Philco Model 20 "Baby Grand" Cathedral Radio (1930)
The Philco model 20 Baby Grand was introduced in Aug-
ust of 1930 and it became an overnight success for the
company. It integrated an electro-dynamic speaker and an
all-electric 7-tube screen grid chassis into a compact table-
top cabinet, all for the price of $49.50 less tubes ($68 with
- see below). Its unique combination of price, looks and
performance was just what the public was looking for, and
with Philco's excellent distribution network, it was a classic
case of a product being in the right place at the right time.
It was extensively advertised by Philco and in excess of
300,000 units (including the upgraded Deluxe version)
were sold, catapulting Philco to the number one spot in the
industry, where they would remain for at least the next dec-
In their advertising, Philco went to lengths to point out that
the Baby Grand had "nothing but size in common with the other
so-called midget sets". They referred to it as that "big perfor-
ming little radio" and also as "the greatest little name in radio",
all presumably in an effort to convey the impression of
small size but of BIG sound - just like that of the traditional
consoles that the public was familiar with. They further
Philco Baby Grand...that big performing little radio.
In January of 1931, Philco "spiffed" up the cabinet of the
model 20, introducing what has now become known as the
Philco model 20 Deluxe.
The model 20 Baby Grand uses an ac-powered 7-tube
screen-grid TRF chassis featuring push-pull audio output.
Frequency coverage is standard broadcast from 550 to
1500 kcs. The tube line-up is 24*2 (two stages of screen-
grid RF amplification), 24 (2nd detector), 27 (1st AF), 71A
*2 (push-pull audio output) and 80 (rectifier). In spite of
Philco having introduced automatic-volume control into
some of its sets the previous season, this set does not in-
corporate it. The schematic can be found here courtesy of
NostalgiaAir. See rear (chassis) view here.
The radio photographed has a reproduction grille cloth
obtained from grillecloth.com.
|"Use it as an extra radio set or as a portable... With
the radio fans dancing in the parlor, how
wonderful to have a Baby Grand upstairs for
mother. For that boy or girl at college, Baby Grand
steps in with great performance at a price that will
hardly make a father flinch. For the spare
bedroom, for the boudoir, the den, the summer
cottage and as a gift supreme for all occasions, the
Philco Baby Grand fills a long-felt want. Philco
Baby Grand is an all-electric portable - can be
carried from room to room and attached to any AC
|We test all makes of
Make Any Radio Perform Better
Above is a newspaper clipping
from late 1930, showing prices
for Philco tubes as used in the
model 20 Baby Grand. The total
for 2*71A, 3*24, 1*80 and
1*27 is $18.50. Quite a princely
sum for 1930!
Sept 7th 1930, Illinois
Sept 4th 1930, Ohio
click on any thumnail to enlarge
Advertisement in Radio Retailing, Aug 1930, pgs 80 & 81.
Aug 1930, pg71