Philco Model 23X Radio-Phonograph Console (1932/1933)
The beautiful Philco model 23X was introduced in June of 1932 as
the premier radio-phonograph console in the company's line-up
for 1932/33. It had a list price of $195, making it one of the most
expensive Philcos of the season, behind the model 15DX at $250+.
Philco radio-phonographs such as this one, from the darkest days
of the Great Depression, are seldom seen today, as few were sold
and not many of them appear to have survived. Quoting from
philcoradio.com, only 1461 model 23X sets were ever made.
According to advertising, the 23X was a favorite of Bing Crosby
and at his behest, it was featured in the 1932 motion picture "The
Big Broadcast", in which he starred (see ad lower down this page).
The 23X embodies a two-speed phonograph (331/3 & 78 rpm) with
a synchronous self-starting motor and automatic shut-off. It was
one of the first sets to offer 331/3 rpm, enabling it to play the new
program transcription recordings. Reportedly, both turntable
mechanism and pick-up arm were supplied to Philco by RCA
Victor. For sure, I can readily spot the similarities between this
set's phonograph and that in my RCA-Victor model RE-57.
Following in the footsteps of the 90X and 112X introduced six
months earlier, the 23X prominently features Philco's inclined
sounding board. For the 23X however, it was upgraded to
accommodate twin speakers in place of the singles used prev-
iously. The rear of the 23X's speaker chamber is fitted with
Philco's echo-absorbing screen.
The set employs the 9-tube 23X chassis that was a variant on the
newly introduced model 91 code 221 chassis, modified solely to
accommodate the 23X's phono input. The tube line-up is 44 (RF
amp), 36 (mixer/LO), 44 (IF amp), 37 (det-rect), 37 (det- amp), 37
(audio amp), 42 * 2 (push-pull output) and 80 (rectifier). The 42s
are wired as pentodes, not as triodes as became standard in
Philco's later sets. The 91/23 series was the first to use Philco's
shadow-graph tuning indicator, described on my 19B page.
Tuning range is standard broadcast from 550-1500kcs. The
schematic may be found here, courtesy of NostalgiaAir.
I purchased this unit in late 2008 through Ebay. It is fully restored
and plays with a big, impressive sound on both radio and phono.
The grille cloth is a replacement. See my Philco 91D page for a
later example of a set from the model 91 series (notice the
modified tube-shield design in the later set; 23X rear view here).
Shown above is an ad seen in the New York Olean Times Herald of Fri Nov. 18th 1932. It
refers to the inclusion of a Philco 23X radio phonograph in scenes of the motion picture "The
Big Broadcast" at the behest of Bing Crosby. The movie previewed at the Haven Theatre in
Olean, New York at midnight the next day, Nov 19th 1932. (double click on the ad to enlarge it).
The 23X was not heavily promoted by Philco and production numbers were low, as mentioned
previously. However, below are two extracts from additional newspaper advertisements that I
did manage to find. They featured the 23X radio-phonograph together with some of the other
Philco "inclined sounding board" console radios that were introduced to the marketplace at the
same time (91X, 15X,15DX, 43X, 47X). Both ads were dated June of 1932.
It looks better, it sounds better, it is better!
|First Showing! The Radio-Phonograph - Play your favorite records on this lovely instrument and compare
the reproduction with anything you have ever heard before - you'll agree, it looks better, it sounds better,
it is better! Takes both standard and long-playing records and includes every new Philco radio improvement!
| Shadow Tuning
Greatest visual tuning aid. Inclined Sounding Board
Greatest advance in music Philco Twin Speakers
since the Grand Piano.
Insure complete, perfect reception. Philco High Efficiency Tubes
Greatest advance in radio since
the first AC tube.
Echo Absorbing Screen
Designed to automatically kill noise
Recording Dial with Glowing Arrow
The desired station, instantly
|Only Philco Has These Features: