Philco Model 50 Baby Grand Cathedral-style Radio (1931)
The Philco model 50 Baby Grand was introduced in Aug-
ust 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 mahog-
any or walnut veneers. Compare this price with that of the
model 20 Baby Grand, released just one year earlier, at
around $68 complete!
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 weeks
earlier and destined to become nationwide bestsellers.
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 re-
peated the enormous success of the model 20, nor would
it match the sales of its contemporary models, the 70 &
90. Nevertheless it did do very well. According to philco-
radio.com, some 80,500 model 50s were produced.
There has been some speculation that a few model 50s
were initially released in a cab similar to that of models
21, 70 & 90 (see my Edward Combs page and philco-
radio.com). A personal conjecture as to the origin of this
variant, is that perhaps Philco at first planned to ship the
50 in a model 21 style cabinet but changed its corporate
mind shortly after commencing production to avoid erod-
ing sales of the more lucrative 70 & 90 superhets, once
their sales started to gain momentum.
The model 50 is a 5-tube Tuned-Radio-Frequency (TRF)
receiver tuning standard broadcast from 550 - 1500kcs.
Tube line-up includes three screen-grid types and a pen-
tode:- 24 (1st RF), 24 (2nd RF), 24 (detector), 47 (power
output), 80 (rectifier). You can find the schematic here,
courtesy of NostalgiaAir.
...designed by Philco engineers to meet the present demand for a low priced radio
newspaper ad. Aug 21st 1931.