BY RICHARD ARNOLD
Another interesting set, first rejected and then rejuvenated. Richard Arnold definitely knows how to find them (Editor)
In 1936, Philco started to make Deco radios like the Model 610T and then continued with similar designs through 1938. Among them was the now somewhat hard-to-find Model 38-40, shown in Figure 1. I found mine here in Ardmore, Oklahoma, about a year or so ago. It wasn't very pretty. All the veneer along the bottom was either gone or splintered, the finish was very rough, and the set did not work. On top of all of that, the chassis was dirty and rough looking.
The owner wanted $40 for it. All I could see then was another old dirty project radio, so I passed it up. About a month later, I was back in the same store, and it was still there, only the price had come down to $20. I figured almost any old wooden radio is worth that, so I purchased it. Sure is amazing what a $20 difference will make in one's attitude.
Figure 1. The Deco-style Philco Model 38-40.
When I got the set home and took it apart, sure enough, it was a mess. I cleaned it up and started working on the chassis. It needed a new tone control, a few capacitors, a few resistors, and a new 6X5 tube. After all that was done, the set came back to life.
One neat thing about this radio is that it has a separate power supply that plugs into the radio chassis, as shown in Figure 2. This power supply uses a 6X5G rectifier tube along with a vibrator. The vibrator was missing. A round knob on the side of the power unit acts as a switch to change operation to either 6-volt DC or 115-volt AC.
The cabinet, measuring 18" wide x 11" high, has a Deco grille area and inlaid wood (not painted) stripes. The dial scale is what is called a "shadow dial." The four knobs are for tuning, off-on/tone, band selection, and volume.
The Philco 38-40 is a 6-tube superhet. It uses a 6A8G for an oscillator and a converter, a 6K7G IF, a 6J5G 2nd detector, a 6K5G first audio, a 6K6G output and a 6X5G rectifier. It has two tuning ranges -- a broadcast band of 530 to 1720 KC and a 5.7 to 18.0 MC shortwave band.
The Philco Models 38-38, 38-39, and 38-40 were all offered in the same cabinets. The 38-38 and 38-39 are both 6-volt battery sets.
Figure 2. Interior view of the Philco 38-40. Note the separate power supply on the right.
The only one of its kind in my collection, the Philco 38-40 was certainly a bargain at $20. I've developed a liking for it, so I guess I'll keep it.
Ron Ramirez. Philco Radio 1928-1942. Algen, Penn.: Schiffer Publishing, ????
Rider. John F. Perpetual Troubleshooter's Manual, Vol. IX, p. 9.
(Richard Arnold, P.O. Box 275, Lone Grove, OK 73443)
Richard Arnold, a frequent contributor to A.R.C., has been collecting radios since 1985. Primarily interested in cathedrals and 1920s battery sets, his collection ranges from crystal sets to a 1928 American Bosch in a Pooley cabinet. The 1932 JB Peter Pan featured in the June 1991 A.R.C. is his prize.