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Airline Console

This is an Airline console manufactured for Montgomery Wards by (I believe) Wells Garder. It is a 1935 model and has the same chassis as the more common tombstone model. The paper label telling its model number is missing, but I have learned that it is model 62-123. This radio came from Eastland, Texas with shipping courtesy UPS. It was damaged in transit, although it was plenty rough to begin with. UPS also put a hole in the bottom of the box and lost a knob, thank you very much. The grill cloth was filthy and falling apart (the radio had been stored in a barn or a shed for years) and some of the grill work was damaged too.

Not obvious from the "before" pictures is the fact that the radio got damaged in shipping. It had the cone torn and the voice coil pulled out of the frame. The chassis was ripped from the plywood board on which it sits. This was pretty rough handling for a radio that was well used to say the least and which even had been on fire at one point! (You can make out the burn marks in the "before" side picture. This became very obvious when the old finish was stripped.)

This radio was full of stops and starts for me. Once I got the UPS claim settled, which took months, I pulled the chassis and did the electronics first. I removed the dial pointer and the smaller pointer for the treble control. (This is an interesting set-up which visually shows you where you are on your treble from brilliant to flat.) The volume control has a similar pointer, part of which was broken when it arrived. The dial glass was broken by UPS as well.

I stuffed the old wax and paper caps with modern replacements in order to maintain appearances under the chassis. I removed the large aluminum electrolytic capacitors and their guts, replacing the insides with modern electrolytics. This left the chassis looking original. A few caps here and there and a tube or two and this baby fired up nicely. The speaker was damaged (and since it is a field coil speaker, it is part of the power supply and needed to even turn on the radio with out damaging other components)and so the sound was very weak. I thought that I was having an output problem, but months later I began playing around with the speaker and noticed that depending on where I put pressure, the sound became louder. I wound up having to make a new spider for the speaker, removed the cone from the frame, rewound a turn or two of the voice coil and reglue the speaker to the frame. This gave me more volume, but distortion. I also used silicon sealant (on the advice of a news group post) which was a small disaster. After a few months more of letting it sit, I tore the speaker apart again, redid the voice coil again and put it back together. This time it was good volume and no distortion. Happy with the result, I glued the cone back in and that was that.

With the speaker working properly, I got outstanding reception and selectivity on the AM band and pretty good results on the shortwave band as well.

The cabinet sat around while most of this was going on, just collecting dust. Eventually I stripped the cabinet and was somewhat stymied by the fact that the light veneer on the right side of the radio had some real damage at the corner. I eventually wound up just replacing both sides with a piece of light color veneer. I built up the damaged corner and glued the veneer right over it using the yellow-glue-and-iron method.

I'm happy with the results but noticed that I didn't get the grill cloth on very tight. Maybe eventually I'll get around to redoing it. I also need a knob.