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Gary Breaux's Vintage Philco Radios
History/Background

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Philco began in 1892 as a moderately successful manufacturer of carbon arc lamps.

In 1906 the company reorganized into the Philadelphia Storage Battery Company with eighteen employees and began to turn a profit. In 1919 the familiar Philco trademark was introduced on a new line of batteries know as Diamond Grid with sales in excessive of four million dollars annually. This product line lead the company into the production of a new product called Radio and by 1930 was hugely successful mainly due to the Baby Grand Model 20 that was relatively affordable. Though 49.50 (less tubes) was a significant amount for the Depression Era years the price was reachable. This was the strategic difference between Philco and its competitors who concentrated on the higher priced console market.

By 1931 Philco was the leading seller of radios and maintained electronics dominance through the Second World War. Philco engineered many innovations and changed the face of electronics for all time. Today the Philco name can be found on economy priced electronics mostly in mass retail.

Philco is an archetypical American success story. It faced failure many times but through foresight, innovation, and diligence became ingrained in Americana forever. But the Philcos of the 30s, the romance and beauty of those fabulous wood cathedrals, are the real attraction to me. There is great personal satisfaction in rescuing and preserving a part of our history!

Philco, Known for Quality the World Over!

The history of this hobby surely began in the 1920s with the first curious person who just had to see what made those tubes glow. The depth of the hobby is quite surprising. There are numerous Web resources for procuring radios, parts, technical specifications, reference materials, and even vintage test equipment. Also, as my RELATED LINKS tab will display, there exists a wealth of technical and advisory resources available, real people who will talk to you and help you! I have met the nicest people in this hobby, people who share themselves to enhance the hobby!

Please allow a quick philosophical note. I do not REFINISH these old sets. I attempt to RESTORE them. I seldom do anything that cannot be undone. I preserve the appearance of the old electrical components by hiding new components inside the old shell. I use authentic lacquer finishes when cabinet restoration is necessary. In brief my objective is to return a set to safe operation while leaving the appearance close to a well-maintained seventy-year-old artifact.

Philco, Known for Quality the World Over!

My Background

I have a life-long background as a "tinkerer". (A tinkerer is a person who often breaks as much as he fixes but learns from and enjoys the experience regardless of the outcome.) You must enjoy tinkering to enjoy this hobby! By trade I am the Director of Information Services for a renowned textile producer.

I enjoy my family; eighteen-year-old son, eleven-year-old daughter, and a darling wife who has stopped shaking her head every time I haul a new piece of "junk" home.

My Church, Saint Giles Presbyterian, and community involvements in Greenville, South Carolina are also sources of enjoyment.

God has blessed me richly. I hope this site can enrich you in some way!