcomings rendered it unsuitable for
the new generation of high-end receivers. Philco, by upgrading its audio and through clever advertising, had managed to eek out a
successful year of sales for it in 1936, but that would be it. The next season would see the introduction of a brand new model 116,
based upon an entirely new 15-tube chassis with true "high-fidelity" capabilities, at least as they were then understood. That set
would be priced very similarly to the 1936 model and yet would prove to be one of the best Philco sets ever made.
The 116X is a 5-band ac-powered super-heterodyne using 11 tubes, with RF stage, dual IF amplifiers and, in the words of Philco, a
"High-Fidelity audio system", based upon a pair of 6A3 triodes operated in "super class A" push-pull and providing a maximum of
15W undistorted output. The 6A3 was new for 1936, being a 6.3V version of the sweet-sounding 2A3 that is still a favorite of
audiophiles today. In addition, the 116X embodies what Philco described as a "High-Fidelity two-in-one loudspeaker", mounted
inside a sound-diffusing cabinet that also contained acoustic clarifiers for equalizing cabinet resonance.
Unlike Philco's top-of-the-line High-Fidelity sets, such as the 680X from the same model year, the 116X does not feature variable IF
bandwidth control, but it is provisioned with a comprehensive but conventional 5-point tone control, having settings of 1) mellow; 2)
Brilliant; 3) Speech; 4) Normal; and 5) noise reducing. Automatic Bass compensation is applied at low volume settings.
The 5-band coverage is:-
The tube line up is:- 78 (RF amp), 77 (mixer), 76 (LO), 78 (1st IF), 78 (2nd IF), 37 (2nd detector), 77 (1st af), 42 (driver), 2 off 6A3
(push-pull af output) and 5Z3 (rectifier).
The 116X uses the code 122 chassis versus the code 121 chassis employed by the 116B tombstone radio. The 122 uses a 5Z3
rectifier in place of the 121's type 80 and 6A3 triodes in place of type 42 triode-connected pentodes, providing higher audio output
(15W versus 10W). The schematic can be found here, courtesy of nostalgiaair.
Philco Model 116X (116) High-Fidelity Console Radio (1936)
The Philco model 116X console radio was introduced in June of
1935 for the 1936 model year. It listed at $175 and was the latest
in a series of classic Philco 16 /116 sets that had first appeared in
1933. What's more, together with the 680X, it continued Philco's
line of "High-Fidelity" receivers that had debuted the previous
season in the guise of models 200X and 201X. Although the
680X was Philco's top-of-the-line radio for
1936, the 116X was the season's runner-up.
The 116X's cabinet was designed by Benjamin S. Nash and is
described under US patent D101063, filed in Jan 1936. Nash was
also responsible for the set's oval-shaped escutcheon, also used
on most other 1936 Philcos (see patent #D96406).
Philco advertising overviewed the 116X features as follows:-
..includes every worthwhile scientific advance in radio reception.
- High Fidelity Audio System
- Five Wavebands covering every broadcast service on the air
- Two-in-one High-Fidelity speaker
- Automatic Bass Compensation
- Shadow Tuning
- Acoustic Clarifiers
- Wide Angle Sound Diffusion
- Program Control (a 5-point tone control)
- Full automatic Volume Control
- Automatic Aerial Selector
- Precision Radio Dial
- Glowing Arrow waveband indicator
- Balanced Superheterodyne Circuit
|"One feature alone does not make a radio. Philco achieves its
marvellous tone, power and foreign reception from the exact
matching and balancing of EVERY worthwhile feature!"
However, the truth of the matter is that the 116X was incapable of
true high-fidelity reproduction, even by 1936 standards, as it did
not offer adjustable IF bandwidths. As a result, the set's audio
was limited to around 4kHz, less than the ~8kHz considered at the
time as the minimum necessary for high-fidelity reproduction. By
comparison, the previous year's 200X/201X and the contempor-
aneous 680X did provide adjustable bandwidths, with an upper
frequency limit extensible to around 7.5kHz. So, we are left
looking upon the 116X as the Philco "poor man's" high-fidelity set
for 1936, and not because it was cheap, since at $175 it wasn't!
In spite of this conclusion, the 116X is a very good sounding radio
with excellent overall performance that provided good value for
money in 1936.
Philco based their claims for the 116X on its "Super Class A"
audio and its loudspeaker system, featuring a "high-fidelity"
driver, acoustic clarifiers, inclined sounding board and a sound
diffusing cabinet. Acoustic clarifiers were a new Philco innovation
for 1936 and their use in the models 116X and the 680X is fully
described in US patent 2059929.
|"The 116X is a true High-Fidelity instrument with a vastly extended
musical range which brings out the overtones that identify and
distinguish the many and varied musical instruments"
In early 1936 Philco announced the production of its 7 millionth radio, which was a model 116X. In celebration of this event the
company ran a media blitz and in cooperation with its dealers, ran promotions on all Philco models. As the 7 millionth set completed
its trip down the Philco production line, Philadelphia's mayor, S. Davis Wilson, was present at the plant to place his official O.K on
the radio. He and several of his staff had travelled to the plant to congratulate the company on their "unprecedented record" and
"to offer the city's gratitude for having given steady employment to thousands of Philadelphians and having added more than
$37,000,000 to the city's payroll". On behalf of the company, the ceremony was attended at the highest level by James M. Skinner
(president, Philadelphia Storage Battery) and Larry E. Gubb (president, Philco Radio & Television Corp). Later, this exact 7
millionth set was presented to the Warm Springs Foundation at yet another ceremony (Wilson visit : "Indiana Evening Gazette", 3/3/1936, p 7).
Exact replicas of the set were offered for sale to the public with a commemorative medallion attached, stating it to be an "exact
replica of the seven millionth Philco". Newspaper coverage promulgating the occasion was extensive and two cuttings, the first from
an advertisement and the second from an announcement, ran as follows:-
|"The seven millionth Philco has just been produced... an unparalleled achievement that tells you more about Philco leadership for
six successive years than a thousand claims or promises. In celebration Philco dealers are now offering the greatest values in
radio history... plus free demonstrations, bigger trade-in allowances and easier terms"
"...radio dealers have arranged special window displays for this week, commemorating the production of the seven millionth radio
receiver by the company. The seven millionth radio built by the company was a 116X and duplicates of this model, each bearing a
medallion designating it as such a duplicate, [are] a feature of the displays"
Further coverage of Philco's celebration of this milestone can be found at the foot of my Philco 60B page.
Band 1) 9.7 - 22.5mc (daytime shortwave)
2) 4.1 - 10mc (night time shortwave)
3) 1.5 - 4.1mc (1.5-1.6mc experimental Hi-Fi band, old police band & amateur)
4) 540 - 1500kc (standard broadcast)
5) 150 - 390kc (long wave)
See the 116B table-top version of this radio.
PHILCO MODEL 116 SERIES
|"High-Fidelity is indispensable for full musical appreciation. Clarity of
tone is equally important. New and exclusive Philco Acoustic Clarifiers
automatically prevent unpleasant, barrel-like boom and produce clarity of
tone such as you've never heard before. All the extended musical range and
clarity of tone created by Philco High-Fidelity and Philco Acoustic
Clarifiers are preserved and projected up to ear level by the large area
and slope of the famous Philco Inclined Sounding Board"
Of note is that Philco claimed the 116X to be a "High-Fidelity" set,
just as they had done the year before for models 200X and 201X:-
|The 116X's Inclined Sounding Board
|In the list of 116X features above, reference is made to the use of an "inclined sounding board"
(ISB)*. Its means of embodiment is however quite different to that of the 112X, one of the first
Philco sets to use the innovation. At a first glance it's easy to miss the fact that the 116X has an
ISB at all! However, close inspection reveals that the entire 116X front is gently inclined and that
the speaker baffle itself is yet further inclined to this. These traits are readily apparent from the
profile view of the 116X presented in Figures 2 & 3 of Benjamin Nash's patent (D101063). That
Philco should have gone to such levels to artfully accommodate the ISB in their ongoing console
line, several years after its introduction, only goes to show their level of confidence in its technical
*see my 112X page for further details on Philco's ISB