Sunday, March 25, 2018

1935 Wards Airline 62-123 Console Restoration Page

This past week, a classified ad popped up on one of the classified ad groups for "Radio." It was an interesting-looking console with a very Art Deco skyscraper style. The cabinet's a bit on the cheap side, unlike the Philco 87 or the Stromberg Carlson corner console that I picked up a few years ago. Still, I thought it had some potential. 

I sent a message to the seller & asked if the radio was still available, the make and model number, and if I could see it. He said it was a Montgomery Wards Airline 62-123. Much to my surprise, he also sent a video of it playing a local AM station loud and strong! Pretty good for a 1935 console in fairly average unrestored condition.

I drove about 45 minutes to an hour away, out into Pennsylvania farm country. The owner had the radio in his garage. He said it was his father's mother's radio and he estimated it to be at least 100  years old (actually, 1935). He said that she's still alive, in a nursing home, and 105 years old! He also said the his aunt or uncle told him that the grille cloth had that big hole in the front for as long as he or she could remember.

The owner had asked for $50. I offered $40 and he seemed anxious to sell it. I loaded it into the back of the car and drove off. I wonder why he was in such a hurry to unload a piece of family history? I guess people don't value old radios or family history as much as I do.

Now, the radio itself. This is a 7-tube radio that covers from 530 to 1740 kHz and 5800 to 18300 kHz in two bands. Seven tubes isn't bad and I love the fact that it has a large SW band and covers 43 meters. Knob twiddlers will appreciate that on the front panel are dials for volume and tone. Very cool. I don't know who manufactured this receiver or if the chassis is identical to some other model of radio.

The dial cord is slipping badly and the radio can presently only be tuned by hand through the back of the cabinet. The power cord was replaced. The former owners covered the back of the cabinet with a sheet of cardboard decades ago, so the chassis is nice and clean. I haven't yet checked to see if the shortwave band works.

And now some photos of the radio:


I'm a bit disappointed that the front panel doesn't have as nicely burled veneer as some of the 62-123s that I've seen online.

Tuning in the center, volume of the left dial and tone on the right.
A view of the make-shift cardboard back
The name "LESTER" scratched into the cardboard
A nice-looking chassis


1 comment:

  1. Wow! What an interesting find! I don't know anything about radio restoration but I definitely look forward to updates.

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