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Philco Auto Radios

See photos of a few Philco Auto Radio models.

Go to the Philco Auto Radio Index.

The history of Philco auto radios can be traced back to the Automobile Radio Corporation, which was formed in 1927 by C. Russell Feldman to produce Transitone radios for installation in automobiles. The early Transitones had two-dial tuning and took up a lot of dashboard space. And with a price tag of over $150, the early Transitone car radios sold poorly.

There was another important name which would later become involved with Transitone, however. William M. Heina of The Bronx, New York, was a prolific inventor who had previously invented an axle bearing and a resilient automobile tire. He formed his own company, the Heina Radio Corporation, prior to the beginnings of Automobile Radio Corporation. In 1926, Heina applied for a patent for the use of a radio in the dashboard of an automobile, along with a loop antenna in the roof of the car. The patent was granted April 26, 1927. Heina's company was acquired by the Automobile Radio Corporation in 1927.

Heina apparently stayed with Automobile Radio after the latter purchased his company, as he later invented a control unit for a car radio, to be mounted on the steering column of the car. This patent, assigned to the Automobile Radio Corporation, was filed on December 14, 1928 and granted on December 16, 1930.

Another Heina invention allowed a radio to be easily removed from a dashboard for service, by the use of a series of special electrical connectors mounted behind the radio. These connectors only made contact when the radio was in place in the dashboard.

Philco became involved with Automobile Radio Corporation in mid-1930. By August, they were not only selling Transitones through Philco dealers, but they were also building a single-dial unit for Automobile Radio. In December, Philco purchased the Automobile Radio Corporation, creating a new subsidiary exclusively for automobile radio – the Transitone Automobile Radio Corporation. Shortly afterward, Philco introduced a new Transitone auto radio, the Model 3, which was priced below $100.

When Philco purchased the Automobile Radio Corporation, it also acquired that firm's elegant office furniture. Philco's President, James M. Skinner, refused to allow it into the Philco offices. He was quoted in Fortune magazine as saying, "This is a factory. We don't believe in fancy furnishings."

As part of the Automobile Radio Corporation acquisition, William Balderston, a former Automobile Radio salesman, was made the head of Philco's new Transitone subsidiary.

In late spring 1938, Philco dropped the "Transitone" name from its auto radios, using the name instead on a new line of low-priced radios for the home. Philco continued to make auto radios under its own name for the next several years.

A sampling of Philco Auto Radios

1930 Transitone car radio

Single dial Transitone, 1930

Philco Transitone Model 3

Philco Transitone Model 3

Philco Transitone Model 10

Philco Transitone Model 10, 1933

Philco Transitone 816

Philco Transitone Model 816, 1936

Philco Transitone 817

Philco Transitone Model 817, 1936

Philco Transitone 827K

Philco Transitone Model 827K, 1937

Philco Transitone 828

Philco Transitone Model 828, 1937

Philco 920

Philco Model 920, 1939

Philco 926

Philco Model 926, 1939

Philco 928K

Philco Model 928K, 1939

Philco 931

Philco Model 931, 1940

Philco 933

Philco Model 933, 1940

Philco 936

Philco Model 936, 1940

Philco 937X

Philco Model 937X, 1940

Philco 938KX

Philco Model 938KX, 1940

Index of Philco-Transitone Automobile Radios, 1931-1938 and Philco Auto Radios, 1939-1942

Model Number For Use in Automobile Make Number of Tubes
     
1931    
     
3 Universal 7
     
1932    
     
6 Universal 5
7 (121) Universal 5
7 (122) Universal 5
8 Universal 6
9 Universal 6
12 (121) Universal 6
     
1933    
     
5 Universal 5
6F Universal 6
9F Universal 7
10 Universal 6
12 (122) Universal 6
B-6   5
PA Packard 6
PB Packard 5
     
1934    
     
11 Universal 6
700 Universal 6
800 Universal 7
802 Universal 7
C Nash 6
D Nash 6
DP Police Car 6
DPV Police Car 6
FN Ford 6
G (CGD) Chrysler 5
G (122) Chrysler/Dodge 6
G (122) DeSoto 6
G (122) Hupmobile 6
J Nash 6
N (FND) Ford 6
Q Nash 6
R Hupmobile 6
R Universal 6
     
1935    
     
805 Universal 5
806 Universal 6
808 Universal 7
809 Universal 6
810PA Police Car 7
810PB Police Car 7
810PV Police Car 7
AC-206 Studebaker 6
AC-266 Studebaker 6
CT2 Chrysler* 6
CT5 Chrysler 6
FT6 Ford 6
H Hupmobile 7
ME Pierce Arrow 6
MT-3 Pierce Arrow 6
NT-7 Nash  
PHD Packard 7
PHXD Packard 7
PT-5 Packard 6
RT-3 Reo 6
ST-3 Studebaker 6
T-2   5
T-3   6
T-5   5
T-7   6
T-8   6
     
1936    
     
811PA Police Car 7
811PB Police Car 7
811PV Police Car 7
816 Universal 6
817 Universal 6
818 Universal 6
818K Universal 6
819 Universal 7
CT-10 Chrysler 6
CT-11 Chrysler 6
FT9 Ford 6
HT11X Hupmobile 6
LT14X3 Lincoln 6
NT-12X Nash 6
NT-12X2 Nash 6
NT-15 Nash 6
NT-15X Nash 6
PT14 Packard 6
ST12 Studebaker 6
ST15 Studebaker 6
T-10 Chrysler/DeSoto 6
     
1937-38    
     
826 Universal 6
827 Universal 6
827K Universal 6
828 Universal 7
828K Universal 7
C-1450 Chrysler 6
C-1452 Chrysler 6
F1440 Ford 6
F1442 Ford 6
G1418 Graham 6
G1436 Graham 6
L1420 Lincoln 7
L1424 Lincoln 7
L1425 Lincoln 7
L1427 Lincoln 7
L1429 Lincoln 7
L1460 Lincoln 7
N1418 Nash 6
N1433H Nash 6
N1434 Nash 6
P1417 Packard 6
P1421 Packard 7
P1426 Packard 7
P1430 Packard 6
P1432H Packard 6
R1415 Reo 6
S1416 Studebaker 6
S1431 Studebaker 6
S1437 Studebaker 6
     
1939    
     
920 Universal 5
921 Universal 5
922 Universal 5
926 Universal 6
927 Universal 7
928K Universal 7
931 Universal 6
932 Universal 6
933 Universal 6
937 Universal 6
938K Universal 7
C-1606 Chrysler* 5
C-1608 Chrysler* 6
F-1640 Ford# 6
F-1641 Ford# 6
G-1628 Graham 6
L-1660 Lincoln/Zephyr 6
P-1617 Packard 6
P-1630 Packard 6
P-1635 Packard 7
S-1616 Studebaker 6
S-1622 Studebaker 6
S-1626 Studebaker 6
     
1940    
     
AR-1 Universal 6
AR-4 Universal 6
AR-5 Universal 6
AR-6 Universal 6
AR-7 Universal 6
AR-8 Universal 7
AR-9 Univ. AM/SW 6
C-1550 Chrysler* 6
C-1708 Chrysler* 6
F-1540 Ford# 6
F-1740 Ford# 6
G-1528 Graham 7
L-1560 Lincoln/Zephyr 7
L-1760 Lincoln/Zephyr 7
L-1761 Lincoln/Zephyr 7
N-1514 Nash 6
N-1524 Nash 7
P-1517 Packard 6
P-1530 Packard 7
P-1535 Packard 7
S-1516 Studebaker 6
S-1526 Studebaker 7
S-1722 Studebaker 6
S-1726 Studebaker 6
     
1941    
     
822P Police/Fire Car 7
822PV Police/Fire Car 7
AR-10 Universal 6
AR-40 Universal 6
AR-45 Universal 6
AR-50 Universal 6
AR-55 Universal 6
AR-65 Univ. AM/SW 6
AR-75 Universal 8
C-1808 Chrysler* 8
C-1809 Chrysler* 8
F-1840 Ford# 6
F-1841 Ford# 6
P-1830 Packard 6
P-1835 Packard 8
S-1824 Studebaker 6
S-1825 Studebaker 6
S-1826 Studebaker 8
SW-1 SW Converter 2
     
1942    
     
C-1908 Chrysler* 8
F-1942 Ford# 6
P-1935 Packard 8
S-1924 Studebaker 6
S-1926 Studebaker 7

* Also includes DeSoto, Dodge & Plymouth
# Also includes Mercury
Universal indicates a radio designed for universal mount in any automobile.