DIY Philco B-537 Deluxe People's Set

  • 1. Introduction

    Like many, I just can't resist the lure of a nice bakelite set that catches my eye. In this instance it wasn't so much a complete set as the empty black bakelite case from a Philco 444 in a dirty but otherwise good condition. My immediate thoughts were to adapt or build from scratch a chassis to fit inside to give the appearance of a working original.
  • 2. Chassis restoration

    I spent some time cleaning the accumulated dirt and rust from the chassis. I cleaned all the valve sockets using Servisol 10, and the pins of the valves themselves with a glass fibre pen. Referring to Philco Service Bulletin No.72 for the C-537 model, I replaced a dozen or so of the tubular capacitors and the electrolytics in the power supply section.
  • 3. Case modification

    A couple of issues here. First, the case I had was from a standard Philco 444 model and only had two holes at the bottom for the control spindles whereas the C-537 had three, having an extra control in the middle. And second, I would need to make a replacement baffle-board to mount the speaker and to fit some new grille cloth to. Drilling a.....
  • 4. Reproduction back cover

    I was unable to find any photographs at the time showing the appearance of an original Philco B-537 back. Instead I decided to make one along the lines of a Philco 444 back, adding the different openings and cut-outs necessary for the C-537 chassis. Using images of the 444 back as a guide, along with a tracing of the opening of the bakelite case.....
  • 5. Conclusion

    It was now just a matter of assembling everything. I fitted the speaker to the baffle-board and likewise the chassis into the case, completing the set with the reproduction back-board. Note: an original B-537 has a mottled black/brown bakelite case, whereas the set here is all black. In addition, the control far-left was just a rotary on/off switch on the B-537.....