Capehart Radio-Phonographs for the 1930s and 1940s
"Capehart Automatic Phonograph Company" was incorporated February 1928 and the first series were called Orchestrope. Introduced 1928, it was sold until 1930, but had to undergo some changes. See this video for the playing mechanism. About a dozen models are known like 28-F, Commercial, Club, Aristocrat, etc. June 1929 the company, now in Fort Wayne, IN, had to be refinanced as "Capehart Corporation". The amplifiers came from Webster.
In 1931 followed the drop-type only "10-12" mechanism. Homer E. Capehart, the founder, was dismissed February 1932 and went to Wurlitzer, where he introduced the Simplex mechanism with great success. He always bought the rights for the mechanism and did not invent but was a brillant salesman and organizer.
Capehart models in literature like "Radio Collector's Guide 1921-1932" by Morgan E. McMahon and "The Radio Collector's Directory and Price Guide 1921-1965" by Robert E. Grinder (2nd edition).
Common information for the Capehart model pages for the 1930s and 1940s.
This is just gathering together data at the moment, but will be linked to all models concerned. Every help is welcome! You can either use the link "Mail to author" below the post or as a guest the bottom link "Contact". Pictures also welcome.
We will try to show certain details like control panel (escutcheon or scale with knobs), record changers, chassis, loudspeakers, cabinets and perhaps also pick-ups tgether as pictures and comments in a full timeline. It will depend on your help if and then we can present them in a certain completenes - or not. This one is a first attempt ... to show you what I have in mind.
Timeline for 400 series cabinets
The three digit numbered models DeLuxe:
There is a spiral bound book by Robert W. Baumbach: "The incomparable Capehart" (45 and 100 pages). It contains a condensed biography of Homer E. Capehart including some information about the prior Capehart models before introduction of the Capehart Deluxe in 1931, designed by Ralph Erbe in 1929 for Columbia. His changer was unequalled for its features in its time and had before the WW2 even a true tangent zero tracking error tone arm and the "Feather Weight Astatic B2 Pick-up" (1.5 ounces) and pre-set play control, for instance for 112M 2FM model. It did from the start in 1931 not only play intermixed 10" and 12" records but did also turn each record over. Topics include Capehart identification, early Capehart models, Capehart promotion, Capehart Deluxe details and maintenance. A redesigned changer debuted after the WW2.
Capehart 500 Series were sold only between 1936 and 1941 and they were the most costly ($ 2500), often with additional remote controls (wooden boxes and cables) and remote speakers. See the possible 7 models in the link. It is believed that only 6 sets survived. They are Series 400 but with 3 amplifiers and speakers,instead of two and bigger luxury cabinet in style Empire for 500 and Spanish as 501.
Capehart 400 Series: In general this "turn-over record changer" family was called Capehart 400 series from the beginning in 1931 and running 18 years - up to 1949, after the WW2 with turning changer 41-E instead of 16-E. They were made in 14 or 15 cabinet styles with at least 44 models, regarding the different seasons and chassis. They have cost in their time $ 1000 to $ 1600. Examples are Capehart 400 E, 400 H, 400 K, 400 M, 400 MLC, 405 D, 405 E, 406 F, 406 H, 406 LH, 407, 412 M, 414 N, etc. But see the full list in the link.
Capehart 300 Series: 1933 until 1940 in 6 styles and 9 models. These models are taller, narrower models with the turn-over changer below the radio chassis. Mostly they have a cheaper set too and are below the price of a Series 400. Capehart 300A is an example. See the list in the link.
Capehart 200 Series: The short lived Capehart 200 series, 1936/37 and 1937/38 in 4 styles with 5 models, often only an elegant console radio only - or then in conjunction with a concealed record changer like Capehart model 160. They started as "E" season 1936/37 as 200E and 200F tuners (chassis W-921). And with changer 16-E (7 + 5 tubes): 202E Georgian, 203 (probably E, Georgian) with identical cabinet, 204E Modern for $ 710, 204F (1937/38) and 205E Georggian for $ 680. See the list in the link.
Unclear photos we collect here.
Capehart 100 Series: 1938 until 1949 in 8 styles with 14 models. They employ the least expensive turn-over-record changer - for prices beginning $ 500 to about $ 800. Examples 111 K, 111 M, 111 M 2 FM, 112 M, 115 N, 112M 2 FM, etc. There are also other models like: Capehart 110, Adam $ 1045, Hepplewhite $ 595, Sheraton $ 179.50. See the list in the link.
All model counts for the different series without variants like AM or FM etc.
See these very interesting and well done YouTube videos on this 114N2 and 115P2.
Behind the 3-digit cabinet code is the suffix for the saison. An "F" behind that indicates that the model has included remote control, which can be in other rooms. Some information after the suffix is then the case if there are different chassis possible.
The Capehart Panamuse Series
Season 1937/38: Introduction of the "Panamuse by Capehart" for a line of lower cost instruments with only a drop-down changer only but the electronics of the Capehart Deluxe - with the least expensive Capehart tuner, speaker and amplifier - in smaller cabinets - for $ 200 to $ 450. 1940: Capehart George II Style
Generally you will also find many different custom made cabinets, even Steinway made some.
The major Capehart record changers were:
The Capehart Orchestrope Record Changer
The Capehart Amperion Record Changer
The Capehart 10-12 Record Changer
The Capehart 16-E Record Changer - also used by RCA QU8 - here too.
The Capehart 41-E Record Changer is a post war model, starting in 1946.
The production ceased in 1950.
Panamuse, a changer without "turn-over" mechanism. Models have no third number (hundreds).
|Panamuse M series (see details in the link)||Panamuse M inside - both from eBay seller radar-sandwich.|
Details about the different record changers
Record changers were made by quite some manufacturers. Often those manufacturers produced OEM, means they made them for an other brand, like for instance Bendix for Fransworth/Capehart.
Guest Larry Robinson has made a most interesting website where he gives a top view about the basic record changer types. He has given me some very important input for the list below. I will go on with this when I know which one was used in which time for which models. By the way: The Rider's book "Automatic Record Changers", 1941, page 113-153, is for the technique for the models shown below in italic bold.
P2 and P3 are early "double-push drop changers", some called Panamuse by Capehart, using shelves on both sides of the turntable. The shelves push the record first in one direction, and then in the other, to separate it from the stack. Rider's page 119: P-3 is the same as P-2 except that P-3 has a play control addition.
Capehart used P2 for BK-73 with detail, 1940/41, BK-77, BK-78, BK-85, BK-87, BK-88, BK-89, BK-106, BK-107, BK-108, BK-110, BK-111, BK-112 and BK-1030;
P3 for Panamuse K.
P41, P44 (both before 1941) and P62 are later versions of this.
P16 is a turnover changer which takes 10" and 12" records intermixed. Farnsworth added the P to the beginning of all of their models on schematics. We call it 16-E or 16-E-2 when having two speeds. For the pick-up see RCA model MI-12701.
P30 is the ordinary single shelf pusher changer.
S30 is the changer shown in the picture above, also called Panamuse, when tone arm, pick-up assembly, escutcheon, bracket record support etc. are selected for Panamuse.
It appeared also in Philco products like the 4585 and 4586.
Capehart used it in Panamuse H and models AK-59, AK-76, AK-86, AK-95, AK96.
See Photofact Febraury 1947, set 13, folder 36.
The P51 is a push type changer with an extra step in the record dropping process.
After the record is pushed off, three blades catch the record by its edge about 1/4 inch below the spindle ledge. This removes the weight of the stack from the record. Then the blades retract simultaneously, allowing the record to drop flat. Bendix also sold this under its own name FP51. The P51 appeared shortly before WW2, when the knife type changers started breaking the records made of ration-required substitute materials (rationing actually began in 1939). All of the changer manufacturers except RCA rushed to make push-type changers that would not break the new records. After a break for World War II (when all such manufacturing was commandeered for the war) the P-51 was made until the Columbia LP appeared in 1948. At that point, Capehart/Farnsworth/Bendix got out of the changer business.
P56MP was used for the GK100 series from 1947/48, together with a 12" Alnico V speaker. The P56MP has an automatic stop, tone clarifier, magnetic pic-up and pre-amplifier.
Was for instance used in Panamuse 31N4 (we show two different pictures - which one is right?) and in 19N4, 24N4 (picture there might be wrong!) and 26N4.
P71, P72, and P73 (1947-1949) were called the Capehart Gravity Changer. This was the first successful umbrella spindle that required no side shelves or leveling arms. These changers take 12" and 10" records intermixed. P-71 according to Rider's for instance in 21P4, 24P4, 29P4, 30P4, 31P4. But also model 1002F seems to have the P71 plus an other version?
According to the "Record Retailing Yearbook 1946", page 469, the different models EK-264 have a 3-point suspension record changer, lightweight arm, sealed crystal pickup and permanent needle. Pictured are also an other "Six-tube combination" and a "8-tube combination with drift-corrected tuning, all have the same changer.
16-E and its variants
Models A show already the 16-E-2 for two-speed capabilities, which was dropped again for D series (RCA had no success with the 33 1/3 RPM then). For B a switch was added for manual play and the autom. trip switch was redesigned. Some 16-E-3 are mentioned but only in factory literature (Baumbach). After the two speed players were stopped, the model was called 16-E again. A story about the small changes during time would be a project ...
Capehart used in DeLuxe 400H and 100H series, 400K and 100K series.
41-E and variants
After the first saison it was modified as 41-E-2 with two tone arms!
Where did the Capahart changers come from?
Larry Robinson: "All of these changers (Capehart/Farnsworth/Bendix) were actually tooled and mass produced by Bendix, originally for Capehart/Farnsworth." following: "The GE changers of the 1940s were made by Milwaukee Stamping. All of the Silvertone changers were made by Alliance Manufacturing (makers of the Tenna-Rotor). And Chicago Stamping made the Webster-Rauland changers (later Webster-Chicago, and even later Webcor).".
List of all record changers with the different brands that play both sides:
1927-28 HMV 2-side Automatic Change Gramophone (plays manual & slide sequences)
1929-49 Capehart Turner Changer (plays manual & slide sequences, intermixed sizes)
1935-57 Lincoln 30, 50 (play manual & drop sequences, odd sizes, intermixes sizes)
1938 Garrard RC-100 (plays manual & drop sequences, intermixed sizes)
Most RC-100s made were lost when a ship taking them to the US was sunk by a U Boat.
1941 RCA RP-151 (plays manual & drop sequences)
Production was stopped after one month due to war. RCA made their own changers!
1941-46 Thorens CD-50 (plays manual & drop sequences) Single long spindle
1946-50 Markel 70, 71 (play manual & drop sequences) Single long spindle
1950-54 Markel 72, 73, 74, 75 (play manual & drop sequences) Single long spindle
Plays 7" records one sided.
1962-66 Fisher Lincoln 60, 70 (play manual & slide sequences, odd sizes intermixed)
Intermixes large 33 rpm and small 45 rpm records.
Two-speed gramophone records (phonograph) in 1931:
Only in 1925 the record speed speed was standardized to a nominal value of 78 revolutions per minute (rpm) for disc records. With 60 Hertz line power this is 78.26 rpm, being the speed of a 3600 rpm synchronous motor reduced by 46:1 gearing. Power with 50 cycles: 77.92 rpm is adopted being the speed of a 3000 rpm synchronous motor, reduced by 77:2 gearing. Western Electric developed technology for capturing sound with a microphone early in the 1920s and Victor and Columbia began to record "electrically" in 1925. Victor Othophonic Victrola were playing them acoustic (folded exponential horn), the expensive "Electrolas" with a tube amplifier. First records were hard rubber, around 1895 became shellac-based. Some other materials were tried too. The RCA attempt with vinyl ("Victrolac") but it was not suitable for steel needles and the weight of pic-ups then. They were made for special purposes like for disc jockeys (for not breaking in the mail sending to DJ) or the V-Discs.
There was a first and unsuccessful attempt by RCA Victor (which evolved from the Johnson and Berliner's Victor Talking Machine Company) in 1931 to introduce 33 1/3 rpm records which production lasted until 1933. Capehart sold from season 1932/33 (suffix A) all series 400 with a player (16-E-2) for both speeds. The same for season "B" and "C" (1934/35) inclusive the then available series 300 instruments. Then again it was 78 rpm only - until season "P", 1948-50, for the new 33 1/3 microgroove system introduced in June 1948 by Columbia. For "P" one could chose single speed 41-E players or double speed 41-E for Capehart series 400 and series 100.
By the way: in February 1949 RCA Victor released the first 45 rpm single of 7 inches diameter with a large center hole, not wanting to pay royalties to Columbia (material vinyl or polystyrene). EMI (Alan Blumlein) patented the "45/45" stereophonic record system in 1931 and made the first stereo records in 1933, but not commercially released. The first commercial stereo two-channel record was issued in 1957 - in translucent blue vinyl by Bel Canto.
Capehart and Capehard-Farnsworth -
How to read the type naming from 1931 and later:
The whole fame for Capehart was the series 400, which Homer Capehart unveiled at the 1931 Radio Merchants show in Detroit. The series lasted until 1950. The selling seasons after the first season 1931/32 was always mentioned by the suffix behind the number. Later follow some distinctions about amplifier and receiver (FM or AM etc.):
Selling seasons, first starting without suffix:
|A = 1932/33||B = 1933/34||C = 1934/35||D = 1935/36||E = 1936/37||F = 1937/38|
|G = 1938/39||H = 1939/40||K = 1940/41||M = 1941/42||N = 1946-48||P = 1948-50|
For each saison you can find other types of chassis, so the suffix is important.
The name is tied to a given number, telling us the cabinet style.
The first season (without suffix) started with 400 = Chippendale (but can also be the series 400), 401= Chinese Chippendale and 402 Adam. Normally a style was kept for a few seasons, like 202 Adam for 1931 until 1934, but could turned up again changed, like 406 Adam for season 1936/37 until 1948. Five different Chippendale models for Series 400 were made: 400, 405, 410, 413 and 414 - as the most used name.
The problem of identification
You often find information with missing details. Either you get only the 3 digit number, perhaps with the year suffix, but the details and the cabinet are missing - or you get only the cabinet style.
Step by step we will have to work through the scarce documents and information.
I will try to start at the end by reserving a new post, followed by the last pre war saison - and later backwards, perhaps year by year.
Here below in this post I will provisionaly drop yet unsorted information:
1941: Panamuse. Sheraton was $ 219.50. Early Georgian, Capehart 400 series Regency, Chippendale.
Schematics for Capehart and Capehart-Farnsworth
I have looked at my books about schematics, because I missed some very early ones like Orchestrope. I made this list with also tubes - but the list is not yet complete. It is my working page only.
Robert Baumbach gives the reasons in his book on page 40 why Capehart did not manufacture the chassis for the DeLuxe series, but Howard Radio Company of Chicago - until Capehart was part of Farnsworth. The speakers came from Jensen Radio Manufacturing, Chicago and after the war from Western Electric Company Inc., New York as first acoustical suspension speakers. Already for the first model with amplifier only, the Orchestrope, Capehart has chosen a supplyer for the chassis, then Webster Electric Co., Racine WI.
This is an empty post just as a place holder for being able to do the years by using systematically the next post for the prior period. so far I have information for the last pre war season only.
During the radio season 1941/42 there were different very expensive and other models from Farnsworth Television & Radio Corp. on the market. Here are the ones we know sufficient to have an explaining text:
The first paragraphs here deal only with a folder for "The Capehart Panamuse". The slogan of it is: "The Capehart-Panamuse is excelled only by the DeLuxe Capehart itself.", which means the 3 digit number models with the record turning mechanism.
Offered are the eight Capehart-Panamuse cabinets: 20th Century, Chippendale, Georgian, Hepplewhite, Modern, Regency, Sheraton and Sheraton Upright. Some of those names are only unique with the full model designation.
All 16 models have push button tuning, TV adaptor and use most probably the Capehart Panamuse record changer P-62 (non turning) with the two record support posts, shown in Rider's RCD. CH page Farnsworth 18-10 to 18-24. On the other hand the folder tells us on the page for the changer: "... Panamuse Program Control, which enables you to arrange a complete program of music, as many records as desired, from 1 to 14, without having to set any dials, or return to the instrument to turn it off."
All those Panamuse models can be AM receivers only or AM-FM receivers, except
which are for AM only with the single 11 tube receiver chassis type M-4.
See Rider's Capehart-Farnsworth page 20-17 to 20-20. 112 watts consumption at 117 volts AC (105 to 125). Broadcast 540 to 1720 kHz, short wave 5.4 to 18.1 MHz, spread band 9.4 to 12.1 MHz. Tubes: 6SK7 RF, 6J5GT osc, 6SA7 mixer, 6SK7 1st IF, 6J5GT det., 6J5GT AVC, 6SQ7 audio, 6SQ7 inverter, 6V6G, 6V6G, 5Y3G. No magic eye. Schematic is on page 20-19.
The others 14 models can be split in two different tuner chassis:
Both tuners have a magic eye, instant electric button tuning with drift compensation, 3-gang tuning condenser (7 tuned AM circuits incl. RF amp.) and a statically shielded built in antenna system for eliminating local interferences (man made statics).
(AM-)FM chassis with 11 tubes:
The (AM-)FM tuner offers broadcast (540 to 1600 kHz), short waves (5.8 to 18.1 Mhz, Rider's 5.4 to 18 MHz), band spread for 9.5 to 12 MHz (25 to 31 m, Rider's: 9.48 to 12 MHz) and FM (43 to 50 MHz, Rider's 41.9 to 51 MHz) instead of "police". Rider's Capehart-Farnsworth pages 20-1 to 20-12 are unfortunately a mixture of tuner and amplifier data for models M-2FM, M-3FM and series M-2 220, M-2 260, M-3 175 and M-3 220. The FM tuner schematic is 20-9 and 20-10 with tubes: 6SK7 RF, 6J5 osc, 6SA7 conv, 6SG7 IF, 6AF6G mag. eye, 6J5 eye amp, 6J5 eye amp2, 6SG7 2nd IF FM, 6SJ7 limiter, 6H6 disc, 6Q7 det AVC 1st audio.
AM tuner with 6 tubes:
The AM (6 tube) tuner offers broadcast (540 to 1600 kHz), "police" (1650 to 5500 kHz), short waves (5.8 to 18.1 Mhz, Rider's 5.4 to 18 MHz) and a band spread for 9.5 to 12 MHz (25 to 31 m, Rider's: 9.48 to 12 MHz).
Rider's Capehart-Farnsworth pages 20-13 to 20-16 are for models M-2AM, M-3AM but also for 100 series M-2 240, M-3 200 and Panamuse M-2 200 and M-3 155. The AM tuner schematic is 20-15 with tubes: 6SK7 RF, 6J5 osc, 6SA7 conv, 6SK7 IF, 6U5 mag. eye, 6Q7 det AVC 1st audio.
Both tuners can be combined with two different amplifier chassis:
The Rider's schematic for M-2FM, M-3FM, M-2AM, M-3AM and series together is on Capehart-Farnsworth page 20-7.
|M-2 amplifier chassis called A-10:
9 tubes for 20 watt and two 12" "Precision tone loudspeakers" (Jensen).
Tubes: 6R7 phase inverter, 6C8G driver, 4 x 6V6G, 3 x 5Y3G.
|AM-FM tuner||AM tuner|
|20 tubes (11+9), 2 speakers||15 tubes (6 + 9), 2 speakers|
|Chippendale 21-M-2FM||Chippendale 21-M-2AM|
|Georgian 13-M-2FM||Georgian 13-M-2AM|
|Sheraton Upright 22-M-2FM||Sheraton Upright 22-M-2AM|
|M-3 amplifier chassis called A-9:
6 tubes for 10 watt for one 12 " speaker.
Tubes: 6R7 phase inverter, 6SC7 driver, 2 x 6V6G, 2 x 5Y3G.
|AM-FM tuner||AM tuner|
|17 tubes (11 + 6), 1 speaker||17 tubes (11 + 6), 1 speaker|
|Chippendale 21-M-3FM||Chippendale 21-M-3AM|
|Hepplewhite 14-M-3FM||Hepplewhite 14-M-3AM|
|Modern 17-M-3FM||Modern 17-M-3AM|
|Sheraton 19-M-3FM||Sheraton 19-M-3AM|
Changers documented in Rider's:
Rider's 16 and 17
No entry in Rider's 16.
Model P51/P56/P56MP with one record support post in Rider's 17.
Documents the P62 and only three other changers, P-72 and P-73, - which are simpler (18-1 to 18-9) and the record turning model 41-E on pages 18-25 to 18-46. Models 21N2, 25N2, 26N2, 19N3 Panamuse in 18-10 as well as 100N and 400N.
In volume 19 we find the changers P71 (simpler) and 16-E Capehart (turning) under RCD. CH. Farnsworth - but also Capehart N4 (19N4, 24N4, 26N4, 31N4, 114N4, 116N4) and P4 (21P4, 24P4, 29P4, 30P4, 31P4, 116P4, 118P4) on page 19-11 to 19-18, later P7 (35P7), P9 (33P9) and P10 (34P10) series, followed by 400M series.
RCD. CH. Pages 20-1 to 20-32 cover the record changers (models P-43, P-77, P-777 and 41-E2).
No entry in volume 21 for Capehart or Farnsworth.
I can only do such analysis from time to time and there are quite some models left for the season 1941/42 - to tackle later - or hoping to get help. Here just some notes (more for me, but it still may help):
Model 400-K series: Rider's Capehart-Farnsworth page 20-21 to 20-31 (schematic 20-25 and 20-26, Amplifier A-7 on page 20-29. On page 20-32 to 20-43 is the information for model 400M extended and remote control - like ..... siehe unten ...
The AM 100 series radios and/or M-2 240, Panamuse M-2 200 work with 6 plus 9 tubes = 15 tubes and the 100 series M-3 200 and Panamuse M-3 155 work with 6 and 6 tubes = 12 tubes. They all cover 540 to 1600 kHz broadcast, 5.4 to 18 MHz short wave, band spread 9.48 to 12 MC and "special service SW" 1.6 to 5.4 MHz.
Model 400-K series are 30 tube AC superhets for 540 to 1600 kHz, 5.4 to 18 MHz short wave and FM 41.9 to 51 MHz. 400 Watts consumption. They have three chassis: Tuner 12 tubes with 6AB7 RF, 6SJ7 osc, 6SA6 converter, 6SK7 IF, 6AF6G tuning eye, 6B8 2nd IF, 6SJ7 limiter, 6N7 eye amp, 6SJ7 AVC, 6H6 discr., 6SQ7 silencer FM, 6SQ7 2nd det, 1st audio. Followed by two amplifiers A-7 with each 9 tubes: 6J5 voltage amp, 6SC7 duo driver, 4 x 6V6G and 3 x 5Y3G. These sets have an extended and remote control in form of a book.
The SM-2 and SM-5 units are using the M-2 amplifier and the SM uses two of them. The M-3 is only supplied with the SM-3 unit. ESM is an extended control station, RSM a remote control station, MR-1 a junction box with line amplifier, MR-2aux. j. box fro 4 t 6 remotes, MR-2A is aux. J. box for 7 to 10 remotes. SM-2 concealed speaker unit for 20 watt (2 x 12") with MR-3 remote amp. SM-3 for 10 watt (1 x 12") with MR-3 remote amp. SM-5 is 20 watt with one 12" heavy duty speaker with MR-3 remote amp. SM is a concealed speaker unit for 20 Watt with one 12" heavy duty range speaker and one 14" extra heavy duty bass speaker etc.
Some notes from member Fred Rice:
Antennas and the old FM band:
All the Panamuse models have a drum shaped loop antenna. The Deluxe Capeharts (with the turnover changers) never had loops that year. They had that little metal box with four wires mounted to the cabinet near the tuner. An external AM/short wave antenna was connected to the back of the tuner along with an FM antenna.
Note that the sets tune the old 42-50 mHz band. "I have built a couple of converters from Chuck Schwarks Philco Workbench website and these Capehart sets were well designed. With the FM converter, you can play these sets and get most of the modern FM band."
The last sets before the WW2 can be bot metal instead of aluminium:
"After serial number 20000, Capehart went to cast iron changers instead of aluminum and they are loaded with pot metal parts. You can verify this with a magnet. If it sticks to the main base, it's a pot metal changer. I have repaired about a half dozen of the late 16E pot metal changers and it's always different parts that are broken. I have seen broken tone arms, main cams, and lift rings, but fortunately never all in the same set. If you intend to get the turnover changer to work, most parts will interchange from other prewar years. The lift ring had a booster spring added since the war time replacements were zinc instead of aluminum. If an earlier lift ring is used as a replacement, the booster spring has to come off."