Philmore Crystal Set (1940s)
A boy's dream, and one of the all-time great boxes!
Although we think of crystal sets as very old-fashioned,
small crystal sets were sold to the mass market until the 1960s, when
transistors finally relegated them to the realm of novelty and
Components and operation are as simple as can be. The crystal and
cat's whisker are mounted in the center. Below them is the tuner,
which simply slides back and forth to select the
signal. The four Fahnestock clips on the
sides let you connect the antenna, ground, and headphones.
As you can see from the box, the receiver is supposed to have a little glass cover over the crystal. I
ordered a replacement glass from
Antique Electronic Supply.
According to the book Crystal Clear, Philmore Super models
were sold beginning in 1926 and were priced at $1.50 around 1931. The book
doesn't give exact dates for every variation, but I gather that the earliest models
had metal bases and later ones used bakelite or plastic. I'm just guessing that
this salmon-colored base, variegated with white streaks, was made some time
during the 1940s.