Restoration of a 1954 Philco clock radio 
 


      Analog Dial            Page 1         Page 2       Page 3       

 
A Philco Transitone Model B710 clock radio, manufactured in 1954.

The story behind the radio. One of the stories, at least.
 
Back in 2012 I saw a music video that had some of my friends in it.
This is Andrea Havens.

 
This is Bruce Knoll. He's a carpenter. He fixed my house.
And this is a "radio repairman," whose name is "rjd2."

 
The guy on the left comes to pick up his radio.
The radio that rjd2 repaired.

The video is intriguing, kind of thought provoking. The guy picking up the radio had just lost his job. For some reason this radio was so important to him that he spent his last dollar having it fixed, though he couldn't plug it in because he lived in his car.

You don't usually see a radio repair shop in a video, or even in real life. I wondered about the radio. What kind was it?

I searched for it on the internet. I can't remember exactly how I found it, I probably Googled something like "antique clock radio" and then looked at a bazillion radio images. Finally I found it - the Philco Transitone B710.

Then I went on eBay, checking from time to time, and waited for a cheap one to show up. I eventually snagged one. Unfortunately, it wasn't packed properly and arrived heavily damaged. The seller offered a refund if I would pay to send it back. Given the choice of having a broken radio or having nothing for the money spent, I held onto the radio.
 
This is what happens when you don't pack things properly.
The cabinet is made of polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride (haha, that's Bakelite).
 
I put the radio on a shelf in the garage and forgot about it. Then in May of 2016 I happened to see the video again, remembered the radio and checked eBay. One guy had one for $70, but there was an auction for another that was sitting at $10 and nobody was bidding.

I waited a few days, and on May 15, 2016, with five seconds to go, bid $20. Somebody else had the same idea, but he only bid $15. When the screen refreshed I had won the radio for $15.50.
 
Picture from eBay. It looks good except for the missing knob. The description stated, "...CLOCK WORKS RADIO TURNS ON BUT DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY .....SOLD AS IS...."

A week later I had it in my hands. It didn't look as good in real life as it does in the photo. It was, however, packed very nicely and the post office didn't try to put a hole through the side of the box for once.
 
It's been repaired at GROSSE POINTE RADIO & TELEVISION in Detroit, Michigan.
 
This Google Maps picture shows the shop was still there as of 2013. It's 590 miles away from where the radio is now.

Now I had two. The bashed one is on the bottom. I foolishly plugged them both in and turned them on. The bashed radio seemed to be dead. The clock wasn't working and the radio didn't make a sound.

The other radio worked! So did the clock, but it ran slow. Suddenly the bashed radio came to life, then died again. This is important later in the story.

The obvious choice was to pick the working radio to rejuvenate. I could use the bashed radio for tubes, clock knobs, etc. All the tubes were tested and the best set was put aside.

 
We'll just turn up the volume and... Gag. SPLORG! Don't touch that knob!
 
So before we get to the restoration, why not watch the video first? 
(Divert your eyes when the "repairman" slides a solid state board into the top of the radio.)

Next