PLaN 9 fRom OuTeR sPaCe....
If you have a gander for out of this world retro kitsch from the fifties, a couple images probably stand out in your mind. The Philco Predicta line is probably one of them.
Many people may not know this, but Philco introduced the clock radio (and radio) counterpart to this alien contraption.
The clock radio and just radio version of this design is actually a lot more functional and usable day-to-day. I found this one in rather sorry shape.
Good thing was, it was all white which I think looks better than white clock and black bottom radio. The black on black is also very nice. It was missing two of the top clock alarm buttons which often pop off after many years. The front top edge of the clock chipped off but the chip miraculously fell into the clock behind the clear bezel. You can see it resting at the bottom of the clock. The other issue was volume knob was warped due to heat and rotated asymmetrically. In other words, it was slightly like a potato chip as opposed to a flat coin. But, fortunately, the knob edges did not rub. Other than that, no cracks or chips or major scratches.
These Predictas are getting scarfed up by collectors, museums, and curators of mid-century artifacts due to their iconic status. They should fare well in the resale marketplace. And, it is sure to get a response at your next cocktail party.
On the inside, this one was virgin factory but dirty as heck. The electronics were encased in layers of lint and dander:
The biggest problem was the missing knobs. Almost impossible to find replacements.
Don't even ask me where I find these things or obscure replacement parts like these buttons. It's proprietary info, as much as it can be!
An annoying design blunder on these push buttons is the sleep (left-most) button. It's four clicks allowing 15 minutes each of snooze. There's no indication which setting you're on other than mentally counting 1-2-3-4-off! Unfortunately, if the sleep timer is set to 15-30-45-60 minutes, the radio won't turn on! Isn't that tricky? It's a guessing game which one of the four clicks sets it back to zero allowing the radio to turn on. So, you could have the radio set ON, but because the sleep time is not zero, the radio won't turn on. Gimme a break!
The chipped front edge was reattached with cryoacetate adhesive (Super Glue).
These late fifties Philco enjoyed using little clasps that were pressed into little plastic clips molded in to the cabinet. While this design made manufacturing less costly. It made servicing this dodo bird a precarious venture. These little clips break off. The little metal clasps that serve as the circuit interconnect get loose. You then have a short circuit just waiting to happen as the clasp slides back and forth unsecured. Unfortunately, futuristic visions did not encompass all aspects of this product.
See what I mean...
They break off if you breath too hard! Then you're done for!
The radio came with an extremely quiet clock mechanism.
The clock face was also in perfect condition! Nice to see.
Surprisingly, these old Telechrons are fairly easy to service. If it doesn't work or buzzes, throw it out! The motor mechanism is permanently sealed. Ripping it apart to 'fix' it is ill advised. Taking apart the gear mechanism to replace a component or modify its configuration is dicey at best. Not for the faint of heart, or the blind, or those lacking a spare drawer of clock mechanism parts. I can show you my parts drawer but it's basically a haystack.
See the clock knob and shaft that broke off? These little knurled knobs were righty-tighty lefty-loosey threaded. Unfortunately, they get twisted off and lost over the years. This one broke off at the shaft which makes setting the time or alarm difficult unless you have pinch nose pliers for fingers!
Worthy of mention. This radio featured an oblong speaker. Presumably, this was to flatten the base as much as possible to make the clock protuberance appear as if it were 'floating!'
Also the head to body interconnect:
One of the accidental design wins of this radio was the bottom cable interconnect. Because it is 90 degrees and on the bottom of the unit, it did not suffer from normal cable interconnect base fatigue. A common issue during this era.
Here's all the loose hardware in organized fashion immediately following complete disassembly - (not!)
The bezel and gold metal surround were in great original condition:
Just needed some polishing (BEFORE).
Here's everything back from a deep steam clean (AFTER):
Here's what it looks like after it has been reassembled:
I left out the most laborious step. The manufacture and replacement of the lost top buttons! Not fun, and extremely time intensive.
Here's what it sounds like.