Philco 40-120 - 1940

I've completed the restoration. Here's some pics.


These are some pictures of the radio as I received it.


The dial turned ok and the on-off switch clicked and moved. That's good. Needs
a knob though. I was able to pick up a knob from Dave Frush at
for $5. Dave always has the knobs I need. Let's see how it looked inside.
Here is the back with the cover off. This has the new Philco built-in super aerial system which eliminates the need for an outside aerial. Wow! That was a big deal back in 1940.
The aerial was intact with no opens. Good, no work needed to be done here!
Here's the chassis. looks nice and clean. Hmmm, needs a pilot lamp.
The Rider schematic only listed the Philco part number for the pilot lamp. Looking on the web I found Philco lamp info at The Philco Repair Bench. It showed it was a #51. Ya gotta love the web for finding info like this!
The dial looks nice. This radio isn't The typical broadcast/SW. Instead it covers the standard broadcast 540-1600kc and an extended upper range of 1600-3300kc (1.6-3.3mc), which at the time was used as the Police band.
Nothing on that upper band now!
    A close-up view of the speaker reveals that I'll be doing some repair work. A small hole at the top can be fixed with a dab of rubber cement. The larger hole at the left will take a bit more.
I forgot to get a picture of the repaired speaker. Maybe I'll get one up later. Any ways, I used Elmer's rubber cement on the smaller hole. Worked good. The larger one I used a piece of paper towel soaked in a mixture of white glue and water. It formed perfect on the ridges. I also reconditioned the whole speaker with the same white glue/water mixture. Just dab a bit with a brush on the speaker. It soaks into the dried paper and reinforces the fibers. I got this tip from a place when I bought a refoam kit for an old AR-5 speaker I had. They said it was a good idea to recondition the paper cone at the same time. It seemed to work well on the AR-5 so I've started to do it to speakers on old radios. After everything dried I reinforced the paper towel patch with rubber cement on both the front and back sides. Sounds real good now!
A side view of the chassis. Look how wide the new built-in aerial is! Well it beats having to put up a 160ft wire outside! Oh, oh look at the red wire running from the top of the chassis to the underside. It runs down the side of the chassis. That's not factory! They always ran wires to the underside thru a hole. Some one's been messing with this!
Turns out the speaker and output transformer were replaced. When wiring in the new transformer, someone took a shortcut.
    Oh I see. The red wire comes from the output transformer. Looks as if it has been replaced. See the rivet has been removed. And note that there is an unconnected wire at the top left (red circle around a small black dot by the tube). I wonder if the speaker was replaced. Look back at the above picture of the speaker. See the two screws holding the speaker to the chassis are different! I guess I'll have to look that over. Well it is 44 years old after all!
Yes the speaker and transformer were replaced. The transformer was used and had other windings that weren't needed. So two wires were left unconnected. Nice huh? Well at least everything worked so I didn't have to mess with much here. I did add a small screw and nut to tighten down the transformer and rerouted the red wire thru a hole in the chassis properly.
A view of the top of the chassis. It is a 6 Loktal tube super-heterodyne. Tubes used in this Philco are: 7C7, 7AB, 7B7, 7C6, 35A5 and 35Z3. Again look at that aerial!
And clean! I didn't have to spend much time at all cleaning it up. I liked that!
    Let's check underneath. Ok, doesn't look to bad. A little tight in there, with a couple of capacitors that will be a little difficult to get at. In the picture you can count about 6. However there are 9 to be replaced. Two are hiding under the two coils at the bottom right of the chassis. Hmmm, I may use the J-hook method when replacing those 2!
Yep, I J-hooked most of the caps when redoing it.
    Oh, oh another little problem, an unconnected wire! See, it has a white piece of tape covering the end. Tracing it back, it comes from the output transformer. Ok, at least it's not another problem, just part of the first one, so I can deal with that altogether then.
Just part of the transformer replacement. Turned out to be nothing to worry about. Good!

Well here IS one more problem to deal with, asbestos!

Look inside the cabinet. It is lined on the bottom and the sides with it. The funny thing is it's not there for heat, as all the heat is at the top from the tubes! It's mostly there to prevent a fire in case a component shorts out. Well this isn't good. Look it's fraying at the edges. I've only had one other radio with asbestos, the Stewart Warner A51T3. It has a pad covering the bottom plate. Luckily that is a small radio so the pad was small and I opted to coat and soak it with a glue solution I got off the news group. That method binds all the particles together into a hard packed tight pad. That way there is no single particle, which is the problem with asbestos. This time, since it's a bigger piece that is fraying, I think I'll try another solution I found on the same news group. Basiclly it involves soaking the pad with water to bind all particles together, then with gloves on outdoors, remove the pad, place it and the gloves into a Ziploc bag and get rid of it. Well we'll see what I do later.

For more detailed info see this entry from the newsgroup. Asbestos FAQ

Ok, Problem solved!

Ok, here's what I did. Went outside with mask and rubber gloves on. I soaked down the asbestos pad real good with water. I took a screwdriver and pried off 8 or 10 staples holding the pads down. The bottom piece came off whole, it wasn't glued down. However both sides were! So I used a small paint scraper and with one stroke took off what I could without shredding it. I the placed it all in a Ziploc bag and dumped it. I then covered what remained of the pads on the side with Duco cement to seal it. I then found a nice piece of foam, cut it and applied over the old pad area to cover it all. The foam was pretty much the same thickness. However it happened to be from a PC motherboard packaging. Hey, it's anti static! But it's also pink! Oh well, better than leaving the asbestos in there and no one will see it unless they open it up. Besides I don't go in for museum quality restoring. All I'm after is to make a radio work well and look good (on the outside) as it would have, sitting on a table in an old house, back 60 years ago when it was used as the major source of entertainment and news of the world.

    Well it looks like the patina on this case is not worth keeping. At least not the top. So I'll have to remove the handle and strip and refinish the case. At least there's no veneer missing!
I only stripped the top and sides. After looking at the front, it didn't need a full strip job. Besides, it has a two tone stain job with a painted line between them and painted louvers and inside dial area. I didn't want to try to recreate that!
So I stripped the top and sides. Then I just lightly sanded the front with 0000 steel wool. I restained the top and sides with Minwax Early American. I also dabbed some on the front to cover a few small nicks. Then I sprayed it all with 3 coats of semi gloss lacquer, sanding between each. A good paste wax rub and it was done! Oh, I also cleaned and polished the handle, (not shown here). I also removed and steel-wooled a brass strip on the handle that was a bit corroded to a nice bright shine.
    Here is the finished recap. I used the J-hook method on most of the caps. One reason is the tube socket lugs didn't have the normal holes to secure the wiring on, as all other radios I have recapped do. It's just a flat post where the wire is wrapped around. Some have several wires on them. When you touch a hot soldering iron to them, the wires go spring and pop off! The couple I tried weren't wrapped around very good. So, the J-hook method worked real good as I didn't have to unsolder the connections. Hmmm, poor design I'd say. I was disappointed. It being a Philco I expected better quality!

Ok, that's what I acquired, what I did to it and how it turned out.

So now this little gem Philco joins my other radios, playing the sweet sound of music once again. Just as this radio was originally made to do.

- Mike

For anyone interested, here is the schematic
and service data for this radio.

Rider PDF File   - Thank You Nostalgia Air !

All photos Copyright 2004 by, all rights reserved. Use is restricted.