Philco Model 37-610T 'Big Bullet' Table Radio (1937)
The Philco 37-610B is a very deco radio that's become known in today's collecting circles as
the "big bullet". The one shown has walnut veneer, but it was also available in maple. It's a
5-tube ac-powered superhet covering the standard broadcast band from 530-1720Kcs,
shortwave band 1 from 2.3 - 7.4mcs and band 2 from 7.35 - 22mcs. The tube complement is
6A8G (mixer/LO), 6K7G (IF), 6Q7G (2nd det/AVC/1st AF), 6F6G (AF o/p) & 5Y4G (rectifier).
The knobs, from left to right, are on/off/three-point tone control, bandswitch (center),
fine/coarse tuning (upper) and volume. Negotiating the crowded shortwave bands is
facilitated by the provision of a concentric tuning mechanism, the outer knob being used for
rapid, coarse tuning, and the inner one for fine tuning. This radio, along with a few others
during the era, co-located the on/off switch with the tone rather than the volume control. The
rationale was that the volume setting could be left undisturbed from one listening session to
another. Of course, the tone-setting would be changed but that could be rapidly clicked to the
desired place without hanging around for the radio to warm up.
According to the internal sticker, this model uses the code 122 chassis and a perusal of the
Riders schematic reveals that this is used only in the 610T bullet. It differs from the code 121
chassis solely with respect to the location of the rectifier tube. In the 121 chassis (used in the
37-610B tombstone and 37-610J console) this tube is mounted on the bell housing of the
power transformer, but the 122 chassis relocates it to a spot on the chassis next to the output
tube, thereby providing increased headroom between the hot tube and top of the cabinet.
Both chassis use Philco's unit-construction, introduced for the first time in the 1937 model
season and forever a pain to service!
The "big bullet" style first made its appearance in 1936 with the model 610T which,
appearance wise, differs only in the shape of its dial window. It would undergo yet another
makeover in the guise of 1938's 38-610T. In 1937 and 1938 battery models 37-611 and
38-611 were also available. The company also offered two smaller bullet models, the 38-10
for 1938 and the 41-231T for 1941.
The radio above sports a lacquer finish in excellent original condition. A debate that often
rages in antique radio collector circles concerns just how glossy were the cabinets at the time
of original purchase. Undoubtedly there were models that were hand-rubbed to a high gloss
shine at the time of manufacture, whereas others would have appeared comparatively dull.
This example convinces me that the 37-610T was one of the models in the former category!
This is an updated version of my Philco 37-610T big-bullet page, showing a nicer example of
the radio that I recently purchased. My original page exhibited a model of questionable
originality that I came across in my early days of radio collecting. It lacks the two dark stripes
on the front, though as best I can tell, its finish is otherwise original. Did a few models come
from the factory without the stripes? I don't know, though I have seen the occasional stripeless
radio show up on Ebay. Note that my first model is a lighter color than the one here because
it uses maple rather than walnut veneer.