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The History of Philco


The most well-known use of a Philco chassis in a non-Philco product was in the products manufactured by the Radiobar Corporation of America, a West Coast manufacturer of the 1930s.

1937 Radiobar illustration - Click to enlarge
1937 Radiobar illustration - Click to enlarge

The company had been formed by Earnest J. Krause [sic] in 1931, in Los Angeles, California. The firm was also affiliated with a New York company of the same name. The idea behind the Radiobar dated back to the days of Prohibition (which was repealed in 1933) – make a functional piece of furniture in which one's liquor stock and glasses could be stored, out of sight.

The earliest Radiobars used RCA-built chassis as well as chassis supplied by Philco, but within a few years, Radiobar was using Philco chassis exclusively in its products. The companies were working so closely together by 1938 that Philco did not produce any of its own radio-phonographs for that model year; instead turning the task over to Radiobar for a line of Phonograph with Philco radio-phonographs that included Capehart automatic changers to go along with Philco-supplied radio chassis.

By mid-1938, Radiobar had merged with Philco, and Philco was once again producing its own radio-phonographs. The higher-end 1939 Phonograph with Philco models continued the use of Capehart changers.

What prompted the Radiobar-Philco merger? The manager of Philco's model shop, Arthur Whitehair, was quoted as saying, "Philco's interest in Radiobar may have had something to do with Radiobar's technology with phonographs. They had an engineer who was pretty good in that area."

Philco also brought out a few "Radiobar with Philco" models for the 1939 season, after which the Radiobar name disappeared into the history books.

A Sampling of Radiobar Products

Made by the Radiobar Company of America using Philco chassis

Click thumbnails to enlarge and to see more info on each item.

1936 Radiobar - Click to enlarge
Radiobar 504-37-610 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar 507-37-610 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar 528-37-620 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar 536-37-640 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar 510-37-650 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar 550-37-PC675 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar 550-37-PC675 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar 515-37-650 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar with Philco 38-9 - Click to enlarge
Radiobar with Philco 38-9 - Click to enlarge