Montgomery Ward Airline Model 62-425
The "Indian Head"
BY RICHARD ARNOLD
Whether or not it's a "mundane radio" hyped by a fancy nickname, the important thing about Richard Arnold's Airline set is that it gives pleasure to its owner as "a nice looking wooden set from the 1930s." This simple appeal should be the bottom line for all collectors. (Editor)
The subheading of this article obviously stretches a point with the "Indian Head" reference to the shape of the speaker grille cutout. It vaguely resembles an Indian head, facing to the left, with the headdress of feathers a large nose and jutting chin. Some can see it that way while others cannot. I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder. That being said, somewhere along the line this nickname has been given to this radio. Though not generally known, the name is one a number of collectors, including me, recall hearing over the years.
Catalog Ad Description
Indian Head or not, the Airline Model 62-425 is a nice, wooden, 1937, AC set made for Montgomery Ward by Belmont. You will no doubt notice that the set uses two of the Philco rosette style knobs. These are original knobs. I have a 1933 Belmont Model 777 in my collection that has these knobs on it also.
Montgomery Ward Airline Model 62-425
Thanks to Dr. Steve Kissinger of Thousand Oaks, California, I am able to quote here some from a 1937 Montgomery Ward spring and summer catalog ad that he sent to me:
"60,000 users say -- Greatest Radio Buy Ever... Ask any of these enthusiastic owners. They'll tell you, 'It's sure a great little radio, I couldn't buy a better set for $20.00... Doesn't have that tinny tone of most small radios.' "
"Here are five reasons why this is $20 worth of quality in tone, power and beauty:
1. The set has the latest superheterodyne circuit not found on other sets at this low price. It makes full use of the patents from the famous RCA and Hazeltine Laboratories, listed by Underwriters' Lab, Inc.
2. Its lighted full vision airplane dial is accurate and easy to use. The kilocycle scale covers the regular broadcast band of from 535 to 1720 Kc
3. It has automatic volume control -- no fading.
4. It has a full-size, 5-inch Dynamic speaker.
5. The beautiful veneer wood cabinet is 7" x 10" x 5"."
The Model 62-425 is a 5-tube superhet AC radio that uses the following tube types: a 6A7 oscillator and 1st detector, a 78 IF amp, a 75 2nd detector and AVC, a 41 output, and either a 5Z4 or a 5Y3 full-wave rectifier. This radio still has some of the Montgomery Ward tubes in it. It also uses a 6-8v bayonet pilot light bulb. The IF is 465 Kc.
The cabinet has some engraved lines around the dial scale area that gives the radio the very popular Art Deco look. Along with the Philco Bakelite rosette knobs, there is a very nicely decorated round Bakelite dial scale escutcheon.
Value Then and Now
This model originally sold for $9.45 in a walnut finish and for $10.45 in an antique ivory finish, complete with Super Airline tubes and instructions. The shipping weight was 10 pounds. Recent eBay prices were $56, $83.01 and $111.15.
While discussing this radio with other collectors on the Antique Radio Forum in order to get their input on the Indian Head idea, I heard a collector say that one should not "invent names to hype mundane radios." That made me wonder what would have happened if this set had been the one sitting on that table in the Walton television series, instead of that old Zenith? I suppose it might now be called the Walton Indian Head radio and be worth in excess of $1,500!
Well, I guess we will never know the answer to that question. However, other than being just a curiosity or a conversation piece, this set is a nice looking wooden radio from the 1930s, and it looks pretty good up there on the shelf.
Montgomery Ward Catalog. Spring and Summer, 1937.
Rider, John F. Perpetual Trouble Shooters Manual, Vol. IX, pp. 9-57.
(Richard Arnold, P.O. Box 275, Lone Grove, OK 73443. E-mail: email@example.com)
Richard Arnold, a frequent contributor to A.R.C., has been collecting since 1985. His interest is primarily in cathedrals and 1920s battery sets, and his collection ranges from crystal sets to a 1928 American Bosch in a Pooley cabinet. His prize is the 1932 Jackson Bell Peter Pan featured in the June 1991 A.R.C.