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1924 Montgomery Ward Radio Catalog

1924 Montgomery Ward Radio Catalog - RF CafeYou probably are aware that major retail corporations like Sears Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward (aka "Wards") contracted with established appliance manufacturers to create their own brands for sale in their mail order catalogs and brick-and-mortar stores. Sears had their Kenmore line of kitchen (also Cold Spot) and laundry products, Craftsman line of tools, and Silvertone line of radios. Wards had the Signature line of appliances, Powr Kraft tools, and Airline radios. Both companies are basically defunct at this point. I was always a big Sears customer, and was sad to see them get scuttled by moron management. Montgomery Ward products all seemed second rate compared to Sears. My workshop is full of Craftsman tools (hand tools and power tools) and only a couple from Wards. Montgomery Ward, founded in 1872 closed its last stores in 2001, but unknown to most people is that they still have an Internet presence as wards.com. Sears Roebuck & Co., founded in 1892, still has a few stores open and is online at sears.com (and craftsman.com).

Anyhoo, I ran across this 1924 Montgomery Ward Radio catalog that is chock full of not just plug and play console and tabletop models, but also many kits and thousands of electronics parts for building and repairing your own radio. It is on the Archive.org website and can be downloaded, or you can peruse the contents online.

A radio enthusiast, of which there were many back in the day, could find components in hardware stores, drug stores, and department stores (including Montgomery Ward). If you read some of the books written for teenagers in the early to middle 1900s, they often contained features where the boys (and sometimes girls) engage in radio building and operating activities.

Radio Boys, by Allen Chapman - RF CafeMy partial collection of "Radio Boys" book series by Allen Chapman in the 1920s is an excellent example. It centers around a group of four teenage boys - Bob, Joe, Herb, and Jimmy (aka "Donuts") - who discovered the miracle of radio and set about to learn all they could about it, and eventually with the guidance of a local preacher who was a radio master, built their own receiver. Adventure and intrigue build throughout the books as they solve mysteries, assist law enforcement and government agencies, perform acts of community service, and through dialog teach the reader a little about radio theory and operation - all while continually needing to contend with a local clutch of bullies whose jealousy of the Radio Boys' success drives them to attempt the thwarting of their efforts. I am currently reading "The Radio Boys with the Forest Rangers." BTW, there is also a "Radio Girls" series by Margaret Penrose, of which I own only two.

Below are examples of some content from the 1924 Montgomery Ward Radio catalog.

Radio Is Here to Stay, 1924 Montgomery Ward Radio Catalog - RF CafeRadio Has Come to Stay

Radio is rapidly becoming a necessary part of our business and social life. Nearly 6 00 powerful broadcasting stations costing up to $100,000 each, operated by the United States government, universities, churches, newspapers and private corporations, are broadcasting entertainment, news, educational and religious features daily. It is all free. Information that formerly took days or weeks to reach dwellers in remote places, is now available by radio almost instantly. The correct time, weather forecasts and market reports are broadcast from many places; and with the proper apparatus, can be heard daily almost anywhere. With Ward's equipment, radio reception has been so simplified that anyone can operate easily and successfully the radio receiving sets shown in this catalogue.

Ultra Airline 1-Tube Set, 1924 Montgomery Ward Radio Catalog - RF CafeUltra Airline 1-Tube Set

No Experience Needed -  Anyone Can Use It: The Ultra Airline is a high grade vacuum tube Receiving Set perfected until it is so simple that anyone can set it up and use it successfully anywhere. No previous radio experience is needed. This set complete at this low price includes tube, batteries, head set and all antenna equipment; nothing extra to buy. You can set it up and be hearing programs an hour or two after you receive the set. The range of the Ultra Airline is remarkable. On cold nights, under favorable conditions, you will be able to enjoy programs regularly from stations up to 1000 miles distant, and much greater distances have been covered. It will give good service the year round. View Showing Interior of Ultra Airline: The above view shows the compact interior arrangement of the Ultra Airline. Note that the batteries are contained in the cabinet, hiding all except the antenna and ground wires. This improves the appearance of the set and makes it adaptable for a portable set.

Three-Circuit Tuner and Detector, 1924 Montgomery Ward Radio Catalog - RF CafeThree-Circuit Tuner and Detector

Build This Single Tube Three-Circuit Receiver Standard Reliable Hookup Using Variocoupler, Variometer and Condenser - Very Sensitive and a Most Popular Receiver. The construction work on this set has been carried to a  point where all you have to do is fasten the parts in place, cut and fit the wires, solder them in place, put the set in its cabinet and you have a handsome and very reliable detector and tuner - a compete receiver - at a total cost far below that of a ready built set of the same kind. the hookup used is a standard regenerative three-circuit and is quite selective and very sensitive. Some very remarkable long range receiving records have been made with sets using this circuit and many progressive radio builders consider it superior to most of the newer, more complicated arrangements. with this set you will be able to cover enormous distances under favorable conditions. It wave length range covers all broadcasting stations. Very fine for reception of broadcasting and popular with operators who like to copy ships.

Choose the Circuit You Like Best, 1924 Montgomery Ward Radio Catalog - RF CafeChoose the Circuit You Like Best

One-Tube Reinartz Tuner: This set has earned a wide reputation for its long distance reception, selectivity and ease of operation. It may be used with either dry cell or storage battery tubes. Once the switch levers have been set for coarse adjustment the finer tuning is easily done with the two variable condensers. The addition of the 2−stage amplifier shown on the next page will give the Reinartz sufficient volume for the operation of a loud speaker. Amateurs will also find this set capable of bringing in the continuous wave wireless telegraph stations with an ease of control that makes it better than almost any other type of receiver.

One Tube Cockaday Receiving Set: The Cockaday is noted for its extreme selectivity - that is, its ability to tune out the nearby broadcasting stations and reach the distant ones. The wave trap principle employed permits the use of a larger antenna than is usually possible. This tends to slightly increase the range and strength of the set. As all the coils are built into one unit in the Cockaday, it is very compact and takes up much less panel space than other sets giving equal results. The addition of the 2-stage amplifier shown on Page 31 will give this set sufficient volume to operate a loud speaker on most distant stations.


Variometers, Variocouplers, Condensers, Vacuum Tubes & Sockets, Headphones, Loud Speakers, Batteries, Chargers, Rheostats, Tuning Units, Inductances, Audio Transformers, Radio Frequency Transformers, Antennas, Cables, Switches, Tools, Hardware, How-To Manuals.


Here is a link to the 1939 Montgomery Ward Catalog advertisement in Radio News magazine.



Posted February 19, 2021

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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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