PENNEY'S RP1-124 'PHILCO'

This Penney's RP1-124 was manufactured in the the USA in 1958. It was made by Philco for the JC Penney chain of department stores and sold by them as a ‘house brand’. I have seen an advertisement for this radio in the Milwaukee Journal dated December 8 1958. It goes something like this:

"A Gift For All"

Penneys Pocket-Size Transistor Radio

$25

New 1959 model with long distance power. Penneys own made exclusively for us by one of Americas top Radio and TV manufacturers. Has 4 transistors and one diode that can't break or burn out. Black or turquoise case.

-Leather-like carrying case...............$2

-Earplug in plastic case.....................$2

 

In Norman Smiths excellent book 'Transistor Radios - 1954 - 1968' he has mistakenly given a manufacturing date for this radio of 1955. He did however get it right when he said it was manufactured by Philco.

Philco can trace its roots back to 1892 when two brothers, Frank and Thomas Spencer started the Spencer Company. In October of that year the company changed its name to Helios Electric Company with a focus on manufacturing electric lamps.

After struggling through some lean years the company reorganized in 1906, changed names, and changed its manufacturing focus. The new Philadelphia Storage Battery Company would now produce storage batteries, mainly for electric automobiles, trucks, and locomotives. The company was successful and enjoyed steady growth. Later they began to manufacture home charging batteries for the fledgling radio industry. The Philco brand name appeared in 1919.

In 1926, Philco decided to begin making radios and released their first model onto the market in 1928. In 1930 the company sold 600,000 radios, grossed $34 million, and was the leading radio maker in the country. Throughout the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's Philco continued making radios and expanded into other areas of consumer electronics. By 1954, Philco had led the radio industry in volume sales for 24 straight years, selling over 30 million radios. Philco released their first transistor radio, the T7-126 in 1956.

Philco struggled during the 1950's which culminated in them being purchased by the Ford Motor Company in 1961.The Philco name survived for a time as Philco-Ford, but Ford sold Philco to GTE-Sylvania in 1974. The company was acquired by Phillips in 1981. Philips continues to use the Philco name for promotional consumer electronics.


 

 

 

 
 

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This Penney's RP1-124 is made with a high gloss plastic cabinet. It came in only two colors, black and turquoise. It features a bold gold chevron that acts as a dial pointer and is marked 'Penneys Transistor Radio' on the front.  It makes use of the same cabinet as  the Philco T45-124 and T4-124. The leather carrying case was an optional accessory that sold for $2.00. 

 

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J.C. Penney Company Inc was founded in 1902 by James Cash Penney and William Henry McManus. The original name for the store was ‘The Golden Rule’, but it was changed to JCPenney in 1917.  By 1917, the company operated 175 stores in 22 states in the United States. By 1941, the company operated 1,600 stores in all 48 states.

JC Penney is still going strong today.

 

 

 

 

INSIDE...


This Penney's uses 4 transistors (2N185) manufactured by Texas Instruments. There are two stickers located inside the radio and both have the model number written slightly differently, RP1-124 & RP-1-124. The serial number appears to be SK10641 but in the sticker located on the rear of the speaker there is another combination that looks like a serial number, SI5374. Perhaps one of them is a stock number or something similar.