Philco

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Philco, the Philadelphia Storage Battery Company (formerly known as the Spencer Company and later the Helios Electric Company), was a pioneer in early battery, radio, and television production as well as former employer of Philo Farnsworth, inventor of cathode ray tube television. It is currently a brand of Philips.

Philco's rise to the top of radio makers was an amazing feat. While other makers like Atwater-Kent, Zenith Electronics, RCA, and many now-forgotten others (Freshman Masterpiece, FADA Radio, AH Grebe, etc.) sold many battery-powered radios in the early 1920s, Philco made only batteries, "socket power" units, and battery chargers. With the invention of the AC tube, which made light socket powered radios practical, Philco knew their business was doomed, and decided in 1926 to get into the booming radio business. By 1930 they would sell more radios than any other maker and hold that first place position for over 20 years.

Philco built many iconic radios and TV sets, including the classic cathedral-shaped wooden radio of the 1930s (aka the "Baby Grand"), and the very futuristic (in a 1950s sort of way) Predicta series of television receivers.

Early history

Philco was founded in 1892 as Helios Electric Company.Mahon, Morgan E. A Flick of the Switch 1930–1950 (Antiques Electronics Supply, 1990), p.117.From its inception until 1904, the company manufactured carbon-arc lamps. As this line of business slowly foundered over...
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