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Philco for 1939 (introduced June 1938)

The following models remained in the Philco lineup: 38-12CB (as 39-12CB), 38-12CBI (as 39-12CBI), 38-12T (as 39-12T), 38-14CB (as 39-14CB), 38-14CBI (as 39-14CBI), 38-14T (as 39-14T), 38-15CB (as 39-15CB), 38-15CBI (as 39-15CBI), 38-15T (as 39-15T). All other 1938 Philco models were discontinued.

Click on a thumbnail to see a larger photo below:

1939 Philco models

Model 39-6C Model 39-6C Variant Model 39-6CI Model 39-7C Model 39-7T Model 39-7CS Model 39-8T Model 39-17T Model 39-17F Model 39-18T
Model 39-18F Model 39-19T Model 39-19F Model 39-25T Model 39-25XF Model 39-30T Model 39-30XX Model 39-31XF Model 39-35XX Model 39-36XX
Model 39-40XX Model 39-45XX Model 39-50RX Model 39-55RX Model 39-70B Model 39-70F Model 39-71T Model 39-75T Model 39-75F Model 39-80B
Model 39-80XF Model 39-85B Model 39-85XF Model 39-116RX

1939 Transitone models

Model TH-1 Model TH-3

1939 Philco Tropic models

Model 39-711T Model 39-720T Model 39-744T Model 39-744XX Model 39-770T Model 39-770XX

Philco's new 1939 model line was dramatically different from its previous offerings. New, streamlined cabinets housed very different chassis; only a few table models bore any resemblance to 1938 models.

This was the year Philco introduced the industry's first wireless remote control. Philco dubbed it Mystery Control and tried to keep the technical aspects of its operation a secret, even going so far as to claim in its advertising that it was "not a radio beam," when in fact it was! The remote unit sent a pulse modulated signal which was set at a frequency between 350 and 400 kc to the main receiver, which received the signal, processed the information and performed the desired operation by either switching to one of eight preset AM stations, turning the volume up or down, or turning the set off. It should be noted that you could not turn the set on with the remote.

With all the hoopla surrounding its new Mystery Control, Philco quietly dropped its High Fidelity research; no more High Fidelity receivers were built by the company.

Philco's previous automatic tuning methods were also dropped in 1939; instead, pushbutton tuning was adopted. The pushbuttons, for the most part, worked much better than Philco's previous automatic tuning schemes had. The exceptions were Models 39-17, 39-18, 39-19 and 39-75, which employed a mechanical pushbutton method; all other Philco models with pushbuttons used the more precise electronic pushbutton tuning.

1939 was the year Philco introduced two new series: Transitone and Tropic. Transitone was not a new name; it originally was the trademark of Automobile Radio Corporation, which Philco acquired in 1930. Between then and 1938, Philco Transitone was an auto radio. Beginning with the 1939 season, however, Philco introduced two low-priced table models which did not carry the Philco name at all - only the name Transitone.

Philco Tropic was a new series of radios, made chiefly for export to tropical areas such as Central America. These sets had coils and chassis which were designed to withstand extremes in humidity.

According to various Philco documentation, most models of 38-12, 38-14 and 38-15 sets were retained in the new 1939 lineup; however, I have yet to see one of these labeled "39-12," "39-14," etc. A very likely possibility is that Philco may have had leftover stock of these models and simply sold them, complete with "38-12" etc. stickers on the inside, until they were gone.

View the 1939 (June 1938) Phonograph with Philco models.


The 1939 Philco Line

Philco Model 39-6C

Model 39-6C

Photo courtesy Art Hoch

A new five-tube compact table model which used a chassis which was nearly identical to the previous season's Model 38-12. It operated on 115 volts AC and covered the AM band.

Original selling price: $19.95

Number made: 34,025 (Note: Figure includes production of Model 39-6CI)


Philco Model 39-6C, undocumented variant

Model 39-6C, undocumented variant

Photo courtesy John Baratono


Philco Model 39-6CI

Model 39-6CI

Photo courtesy Kim Bowers

Successor to the 1938 Model 38-12CI, this model was otherwise identical to the 39-6C above.

Original selling price: $25

Number made: 34,025 (Note: Figure includes production of Model 39-6C)



Philco Model 39-7C

Model 39-7C

Photo courtesy Don Lindsly

The new 39-7 was, basically, a 39-6 with the addition of electronic pushbutton tuning.

Original selling price: $23.50

Number made: 47,809


Philco Model 39-7T

Model 39-7T

Photo courtesy Jeffrey Goldstein

Intended to be a more stylish version of the 39-7; this model included a bezel surrounding the dial with a glass cover in place of the plastic dial cover used on the 39-7C.

Original selling price: $27.50

Number made: 23,998 (Note: Figure includes production of Model 39-8T)


Philco Model 39-7CS

Model 39-7CS

Photo courtesy Thomas Spiegle

A chairside version of Model 39-7; this cabinet had been previously used with 1938 models 38-14CS & 38-15CS. The 39-7 received the AM band only, but included Philco's new electronic pushbutton tuning.

Original selling price: Not available

Number made: 8,600 (Note: Figure includes production of June 1937 Models 38-14CS & 38-15CS)


Philco Model 39-8T

Model 39-8T

Photo courtesy Paul Turney

An AC/DC version of Model 39-6. The 39-8 used five tubes plus a ballast, and received the AM band only.

Original selling price: $25

Number made: 23,998 (Note: Figure includes production of Model 39-7T)


Philco Model 39-17T

Model 39-17T

One of four Philco Models to use mechanical pushbuttons which moved the tuning condenser to different preset spots on the dial. The others were Models 39-18, 39-19 & 39-75. The 39-17 used five tubes, operated on 115 volts AC, and received the AM band.

Original selling price: $29.95

Number made: 40,305 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-18T, 39-19T & 39-75T as well as January 1939 models 39-117T, 39-118T, 39-119T & 39-175T)


Philco Model 39-17F

Model 39-17F

A console version of Model 39-17.

Original selling price: $39.95

Number made: 28,938 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-18F, 39-19F, 39-70F & 39-75F as well as January 1939 models 39-117F, 39-118F, 39-119F & 39-175F)


Philco Model 39-18T

Model 39-18T

An AC/DC version of Model 39-17.

Original selling price: $29.95

Number made: 40,305 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-17T, 39-19T & 39-75T as well as January 1939 models 39-117T, 39-118T, 39-119T & 39-175T)


Philco Model 39-18F

Model 39-18F

Model 39-17F shown. Model 39-18F is identical in appearance.

Original selling price: $39.95

Number made: 28,938 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-17F, 39-19F, 39-70F & 39-75F as well as January 1939 models 39-117F, 39-118F, 39-119F & 39-175F)


Philco Model 39-19T

Model 39-19T

Model 39-19 added a shortwave band (5.5 to 19 mc) to its AM coverage. It operated on 115 volts AC, and used five tubes.

Original selling price: $35

Number made: 40,305 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-17T, 39-18T & 39-75T as well as January 1939 models 39-117T, 39-118T, 39-119T & 39-175T)


Philco Model 39-19F

Model 39-19F

Model 39-17F shown. Model 39-19F is identical in appearance.

The console version of Model 39-19.

Original selling price: $49.95

Number made: 28,938 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-17F, 39-18F, 39-70F & 39-75F as well as January 1939 models 39-117F, 39-118F, 39-119F & 39-175F)


Philco Model 39-25T

Model 39-25T

Philco had introduced inclined control panels on many of its 1938 Model consoles. Now, they offered table models with this feature. The 39-25 used five tubes and offered eight electronic pushbuttons to complement its two band coverage of AM and 4.9 to 18 mc shortwave. It operated on 115 volts AC.

Original selling price: $48

Number made: 30,330


Philco Model 39-25XF

Model 39-25XF

Original selling price: $62.95

Number made: 25,255 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-80XF & 39-85XF)


Philco Model 39-30T

Model 39-30T

Photo courtesy Ryan Meldahl

A six tube Philco table model with an inclined control panel, it was very similar to the 39-25.

Original selling price: $58

Number made: 22,050


Philco Model 39-30XX

Model 39-30XX

Original selling price: $72.95

Number made: Not available


Philco Model 39-31XF

Model 39-31XF

The 39-31 used the same chassis as the 39-30; six tubes, eight pushbuttons, AM and shortwave from 4.9 to 18 mc; and operated on 115 volts AC.

Original selling price: $69.95

Number made: 19,590


Philco Model 39-35XX

Model 39-35XX

Yet another model that used the same chassis as the 39-30.

Original selling price: $82.95

Number made: 15,842


Philco Model 39-36XX

Model 39-36XX

This new Philco console used thumbwheel controls and six tubes. It also had eight electronic pushbuttons for preset AM stations. It could also tune the entire AM band as well as shortwave from 5 to 18 mc. Power required was 115 volts AC.

Original selling price: $82.95

Number made: 30,665


Philco Model 39-40XX

Model 39-40XX

Photo by Barry Blau; courtesy David Kulka

An eight tube model that had the same features and frequency coverage as the 39-36.

Original selling price: $103

Number made: 32,795


Philco Model 39-45XX

Model 39-45XX

Photo courtesy Michael Ko

This was a nine tube, three band set with eight pushbuttons, that operated on 115 volts AC. Its frequency coverage included 540 to 1720 kc; 1.7 to 5.9 mc; and 5.8 to 18 mc. It also had a folding door that covered the dial and controls.

Original selling price: $132.50

Number made: 16.760


Philco Model 39-50RX Philco Model 39-50RX remote

Model 39-50RX

Model 39-50RX receiver (left) and wired remote control (right)

The 1939 Philco dealer catalog announced this AM-only model, which had no dial or controls. Instead, it was to be controlled by a wired remote control, which contained eight electronic pushbuttons and an off-on-volume control.

However, this model was apparently never put into production. There is no documentation for it, and none are known to exist.


Philco Model 39-55RX, closed Philco Model 39-55RX, open
Philco Mystery Control

Model 39-55RX

Model 39-55RX, door closed (upper left) and open (upper right)

Photos courtesy J. Thomas Lawson

Mystery Control remote unit (left) used with Models 39-55RX & 39-116RX

The smaller of two Mystery Control models for 1939, the 39-55 was an AM-only receiver. Its wireless remote could select from eight preset AM stations, change volume, or turn the set off (but not on). Ten tubes were used in the radio itself, plus one in the wireless remote unit.

The 39-55RX was two receivers in one; part of the set was an AM receiver, the other part was fixed-tuned to the frequency of the wireless remote and processed the signals from the remote.

Original selling price: $162.50

Number made: 20,480


Philco Model 39-70B

Model 39-70B

The 39-70 was a new battery-operated Philco for rural areas, that received the AM band only with its four tubes.

This was one of only three Philcos that was still offered in a Baby Grand (tombstone) cabinet in 1939.

Original selling price: $29.95

Number made: 35,635


Philco Model 39-70F

Model 39-70F

Original selling price: $39.95

Number made: 28,938 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-17F, 39-18F, 39-19F & 39-75F as well as January 1939 models 39-117F, 39-118F, 39-119F & 39-175F)


Philco Model 39-71T

Model 39-71T

Philco had produced a "portable" model back in late 1932 (Model 80P); however, it required a 115 volt AC source of power to operate. Now, six years later, Philco introduces its first true portable: the battery-operated 39-71. The cabinet was large enough to accommodate both the radio chassis and the needed batteries. It received the AM band only, and used four tubes.

Original selling price: $33.45

Number made: 32,700


Philco Model 39-75T

Model 39-75T

A battery-operated version of Model 39-17, the 39-75 also used mechanical pushbuttons and received the AM band only with its four tubes.

Original selling price: $39.95

Number made: 40,305 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-17T, 39-18T & 39-19T as well as January 1939 models 39-117T, 39-118T, 39-119T & 39-175T)


Philco Model 39-75F

Model 39-75F

Original selling price: $54.95

Number made: 28,938 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-17F, 39-18F, 39-19F & 39-70F as well as January 1939 models 39-117F, 39-118F, 39-119F & 39-175F)


Philco Model 39-80B

Model 39-80B

This four tube, battery operated Philco received the AM band only. This large Baby Grand cabinet left lots of room for batteries, as the chassis and speaker were relatively small.

Original selling price: $52.50

Number made: 20,050 (Note: Figure includes production of Model 39-85B)


Philco Model 39-80XF

Model 39-80XF

Original selling price: $69.95

Number made: 25,255 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-25XF & 39-85XF)


Philco Model 39-85B

Model 39-85B

The difference between Models 39-85 and 39-80 was that the "85" added electronic pushbutton tuning and a shortwave band (5.6 to 18 mc).

Original selling price: $52.50

Number made: 20,050 (Note: Figure includes production of Model 39-80B)


Philco Model 39-85XF

Model 39-85XF

Original selling price: $79.95

Number made: 25,255 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-25XF & 39-80XF)


Philco Model 39-116RX Philco Model 39-116RX

Model 39-116RX

Model 39-116RX, upper door closed (left) and open (right)

Photo at left shows the Mystery Control on top of the radio.

Photos courtesy Clifford R. Huff

The new Philco flagship offered three band coverage (540-1720 kc, 1.7-5.9 mc & 5.8-18 mc). The main receiver used 13 tubes; an additional tube was used in the Mystery Control. Like the 39-55, the 39-116 was two receivers in one; part of the radio was used to process signals from the wireless remote while the remainder functioned as a normal receiver.

Original selling price: $198

Number made: 22,330 (Note: Figure includes production of June 1939 Model 40-200XX)


1939 Transitone Models

Transitone Model TH-1

Model TH-1

This was the new price leader for 1939. The TH-1 used four tubes plus a ballast, and was a throwback to the late 1920s in electronic design in that it used a Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) circuit.

I suspect this model was designed and built by Simplex, whose majority owner by now was Philco (Philco had bought into Simplex in 1937, and would eventually buy the Ohio company out completely).

Original selling price: $9.95

Number made: Not available


Transitone Model TH-3

Model TH-3

In contrast to the TH-1, the new TH-3 is a 39-6 chassis (the dial scale of which reads TRANSITONE instead of PHILCO), in a 38-12CB Bakelite cabinet.

Original selling price: $15.95

Number made: Not available


1939 Philco Tropic Models

Philco Model 39-711T

Model 39-711T

This Tropic model had three bands (540-1720 kc, 2.3-7.4 mc & 7.3-22 mc) and operated from either 115 or 230 volts, AC or DC. It used six tubes.

Original selling price: Not available

Number made: 5,000


Philco Model 39-720T

Model 39-720T

Specifications for this model are not available.

Original selling price: Not available

Number made: 4,651


Philco Model 39-744T

Models 39-744T, 39-750T & 39-751T

Model 39-744T shown at left. Models 39-750T & 39-751T are identical in appearance.

Photo courtesy Shawn Johnston

Three different Tropic models shared two cabinets. All three had the same frequency coverage as Model 39-711 above. The 39-744 used seven tubes and operated on a 6-volt storage battery; the 39-751 had eight tubes and could run from either AC or DC current, 115 or 230 volts. Specifications for Model 39-750 are not available.

Original selling price: Not available

Number made: 6,344 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-744T, 39-750T & 39-751T)


Philco Model 39-744XX

Models 39-744XX, 39-750XX & 39-751XX

Illustration is representative of Models 39-744XX, 39-750XX & 39-751XX, as all three are identical in appearance.

Original selling price: Not available

Number made: 714


Philco Model 39-770T

Models 39-770T & 39-2770T

Model 39-770T shown; Model 39-2770T is identical in appearance.

Photo courtesy Dan Schwartzman

These Tropic models used thumbwheel controls and operated on 115 volts AC, using 11 tubes. Both had four bands and could receive between 530 kc and 22 mc. The difference between the two was in the frequency coverage of each. Model 39-2770 added a long wave band (140-390 kc) while pushing the shortwave frequencies closer together to maintain the use of four tuning bands.

Original selling price: Not available

Number made: 4,729 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-770T & 39-2770T)


Philco Model 39-770XX

Models 39-770XX & 39-2770XX

Illustration is representative of Models 39-770XX & 39-2770XX, as both are identical in appearance.

Original selling price: Not available

Number made: 200 (Note: Figure includes production of Models 39-770XX & 39-2770XX)