Philco Model PT-46 (PT46) Table Radio (1940)
This stylish bakelite radio comprises a 5-tube superheterodyne chassis that covers the standard broadcast
band from 540-1720kc. The loktal tube complement is:- 7A8 (mixer/LO), 7B7 (IF), 7C6 (2nd detector/1st
AF/AGC), 35A5 (AF output), 35Z3 (rectifier). It was also available as model PT-48 in ivory plaskon.
This radio has proven somewhat of an enigma to me, for various reasons that I'll now attempt to set forth.
To begin with, there are conflicting statements to be found concerning its year of introduction. Witness the
following dates and sources thereof:-
* 1938 - Stein's Complete Guide to Table Radios, Vol I
* 1939 - Collector's Guide to Antique Radios, Bunis/Slusser, Vol 2 - Vol 5,
* 1939 - The Radio Collector's Directory and Price Guide, Grinder
* 1940 - Philco Radio 1928 - 1942, Ramirez
* 1940 - Collector's Guide to Antique Radios, Vol 6, Slusser
* 1939-1946 - Steve Davis, at decoradios.com, claims the model was available in all of these model
years (though the war years 1943-45 would be excluded). I have not been successful
in discovering the source of this data, however.
* 1941 - To top it all, my model has a date stamp inside the cabinet of March 1941 (corresponding to
Philco's late 1941 model year).
Some of these apparent contradictions can be attributed to the distinction between the model year and
actual year in which the set was first sold. I think the 1938/1939 difference can be explained in terms of this,
since 1939 models first appeared for sale in late 1938. However this does not give the complete picture.
There are yet further curious points of interest. Firstly, the photo on page 125 of Stein's Volume 1 has a dial
scale that matches mine shown above, first introduced by Philco in late 1938 for the 1939 model season.
Photos in Bunis/Slusser and at decoradios.com however show a later Philco dial face, not introduced until
the following year. The 1939 dial face shows just "transitone" without any mention of the name Philco, which
was characteristic of 1939 models produced during the transition period following Philco's buy-out of the
Sandusky Simplex Corporation. Not until the 1940 models were introduced in mid 1939 did the name "Philco
Transitone" appear on the dial scale. Even then some early 1940 models continued to use the 1939 dial.
The frequency coverage shown on the 1939 dial (1540-1720kc) differs from that on the 1940 dial (540-
1580kc), signifying circuit changes. In fact, an inspection of the chassis contained in my unit shows it to be
identical to that of the 1939 model TH5, right down to matching component part numbers; corresponding
part numbers on the PT-46, available at NostalgiaAir, are different. However, it turns out that most of the 5-
tube push-button chassis from the PT-xx series were physically interchangeable. They also had identical
tube complements and layout, as can be ascertained from a quick perusal of the various PT-xx model
schematics available at NostalgiaAir. It certainly made economic sense for Philco to standardise in this way.
It seems feasible, based on the foregoing that this radio may have been available through the period 1939 -
1946, albeit with circuit changes and updates to the dial face. If so, it could not have been a big seller, since
it is not at all common. I rarely come across this model and Ron Ramirez, in his book on Philco Radio, rates
it A on his rarity scale (fairly hard to find). The ivory PT-48 version appears even more elusive!
In the case of my radio, with its 1939 TH5 chassis and 1941 date stamp, I can contemplate one scenario in
which an owner of a TH5 purchased in 1939 dropped and broke their beloved radio cabinet sometime after
March 1941. They might then have obtained from Philco a replacement cabinet corresponding to model PT-
46, which would have fit their chassis perfectly! It could also have been that Philco was guilty of mixing and
matching chassis and cabinets to some extent, particular towards the ends of model seasons when they
were using up inventory - something they were known for. Yet another explanation is that the chassis was
simply swapped out many years later by some well-meaning restorer or collector. The truth will likely never
So, at this point I've decided to just enjoy the radio and not dwell too much more on its curiosities, though I'd
certainly be interested to hear any other opinions on this matter and I will be watching Ebay sales and other
venues for examples of this model, along with old radio advertisements, to compare with!