|Model 37-116X Technical Highlights
Philco Model 37-116X High-Fidelity Console Radio (1937) (Standard Tuning)
This Philco 37-116X (37-116) High-Fidelity console radio was one of two model
116X variants introduced in June of 1936 for the 1937 model year. The one
shown here features standard (manual) tuning, whereas the other, the 37-116X
Deluxe, debuted Philco's "Automatic Tuning", which provided a means for
rapidly locating and tuning in favorite stations. Automatic-tuning, in its various
guises, was a technology about to come of age and Philco may have been a
little uncertain as to how well their version of it would be received by the radio
buying public, so perhaps as a result they decided to offer the 116X both with
and without the feature. We may never know for sure, but the Deluxe set was
certainly the more heavily advertised and ended up being a great success,
whereas the standard version sold comparatively few and is a much rarer find
today. For sure, the standard was discontinued in Jan of 1937, after just six
months, whereas the Deluxe continued to be offered through June. Further-
more, the next season's 38-116XX was available with automatic tuning only.
The 37-116X was a very different radio to the 1936 116X , which was not a true
high-fidelity set at all, despite some Philco advertising claims to the contrary. In
addition to new cabinetry and, in the case of the Deluxe the aforementioned
automatic tuning, the 1937 set received an all-new 15-tube chassis that
provided adjustable IF bandwidths, high-fidelity audio and magnetic tuning. In
fact, the 37-116X embodied all six elements considered key by Philco at the
time for high-fidelity reproduction (see box below).
The 15-tube standard listed at $175, the same as the previous year's 11-tube
116X. The Deluxe was $20 higher at $195. Both of these sets represented
extremely good value for money. They were Philco's second to best models for
1937, bettered only by the 37-690X. Today, of all the 15-tube radios found,
regardless of manufacturer, the 1937 and 1938 Philco 116X models are those
most often encountered, a testimonial indeed to their great success in the
marketplace. According to philcoradio.com, 35,000 1937 and almost 26,000
1938 116Xs were sold. I know of no other "15-tubers" that came even close!
Philco High-Fidelity Tone gives you sheer, thrilling realism!.
|"The new Philco 1937 line aims at true high fidelity reception, a term that
has been used somewhat loosely in the radio industry, but which actually
means absolutely true, pure tone reproduction over the entire musical
scale from the highest to the lowest notes. It is achieved by combining
every scientific advance in radio into a complete system, including a
specially designed audio circuit and audio tubes.
Six major features include fifteen watts of power which make it possible
to bring in every note clearly and distinctly at any volume; the inclined
sounding board, which directs the high notes up to ear level in perfect
balance with the bass notes; wide angle sound diffusion, which spreads the
sound evenly to all parts of the room, additional acoustic clarifiers which
do away with barrel-like booming resulting from the distortion of the low
notes and absorb cabinet resonance; the tone control knob, which makes it
possible for the listener to emphasize either high or low notes as he
desires; and the auditorium speaker, which is in effect two speakers, one
desgined to carry very high notes and the other to reproduce low notes"
Overview: The 37-116XX is a 15-tube all-wave AC superheterodyne having five frequency bands with an RF amplifier, Automatic-Freq-
uency-Control (AFC), two stages of IF amplification with continuously variable selectivity control and a 15W High Fidelity audio system with
push-pull triode output stage, cathedral speaker and acoustic clarifiers. The tube line-up is:- 6K7G (RF amp), 6L7G (mixer), 6A8G (LO),
6N7G (reactance tube), 6K7G (1st IF), 6K7G (2nd IF), 6J5G (2nd detector), 6K7G (magnetic tuning amp), 6J5G (AVC diode), 6H6G (AFC
discriminator), 6J5G (1st audio), 6F6G (triode-connected driver), 6B4G * 2 (triode outputs) and 5U4G (rectifier). The tuning range is:- 530-
1600kc (band 1), 1580-4750 (2), 4700-7400 (3), 7350-11600 (4) and 11500-18200 (5).
The code 121 chassis, with shadowmeter, was used for the 37-116X Standard model and the code 122 chassis, with Automatic-Tuning, for
the 37-116X Deluxe. The schematics may be obtained here, courtesy of NostalgiaAir.
Acoustic Clarifiers: The 37-116X utilizes three 6.25" Acoustic Clarifiers (see rear photos, this page), designed to eliminate "barrel-like
boom" and produce "clarity of tone beyond all previous radio experience". These passive devices had been introduced the previous season
for the 116X and 680X models. At that same time, Philco had dispensed with their echo-absorbing-screen, perhaps feeling that it had been
made redundant as a result of the new development. The 37-116X and other 1937 models continued this trend; no screen is or was fitted to
the rear of their cabinets. Interestingly, for 1938 Philco re-introduced rear screens for many of their models, such as the 38-116XX. However,
they were advertised as fulfilling a purely protective role, serving no acoustic purpose, unlike their predecessors.
Wide-Angle Diffusion: Following another trend, one which began with the 200/201X in 1934, the 37-116X incorporated "Wide-angle Sound
Diffusion", designed to more evenly distribute notes on the musical scale throughout the room, lessening the beaming effect of the loud-
speaker, especially at the higher frequencies. In their advertising, Philco stated "no longer visible but there just the same. Built-in, sound
spreading truncated cone back of the grille cloth, in front of the speaker". The statement is a little curious, given that on none of their models
are diffuser elements evident from the exterior of the cabinets, other than perhaps the vertical wooden slats in front of the speaker baffles
visible on all the models.
Foreign Tuning System: The 37-116X incorporates Philco's much touted "Foreign Tuning System" and "Spread-Band Dial", and, like most
1937 Philcos, it was designed to use their "High-Efficiency Aerial". One Philco brochure, intended for dealers, even went so far as to advise
that all sets equipped with the foreign tuning system were to be "sold only with Philco High-Efficiency Aerial to insure greatest foreign reception".
However, the price of the aerial was not included in listed retail prices, so whether this statement represented absolute policy or merely a wish
on the part of Philco is unknown. The foreign tuning system was designed to match the input of the receiver to the high-efficiency aerial on
each band. It was described as "an absolutely essential measure" that "actually doubles the foreign stations you can hear and enjoy". Philco
advertised that stations on the 116X Deluxe were spread 6 times further apart than usual (5 times on the manual tuning version).
For details of other aspects of Philco High-Fidelity, see my 200/201X, 116X, 680X, 37-690X, 38-116X and 38-690XX pages. For further infor-
mation on Philco Automatic Tuning and Magnetic Tuning (AFC) see my "Philco Automatic Tuning and Automatic-Frequency-Control" page.
|"One of the greatest developments for the improvement of foreign and American reception, magnetic tuning is being demonstrated by
The new feature completely eliminates the tendency of a radio to drift "off frequency" or away from the station tuned in,
necessitating constant retuning of the set if finest tone and fullest power are to be enjoyed.
By means of magnetic tuning the station that is being received is kept perfectly tuned at all times, thus enabling the listener to enjoy
the fullest power and tone. Once a station is tuned-in with magnetic tuning in operation, no further attention is necessary and the
listener may listen to hour after hour of entertainment without touching the radio.
Magnetic tuning works similar to the manner in which a magnet pulls metallic object toward it. The minute a new radio is tuned close to
the frequency of any strong station, either at home or abroad, magnetic tuning goes into operation, establishing the exact frequency of
the station and holding the set there. It eliminates all possibility of poor tone quality due to inaccurate tuning"
- High Fidelity American and Foreign stations...
- Shadowmeter Tuning Indicator...
- Magnetic Tuning...
- Philco Spread-Band dial with 5 tuning ranges spreads shortwave
stations five times further apart...
- High Fidelity Audio System...
- Twin Tone controls... Treble Selectivity Control.. Bass Control...
- Inclined Sounding Board...
|Philco's Nine Millionth Radio
A brief report on page 29 of the April 1937 edition of Radio Retailing states that Philco's nine millionth radio set was a 37-116X Deluxe. The
set was presented to Judge Frank Smith of the Penn Athletic Club by the notorious Philco radio commentator Boake Carter, with Messrs
James M. Skinner and Sayre M. Ramsdell of the Philco Company in attendance.
The radio all America knows by name...and Model Number
|"The 116X cabinet has taken on new beauty.
Here is a radio whose appearance proclaims its
function with units housed so skillfully that the
set is as superb in appearance as it is in
performance. The finest of butt walnut is
matched with figured and pin-stripe walnut,
delicately enhanced by two narrawood inlays
around the top of the curved ends. Darker toned
woods in shaped forms contrast with the
smoothly flowing lines of the fine hand-rubbed
- Acoustic Clarifiers...
- Philco Balanced Superheterodyne Circuit
- 15 Philco High-Efficiency Tubes...
- Glowing Beam Tuning Range Indicator...
- Cathedral High-Fidelity Speaker...
- Wide-Angle Sound Diffusion
- 27 tuned circuits with the Philco High-Efficiency Aerial..
- Philco Foreign Tuning System.
|116X... in a superb new cabinet...
|...extracts from Philco advertising/promotionals