1942 Philco Radio becomes Mac Mini jukebox

Good Lord. Sandy Winkelman’s computer mod takes a gorgeously walnut Philco Radio from 1942, rips out its transistors and installs a touchscreen Mac Mini in its base. Each one of my hands is sending conflicting electro-chemical signals up into my brain: should Sandy Winkelman be strangled to death for destroying such a gorgeous old radio, or hugged to death for dreaming up the most attractive Mac Mini case mod ever? Actually, come to think of it, I can probably do both at the same time.

[via The Ubiquitous Apple Weblog]

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10 Responses to 1942 Philco Radio becomes Mac Mini jukebox

  1. Tequila Mockingbird says:

    Those `40s Philco consoles aren’t particularly rare. I’ve got an unmolested 42-390 in my living room, and a 42-360 that I’ve converted to a media center (I’ve cantilever hinged the escutcheon–e.g. plastic dial cover–to allow access to the DVD ROM and USB ports. Not as slick as this but done on a zero cost budget.) The model this builder started with already had the pivoting front panel (which formerly allowed access to the slide-out phonograph.) Well done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Philco Radio from 1942, rips out its transistors and…”

    Transistors, in 1942, heh? Guess again.

  3. JulieB says:

    That’s a gorgeous mod. But no transistors. Definitely tubes.

    I don’t think I could bring myself to do that to one of our old radios … unless the unit is so beyond repair that there’s nothing else to do. Or, perhaps, if I found a gutted radio at a flea market. At that point, I just might be tempted…

  4. kc0bbq says:

    40s Philcos were kinda junky radios, so losing the cabinet isn’t a huge loss. There are some radios from the time that would be a travesty to lose, but Philcos were really common. Not crap, per se, just everywhere.

    #4 if you’re asking what the original could do, it wouldn’t be FM. FM technology was taken essentially as a national secret in WWII by the US government. How the government handled FM technology was a main factor in leading to the inventor, Edwin Armstrong, to kill himself. It’s a real tragedy, some of the circuits he invented are the bedrock of modern technology. I’d probably rank him higher than Turing in importance. Sure, others would have come up with equivalents, but one man did it, and did it consistently and often.

    The radio would have had AM broadcast band, local television audio, AM short wave, and some police band and stuff. If you see a Philco with those buttons on the front, they are tuned to the audio for television stations and had inserts in the display showing the call letters of the station. TVs were expensive, this was an alternative, like digital converter boxes now.

    Radio won’t be going all digital any time soon. The current solution keeps the normal channels with digital signals on subcarriers in bandwidth that isn’t used, the same way that radio and television carry the second audio channel for stereo sound. There isn’t a need, the broadcast bands are large enough in most cities to cover the demand. The current technologies are really inexpensive and relatively timeless.

    What would be really cool is doing this to some late 20s radios.

  5. igpajo says:

    Is it really that static-y sounding? I thought the static was just there for effect until you chose a song but there’s no way I could enjoy listening to my music under that layer of static. Was that the speakers? It’s very cool, but I couldn’t see going through the effort of the conversion if it was just going to sound like crap. If that’s the speakers I would have figured out a way to mod out the speakers too.

  6. dculberson says:

    I’d be curious to see the details of the fold-out mech. Looks like some great craftsmanship. The wood around the screen does look a bit cheap, though; they should get some good quality veneer and cover it. (Walnut, naturally!)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Very nice, but I can’t believe he used pine around the LCD panel. Also, these radios had tubes, not transistors. Philco radios are excellent radios and the fact that they were common makes them even better because you can still find parts for them today. Philco was the largest manufacturer of radios in those days and their products were excellent quality. There are a lot of Philcos out there, so it’s not that sad to see a conversion. Also, these radios did have FM receivers. FM was not a military secret during the war. Although, the FCC changed the FM frequency band after the war (due to pressure from GE who didn’t want to pay licensing fees to the inventor of FM) which made all the pre-war FM radios obsolete (kind of like the change to HDTV today).

  8. Chimes says:

    “The radio would have had AM broadcast band, local television audio, AM short wave, and some police band and stuff. If you see a Philco with those buttons on the front, they are tuned to the audio for television stations and had inserts in the display showing the call letters of the station. TVs were expensive, this was an alternative, like digital converter boxes now.”

    The sets did not tune to the TV station audio, they had input jacks to play the audio from a television set through the audio section of the radio. There were some TV sets available that did not have an audio amp section, but an audio output to play through the radio.

  9. Not a Doktor says:

    so would that radio have both AM & FM?

    Is there a plan to make radio all digital (like tv) that would make mostly everything obsolete?

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