Philips BX135U Bakelite Radio (1954)


The modest Philips BX135U tabletop radio wouldn't normally catch my eye. The styling is rather plain, and it receives only the standard broadcast band, unlike many European sets, which include shortwave.

You might think at first glance that it's a two-band radio, but the two sets of numbers on the dial simply show the standard broadcast band in meters as well as kilohertz.

Notice the "backwards" dial, in which the BC frequency numbers in the top row increase in value from right to left, rather than increase in the usual left-right order. I have only one other radio with this odd arrangement, a Silvertone 6012.

The big attraction of this radio for me is that, in the movie "Lethal Vows," which featured my website, this radio played a prominent role. To read about that movie and see a number of screen shots, go to Phil's Old Radios Stars in a Movie.

The movie, as detailed in that article, involves a murder plot in which the killer (played by John Ritter) poisons his wife (played by Marg Helgenberger) using selenium salvaged from this old radio.


An ironic detail is that this radio doesn't use a selenium rectifier!

As the chassis photo shows, this is a five-tube radio. No selenium rectifier is visible here or underneath the chassis. The radio uses a type UY41 rectifier tube rather than a solid-state rectifier.

You can also see that the radio uses 1950s-era all-glass tubes, rather than the much older type tubes which the movie showed in the supposed parts list for the radio.

Ah well, I suppose we can forgive the moviemakers for a little poetic license. Selenium rectifiers were used in countless 1950s radios of this general type, so I may be the only person on Planet Earth who noticed these discrepancies.

I wasn't sure of the model number of this radio until a fellow collector in Europe sent me a copy of the schematic, which is printed in Dutch.

This radio was purchased from a seller in Peru, of all places. Philips was a huge supplier of radios in countries outside the US.

A few years after I first posted this article, a fellow collector from the Netherlands, Lex de Prieëlle, contributed these beautiful 3-D renderings of his own BX135U.

These images are used by permission of Lex and may not be reproduced for any commercial purpose. The first photo in this page, showing the radio's dial, also shows Lex's radio, not mine, since his has the original knobs and mine does not.

I haven't restored the electronics yet. It's just fun to have this radio to show people who have seen my website.

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