Montgomery Ward Airline Model 62-402
BY RICHARD ARNOLD
It takes dedication and determination to turn an empty cabinet into a good-looking, working radio. Richard Arnold explains how he did it. (Editor)
I have been writing articles for Antique Radio Classified since 1985, and maybe only three have been about console radios. I have a few consoles in my collection, but as a rule I tend to shun them for what I think are more interesting radios. I do, however, have this pretty neat looking Montgomery Ward Airline, shown in Figure 1, in my collection. There is a story here that perhaps some would find interesting, so here goes.
This now rather nice looking radio was an ugly duckling when I first saw it. Really, all that there was to the radio was an empty cabinet in bad condition and the original grille cloth. My son Andy had found the cabinet in a closet in the garage of an old house he was living in. Knowing that I am always on the lookout for old radios, he decided to rescue it. He brought it to me and said, "Here, look what I found!"
Well, I really wasn't all that thrilled, as I don't like to collect just any old console, especially when all there was to it was this messed up cabinet with a grille cloth. What was I going to do with it?
Nevertheless, I accepted it and even put it up against a wall in my radio room with its very limited space where it sat for about a year or so. You know, one good thing about these large console sets is that you can always use them to display another radio, so that is how I was using this Airline.
The Restoration Process
Then one day, I was sitting there looking at the empty cabinet of the Airline console and decided to see if I could find a chassis and all of the other stuff that I would need to make it whole. Using my newly acquired computer, I looked at a number of links. I came across this one site that had many console radios pictured. It was the site of John and Jean Goller of Antique Radio Restorations. They had a complete Airline 62-402 pictured. Good grief! What do you suppose the odds of that were? I contacted them and made a deal for everything I needed. They were very nice people, very cooperative and helpful.
When the items arrived, I was very happy to see the great condition that they were in. The chassis was beautiful, all original and no rust. Heck, it even worked and sounded great. I didn't have to do a thing to it. One nice surprise was that the set has one of those green-tuning eyes.
Well, now that I had the whole radio, all that I needed to do was to refinish the cabinet. The wood was all OK; just the finish was shot. I took it down to the wood and was really pleased with the condition and quality of the wood that the manufacturer had put into this radio. There were three or four different kinds of wood, not including the inlays. I looked at the set and decided not to stain it, as the wood had a natural beauty that I wanted to maintain. I purchased some expensive Tung oil and used it with what I think are great results.
The 1938 Airline Model 62-402 -- an "ugly duckling" transformed.
According to Rider, the Airline Model 62-402 is a 1938 radio. It is a 10-tube superhet, not including the tuning indicator tube. The ten tube types used in this model are the following: a 6D6 RF, a 6C6 1st detector, a 6D6 IF, two 41 push-pull output tubes, an 80 rectifier, and four Type 76 tubes used as follows: a 2nd Detector and AVC, a 1st audio, an oscillator, and finally, a "Balancing Exciter." Now that one was a whole new term to me, so I found out what it means. It is a phase inverter for the two push-pull Type 41 tubes. The tuning eye or indicator tube is a Type 6U5. The IF for the radio is 456 Kc.
There are also three bands on this radio:
Range B is the broadcast band from 550 to 1600 Kc;
Range C is the Amateur band from 1,585 Kc to 5,400 Kc;
Range D is the shortwave band from 15,000 Kc to 18,300 Kc.
There are also four knobs on the radio. They are used as bass and treble tone control, tuning, band selection, and on/off and volume control.
After I had finished the radio and had it all together and working great, I invited my son to sit down in the radio room. When I turned it on for him, he was amazed at what he was looking at. He couldn't believe it was the same radio. That green tuning eye impressed the heck out of him too.
Now, that is the story of my Montgomery Ward Airline Model 62-402 radio that was brought back to life and has turned out to be a beautiful looking and great playing radio. It was a diamond in the rough.
Rider, John F. Perpetual Trouble Shooters Manual, Vol. 9, pp. 34 and 56.
(Richard Arnold, P.O. Box 275, Lone Grove, OK 73443)
Richard Arnold, a frequent contributor to A.R.C., has been collecting radios 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.