Philco Model 90 Lowboy Console (1931)
Philco introduced the model 90 Lowboy in June of 1931
as part of their 1931/32 line-up. This attractive console
was originally priced at $89.75, complete with tubes. It
sold almost as well in its day as did that other contemp-
orary Philco offering, the model 90 Baby Grand, which
has gone on to become a veritable icon in the vintage
radio community today.
Both models utilized the same 9-tube Philco Balanced
Superheterodyne chassis type, which at first appeared
without automatic-volume-control (AVC) and with push-
pull 45s in its output circuit. The text of a June 1931
Philco newspaper advertisement featuring this version
of the lowboy is reproduced in the box below. By late
September of 1931, all versions of the 90 were being
promoted as having AVC and as using a new pentode
power tube (the type 47), as seen in the advertisement
below right. The price remained at $89.75.
NEW in Design. NEW in Principle. NEW in Performance!
|in distant stations sharply and separately!
Balanced Units... to give you sparkling
life-like tone - without distortion! Four-point
tone control... so you can interpret each
station as you like it - brilliant, bright,
mellow, deep! This magnificent lowboy
cabinet comes in American black walnut and
figured butt walnut with arch of V-matched
Oriental wood. Decoration in pin-stripe
walnut and quilted maple. Hand-rubbed
lacquer finish. Two 245 power-tubes -
push-pull. Long-distance switch. Oversize
electro-dynamic speaker. Illuminated station
recording dial. Complete with 9 tubes"
Marvelous distance and wonderful tone!
Back in the summer of 1930, when the model 20 was
introduced, Philco priced their sets without tubes.
That they did so at the time was not a sales ploy, as
some might suspect, but was because the tubes were
then considered insufficiently robust to be shipped
from the factory mounted in the radio. However, by
late 1930 Philco was claiming that their tubes were
"so rugged that they could be shipped mounted in the
receiver sockets". Thus ended their practice of pric-
ing sets minus the tubes and from thence forward
they priced and sold their radios "complete with Philco
The schematic for the model 90 can be found here,
courtesy of NostalgiaAir. The tube line up for my
model (second configuration) is 24 (RF), 24 (mixer),
27 (LO), 24 (IF), 27 (detector rectifier), 27 (detector
amplifier), 27 (1st AF/driver), 47 (output pentode)
and 80 (rectifier). Note that the lowboy console uses
a larger (type H2) loudspeaker than that used in the
Baby Grand (type K2).
Text extracted from a June 1931 newspaper ad.
Clipped from an early 1932 newspaper ad.