Philco Model 16X Console Radio (1934)
When I first spied this Philco model 16X inside a dark an-
tiques barn I assumed it was either a model 18X or 14X,
but upon closer inspection I found it to contain the chassis
of an early model 16. Moreover, it sports the escutcheon
that is unique to the 16 series and has the 16's familiar
squelch on/off switch protruding from the right side. It app-
eared completely original and yet matched none of the
model 16X cabinets I was familiar with (early or late). I lat-
er contacted Philco historian Ron Ramirez, who respond-
ed that he could find no mention in the Philco furniture
records of a model 16 having been offered using this par-
ticular cabinet, though he had received reports of models
I wondered whether someone had removed the original
chassis and retrofitted the cabinet with one from a model
16. However, the closer I looked the more I became con-
vinced as to the set's originality (see my original 16X
webpage for more details).
Since that time I have located a number of original 1934
adverts featuring this radio that clearly establish it as a
genuine Philco offering. Firstly, I came across an advert
in Colliers magazine, dated March 24th 1934, which sh-
ows exactly this model. I later found several more adver-
tisements showing it in newspapers published during the
months of March, April and May of 1934. Prior to March,
only the first 16X version ever turned up and beyond
May, once Philco's 1935 models had been announced,
just the later model appeared. Only during these three
months in the spring of 1934 did I see this variant - sugg-
estive of a short production run and a radio that today is
a rare find indeed!
Two of the advertisements, from newspapers dated April
and May of 1934, are shown right (click on the thumbnail &
use your browser's zoom capability to see clearly).
So what can we now say about this radio?
This version of the Philco model 16X appears to have
been introduced in the early spring of 1934. It had an in-
itial selling price of $175 (complete) and is believed to
have been offered for sale only during March, April and
May of 1934, after which it was replaced with a new 16X
cabinet style introduced as part of the 1935 model line
up. Ads for the sister models using this same cabinet rev-
eal that the styling was the work of Ben Nash.
It uses the same chassis as the model 16 sets which pre-
ceded it, the technical details of which, including schem-
atic, have been fully covered on my 16L and 16B pages,
so I will not repeat them here.
Unlike the model 16L, which has a concealed inclined
sounding board, that of all the 16X variants is visible and
Philco did not hesitate in singing the praises of this feat-
ure when promoting these models. In advertisements for
the 16X model shown here, they proclaimed:-
It is to be noted that the rear of this radio is fitted with a
Philco Echo-Absorbing Screen (photo, right), designed to
further improve sound quality by eliminating sound waves
radiated from the back of the cabinet and reflected from
the floor and walls back to the listener. Note also that the
radio uses very similar if not the very same grille cloth as
the models 14MX and 60MB introduced in Jan of 1934.
The following caption is taken from an Oct 1933 advert-
isement for the Philco 18X. This was one of the first sets
to use this style of cabinet in the fall of 1933.
new Philco 16X...the All-Wave radio that is breaking distance
Tour the World! Yet stay-at-home.
The clear, true undistorted tone is due in large
measure to the greatest single development in
scientific sound reproduction - the revolutionary
PHILCO Patented Inclined Sounding Board:-
- its inclination directs all high notes (sparkle
and brilliance), which you would otherwise
miss, up to "ear level"
- its large size permits full reproduction of low
notes (depth and sonority)
- RESULT - reception as if the artist were
present "in person"
|"The Century of Progress" Started this --- and
PHILCO followed through with a masterpiece
A NEW trend in furniture design, refreshing and
exhilarating, comes from the Century of Progress
Exhibition and takes its place in our scheme of living.
PHILCO, alert to new ideas, created a striking
cabinet treatment for the stars in its 1934 line.
Outstanding is the manner of handling the PHILCO
Inclined Sounding Board, developed scientifically to
direct sparkle and brilliance of high notes up to "ear
level", without losing depth and sonority of low
Figured Stripe and Butt Walnut combine with
delicate mouldings and marquetry to achieve an
effect unknown in radio cabinets. Rounded corners,
pleasing highlights.. soft toned woods make the 18X
a fashion sensation.
Performance.. a PHILCO tradition.. establish it
soundly as "A Musical Instrument of Quality"
5-band early chassis
PHILCO MODEL 16 SERIES