EH Scott Radio Enthusiasts

The Fine Things are Always Hand Made

Philharmonic (and others): What styles of knobs used and when? (plastic, wood, pinch, metal, etc.)

This ebay auction, ending in moments, is already bid up to $227.50 for a nice set of knobss for a Philharmonic. Wow

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%...

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Crazy plastic, hope the new owner knows the correct flipper knobs for this set are in another auction as the “pinch style”. Plastic didn’t show up until late 39 BOLs. and the brass flippers were the domain of Pointer dial sets based on my findings. All that said, I’d take the “S” logo wood sets anyday.

Plastic was used on the early dial pointers, and yes, the flippers were used on them also.  I don't recall seeing a known original dial pointer Philharmonic with the pinch style knobs in place of the flipper style.    The wood "S" knobs came later, though some late sets can be found with either.  Scott used what was available.   

I am not too sure that the pinch knobs in that other auction are correct for a Philharmonic either as they don't match my known original set shown below, which was untouched and from original owners house.   They just don't look right, though I am sure there are variations that came from the factory. 

I was surprised at that auction price as these plastic knobs are easy to find common knobs back then.    I was interested in bidding as I have a really nice Philharmonic that needs one flipper...but there was no way I was spending that kind of money.  I will have Mike H make me one, LOL. 

Scott … I bid on them. My $66.50 didn't go too far

on this one. LOL

I'm not sure which ones are correct for my radio since

I have seen it outfitted in different ways.

I have the 1940-1941? Philharmonic, BOL, red FM dial

but no FM converter installed. total of 9 knobs/dials.

The first attached photo shows my radio. I only have one original knob, a brown plastic.

The next two I got somewhere … they appear to have the same dial.

Confusing history!



Scott Seickel said:

Plastic was used on the early dial pointers, and yes, the flippers were used on them also.  I don't recall seeing a known original dial pointer Philharmonic with the pinch style knobs in place of the flipper style.    The wood "S" knobs came later, though some late sets can be found with either.  Scott used what was available.   

I am not too sure that the pinch knobs in that other auction are correct for a Philharmonic either as they don't match my known original set shown below, which was untouched and from original owners house.   They just don't look right, though I am sure there are variations that came from the factory. 

I was surprised at that auction price as these plastic knobs are easy to find common knobs back then.    I was interested in bidding as I have a really nice Philharmonic that needs one flipper...but there was no way I was spending that kind of money.  I will have Mike H make me one, LOL. 

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Ken,  seeing as though you have one original knob and it is the round plastic, it is safe to assume that you had all plastic knobs and did not have the wooden "S" knobs.  So they all would be round, like what you have, except the 2 upper and inner knobs would either be plastic pinch knobs, or plastic levers.  The round knobs should be fairly easy to find.   The second picture you sent has the correct knobs, but you can use pinch knobs instead of the levers.

A friend of mine has over 10k knobs.  I will shoot him a picture and see what he can find.  Problem is that he does not have them sorted. 

The above comment by Scott Seickel that Scott supplied what knobs he had available is well taken. From my documentation (price lists with photos, and Scott news issues) the pair of knobs flanking the tuning knobs of the Philharmonic  changes over time.

- a pair of brown plastic pinch style (Scott News April 1937 both cover and center fold photos). Also May 1937 page 2, Nov 1937 several pages, Feb 1938 cover and a couple Philly pointer dial price lists. Same pinch pair as on the 1937-8 Scott  Model Sixteen.

- I find no Scott literature with a Philharmonic photo displaying a pair cast metal knobs. However, a pair of cast metal knobs were on a late 1937 pointer dial Philharmonic I bought last Fall from the family of the original owner. Kent has a set of cast metal knobs on a pointer dial Philharmonic, too. The long defunct E H Scott Historical Society went to the trouble to have made a run of repo cast metal knobs sold in pairs.

-The Scott News late 1939 Vol 11 #6 photo page 2 shows BOL 8 control 1940 Philly with a pair of pinch knobs flanking the tuning knobs, and as usual all the other knobs are round.

An early 1940 Scott News (no volume or number) shows the new 1940 Scott model line up (pre FM) and it shows both a photo of the BOL 8 knob AM Philly with a pair of pinch knobs page 2 and a photo page 3 of the new Philly dial with the new tuning vernier at the top of the dial and the pair of plastic "bat wing" knobs flanking the tuning dial. The late 1940 Scott News Vol 12 #3 on page 13 shows the pair of "bat wing" knobs on the FM Philly and again the next issue #4 on page 13. 

-The late 1940 green price list of Scott models shows the FM Philharmonic with the pair of bat wing knobs.

But the Christmas 1940 price list shows the FM Philharmonic photo with a pair of pinch knobs again.

My conclusion: a pointer dial Philharmonic was initially supplied with a pair of brown pinch style, but later were supplied for awhile with the pair of cast metal knobs. In the early BOL 6 control Philharmonics of 1938-9  were supplied with pinch style. With the 1940 Philharmonic announced late 1939, the plastic pair of batwing knobs first appeared and continued into the FM Philharmonic era (introduced Summer 1940) as well as for the standard  (non-FM) version. And later sometime in 1941 the pinch style reintroduced. Some say a few Philharmonics had the wood "S" knob set, but I have never seen an example. Some years ago I bought a complete Philly panel with escutcheons and knobs, and all the knobs were a sort of octal shape which Norman commented he had seen on a Philharmonic as well. 

2nd conclusion: abide with what came with your Philharmonic. But if you need knobs for a pointer Philharmonic either metal or pinch, but as they can be difficult to find. For BOL Philharmonics with no  top of the dial vernier, pinch style. For the 1940-41 Philharmonics (has the vernier at the top of the dial),a  pair of brown plastic bat wing style preferred, but pinch are suitable too. While seeking any of these, settle for the round to match the other round style.

Some Philharmonics had a shallow version of the standard round knob for the slow seed tuning knob. 

If all this seems like the Wild West, remember, E H Scott Radio Labs was a custom set builder and was probably buying knobs in smaller batches as needed.

Caveat - Scott literature photos like I referenced have some accuracy limitations, as for example, all the 1938 Phantom photos with strange dial (prototype?) and only 5 controls like a model Sixteen. 

Scott and David,

Very interesting! It sounds like the brown plastic all around for my set. I’ll keep a lookout. 

Local antique radio meets are infrequent and far away in this area. Two hours + to get to the Nashua, NH New England Antique Radio Club meet. Used to be closer in MA. I always took home too much heavy stuff! I do better on Craigs List .. recently picked up Radiola 106 and Radiola 812 ... off topic .. drifting like a HW-101.

In the meantime I am enjoying the Philharmonic. I’ve tried it with a small AM transmitter connected to a cell phone or iPad.

It does very well. 

Dave wrote: "Some say a few Philharmonics had the wood "S" knob set, but I have never seen an example."

I pulled an AM/FM Philharmonic out of an attic where it had sat untouched since the repairman brought it home in the 1960's.    It had the wood "S" knobs.  There are also a number of Philharmonic examples in collectors hands (late models) that have the wood knobs.   Scott put the wood knobs on the Masterpiece and Phantom, so why not the high end Philharmonic?  I have another AM/FM that I have no doubts is all original and it has the wood knobs.  I am convinced that Scott used the wood knobs on all the late sets UNTIL he ran out and it was not worth having another run of them produced due to financial reasons.  The round plastic knobs are fairly common and were used on other sets.  The pinch style is a lot harder to get.  The levers are also very difficult. 

I find that the Scott advertising photos are not a good guide here.  They simply put whatever knobs were handy on a set to take a picture.  The knobs were not what was selling the set, so they really didn't care.

This also begs the question, if you purchased a EH Scott chassis only set, did you purchase the knobs/escutcheon set separately if you desired them?  I guess I have not spent enough time in the advertising to answer this, if there is an answer to be found there.  My assumption is that those items were not included because of the great number of chassis sets out there that have none.  So when you purchased a set, were these items included in the cabinet cost?   This is something I have not thought of until now.  I can't think of any other radio that is so commonly found as a raw chassis. 

Ken, you can try these guys for knobs, they are all dealers:

Julie McCall (email: radiopup at bell south dot net)
Mike Koste - Gobs of Knobs (email: gokmike at gmail dot com)
Barry McDaniel (email: decoradioman at sbcglobal dot net)
Ruthann Mertl (email: ruthannie at mchsi dot com)
Jim Sargeant (email: bsargent at swbell dot net)

We’re off the ice so I’m a little bored today, bare with me. I concur with Scott. To support the “wood” theory, do you remember what our parents/grandparents thought of “plastic” in general ? Ok, whatever. We near “custom built” ad nauseum but this implies “custom ordered”. Something like this, “hello Mr Smith, what knobs would you like.... sorry were fresh out of flippers only pinch and you can have them in wood or plastic with remainder to compliment....sorry, ran out of round estrucheons, but the keyhole types are available”.

from our trusty Scott Guide, we have all but the FM sporting keyhole estrucheons, and pinch knobs, No brass flippers.

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Continuing both photos from the SAME Pointer Instruction Manual, date unknown, hold onto your hats. What ! Are those AW rounds ? Yep and we’ve gone from pinch to flipper along the way. See any trends ?

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Last but certainly not least, from 40 Sale brochure, FM sporting flippers and round estrucheons, hmmm, first time I’ve seen that combo. Also note the square eye tube estrucheons.

......finally, but not least, same brochure back cover, we have the infamous pose, what is arguably the BOL (1940 brochure mind you) and what to my wondering eyes does appear, but round eye estrucheons, keyholes, and pinchers, oh my !

.... concluding, even given the choice, you were likely limited by stock, availability. Back to wood, as Scott noted, assembly had many populating all other models 39 forward. Speaking for myself here, but what self respecting well heeled Scott prospective wouldn’t go for the scripted “S”....what a show-off ! 

I know of two original family Phillys, one confirming the last photo here ie round eye estrucheons, keyhole bezels, plastic with pinchers. The other, an FM with square eye estrucheons, round bezels, “S” wood knobs and pinchers. Upgraded later ? Who knows. One things for sure, there’s no continuity here, sky’s the limit, subjectivity abounds. One thing for sure, I have never seen a brass or metal AW style flipper in ANY official Scott photo, and those photos are definitely damning to anyone who thinks “one size fits all”.

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Scott, thanks for those references. Knobs are something radio folks, Scotts or otherwise, are always in need of. I've been messing with car radios from the 40's and 50's lately. The knobs are almost always lost.

Ken, you are welcome. 

Dave, you make some great points with those advertising pictures.  I never really studied them looking for knobs, escutcheons, etc.  My personal opinion at this point is that the advertising pictures mean nothing.  It looks like they just put on "whatever" to get a picture.    Sure, there were changes along the way, be it intentional ones or stock issues.  I do clearly see trends looking at Philharmonic sets that I believe to be original and not put together in recent years.  I know that brass flippers were put on the early dial pointer Philharmonics.  Was it because they had them available and wanted to get rid of them?... maybe.  But my set is not alone in having them.  Has anyone ever seen a known original Philharmonic with AW style wood knobs?  I haven't, but I am not saying it didn't happen.    

What struck me is that advertising picture of a 9 knob Philharmonic with the old dial pointer center logo.  The 9 knob version was released in Spring 1939 and by then the Stradivarius dial was already established.  This one has me scratching my head.  The old dial would not even work as it went up to 80 Mhz.  Anyone ever see this before?  Could this just be staged with an incomplete chassis in this cabinet made out of whatever parts they had at hand?

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