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RMorg Model Number and Date System for Philco

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Forum » Manufacturer's / brands history » MANUFACTURERS and TRADE NAMES (present in the museum) » RMorg Model Number and Date System for Philco
           
Thomas Albrecht
Thomas Albrecht
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20.Aug.08 10:12

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Recently there has been some renewed activity to make our database for Philco more complete.  Many new schematics have been uploaded, new models added, and missing information provided for existing models.  Our goal is to make the database as complete as possible for Philco models, since Philco was one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of radios, and Philco radios are widely collected -- both in the U.S. and internationally.
 
There are, however, some challenges with respect to dates and model numbers for Philco.  After discussion with Konrad Birkner and Ernst Erb, a decision has been made to adopt the following guidelines for Philco models:
 
1.  Dates:  Philco used a "model year" designation not unlike that used for automobiles.  In the June of a given year, Philco would introduce, ship, and sell the following year's models.  For example, in June of 1938, Philco started selling its "1939" models.  Furthermore, starting with the model year 1937, Philco included the model year in the model number.  For example, model 37-610 was part of Philco's 1937 "model year," which means that it was actually introduced in June 1936.  This practice of including the model year in the model number continued until the mid 1950s, when the numerical year was replaced with a single letter indicating the model year.
 
Although it would be particularly tempting to simply use the "model year" as the model date in RMorg, we have instead adopted a more historically accurate practice of showing a beginning date which is the actual year of introduction (the "model year" minus one year) and an end date which is the same as the "model year."  Most models were produced under a single model number for only about one year, so this approach correctly spans the actual time period a model was produced and sold.  In cases where we know a model was produced for a longer time period, the second date should be the actual final year of production.
 
As an example, under our system, model 37-610 would be shown as a 1936/37 model.  When entering or making changes, "1936" is entered in the first year box, and "1937" in the second.  Although most models currently listed for Philco do not yet show this system (most simply show the model year), an effort is now underway to update this for all Philco models.
 
2.  Model numbers Philco used model numbers that are often followed by a suffix of one or more letters to indicate cabinet style (and sometimes color).  In RMorg, we list radios with significantly different cabinet styles as separate models, even if the chassis inside is identical.  Therefore it is important to include the letter(s) of the suffix to distinguish different models in RMorg.
 
An unfortunate issue is that Philco often omits the suffix in its service literature.  Likewise, on the radio itself, the suffix might not be shown at all, or was added with a rubber stamp next to the tag or plate on which the model number is shown.  As a result, it is very common to find Philco radios with apparently identical model numbers (without suffix), but very different cabinets!
 
As a concrete example, consider Philco model 37-630T and 37-630X.  On the inside of the cabinet for these radios, you will commonly find a paper label with "37-630" shown as the model number, and possibly with a "T" or an "F" rubber stamped on the cabinet nearby.  It is easy not to notice the letter, and it is often missing altogether.
 
Understandably, a collector, having read the paper tag, is usually convinced that his model is simply "37-630" and will look for this model in RMorg.  In fact he has either the table model (-T suffix) or console (-X suffix).
 
Although one can come up with a variety of systems to address the situation, for RMorg, we have adopted the following approach:
 
a.)  If there are multiple cabinet styles for a given numerical model number, we will have a separate RMorg model for each one, with the model number suffix properly included.  In parentheses, the model number without suffix will also be included as an alternate.  The model number without suffix will not be shown as a separate standalone model.
 
As an example, we will list the following two models:
 
37-630T (37-630)
37-630X (37-630)
 
But we will not list a third model without suffix:
 
37-630
 
The above approach accomplishes two goals:  (i) the number of models listed accurately reflects the actual number of physically distinct models produced by Philco, and (ii) a search on the model number without the suffix will correctly bring up both candidate models which apply, with visual confirmation of the model number without suffix as it might appear on the radio.
 
b.)  In cases where there is only one cabinet style for a model number, the following applies:
  • If Philco does not show a suffix on the radio or anywhere in its service literature, no suffix is shown in RMorg.  This covers the vast majority of cases for which there is only one cabinet style for a model number.  An example is model 42-788 for which only one model, without suffix, is shown.
  • If Philco shows a suffix on the radio (even if rarely) and somewhere in its service literature (even if most references don't include the suffix), the model number with suffix is shown, and the model number without suffix is shown as an alternate. An example is model 39-8T, which is listed as just one model with model number 39-8T (39-8).
 
Correct field for model number:
 
The Philco model number should be placed in the first field, which is called "model name."  The second field ("model type") should usually be left blank.
 
Philco chassis codes:
 
Philco often includes a chassis code on its radios and in its service literature.  Code 121 is the most common, which simply refers to normal production or "first run."  Higher number codes like 122, 123, and 124 often refer to later runs with slight changes in component values or circuit design.  In other cases, higher number codes are used for chassis that are slightly modified for a different cabinet style (such as a change in speaker).
 
Chassis codes (especially code 121) do not normally need to be included in the RMorg model number or chassis number.  If the code has significance that should be documented, a comment in the "Notes" field is generally best.
 
Thank you for your attention to the above.  If we all make an effort to follow this system, we can have a highly consistent, complete, and accurate database for Philco models in RMorg.

This article was edited 20.Aug.08 19:16 by Thomas Albrecht .

  
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