and now for something completely different

Schiffer Publishing’s
History of Philco Radios

Toronto. No, not the Flying Circus routines of Monty Python fame. A couple of decades ago I dealt with a small private publisher in Pennsylvania called Schiffer Publishing Ltd. I was interested in the quilting books they published. The books would sell well in my store. Later, I sent for a catalog and to my delight, I saw that while their main business was military history books, they also published a few  books for collectors and included a small collection of books for collectors of phonographs and radios. I bought a few about brands or devices of interest to me. One was Philco.

When I was a kid, my mother had a call from a neighbour who had an old radio for me. I took my wagon across the street and up the long sloping  driveway to the kitchen door. A strange radio with a heavy speaker on top was sitting in a wooden box waiting for me. That night, I was pleased to discover that it worked and was very sensitive (all radios of that period were AM which meant amplitude modulation). It turned out to be a Philco 90-A radio (made in 1931 as I learned long after it was taken apart). Old Jack Gribble, a radio repairman in town gave me a schematic diagram for it. Years later I bought a Philco SB-100 transistor which worked up in the 10 meter short-wave band and made a tiny tuner, but that’s another story.

The other day, I had an email from Schiffer Publishing that brought the old radio to mind again.  Their current catalog also has a handful of photography books they publish – which may be why I was emailed at the phsc address!

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