Philco Model 50 Baby Grand Cathedral-style Radio (1931)
The Philco model 50 Baby Grand was introduced in
August of 1931 and was targeted at the "low price"
segment of the marketplace for tabletop radios.
Costing just $36.50, complete with tubes, it offered
bare-bones features in a simple, unembellished
cabinet of either genuine mahogany or walnut
veneers. Compare this price with that of the model 20
Baby Grand, released just one year earlier, at around
The 50 utilized a new, no-frills 5-tube TRF screen-
grid chassis. It was positioned as the entry level set in
a line-up that included Philco's now famous model 70
and 90 superheterodyne Baby Grands, introduced
just a few weeks earlier and destined to become
It was billed by Philco "as a radio destined to sweep the
country - powerful, selective, a great distance getter, and
at the lowest price in Philco history. A set built for those
who demand the best at a price anyone can afford to pay".
Well, it so happens that it did not end up "sweeping
the country", since in spite of heavy advertising, it
neither repeated the enormous success of the Baby
Grand model 20, nor would it match the sales of its
contemporary models, the 70 and 90. Nevertheless
it did do very well. According to philcoradio.com,
some 80,500 model 50 Baby Grands were produced.
...designed by Philco engineers to meet the present demand for a low priced radio
There has been some speculation that a few model 50s were released in a cabinet similar to that of models 21, 70 and 90 (see
my Edward Combs page and also philcoradio.com). One personal conjecture as to the origin of this variant, assuming it to be
genuine, is that perhaps Philco initially planned to ship the 50 in a model 21 style cabinet but changed its corporate mind shortly
after commencing production to avoid depleting sales of the more lucrative 70 and 90 superhets, once it became clear that those
would be big sellers.
The model 50 employs a 5-tube Tuned-Radio-Frequency (TRF) chassis covering the broadcast band from 550 - 1500kc. The
tube complement includes three screen-grid types and a pentode. More specifically the line-up is:- 24 (1st RF), 24 (2nd RF), 24
(detector), 47 (power output), 80 (rectifier). The schematic can be seen at Nostalgia Air.
The 50 was also available in a lowboy cabinet at a price of $49.95 complete.