View Full Version : Found a 1974 Wards Airline portable color TV!


drh4683
01-02-2016, 07:01 AM
I found this at an estate sale in the area. It's a 1974 Wards Airline 12" hybrid color portable. The set was sitting in the basement and had a "Free" sticker on it. I simply picked it up and carried it out of the house and got to bypass the huge checkout line as well! The people running the sale were shocked to see someone interested enough to take it away. In fact, the one guy helping run the sale said to me "You are probably taking it only because it was free". I told him no, I would have bought it if it had a reasonable price on it, but I won't argue with Free! The guy goes "THAT FIGURES!" Well, that was their loss.

After I got home, I took the back off to check it out. This is another lucky TV as the original owners didn't leave it plugged in, so the instant-on didn't destroy the CRT. It's nice and strong yet and the set still works well. As you can see, it's made in Taiwan. That's because this set was actually made for Wards by Admiral and was built by AOC, which of course was Admiral Overseas Corp (Admiral's Taiwan plant). Admiral was one of Montgomery Wards main electronic suppliers next to Warwick in the 60's and 70's. This one must be one of the very last tube hybrid sets they made. It also has the newer "WARDS AIRLINE" script on the front, but the CRT label and tubes still have the old styled cursive "Airline" script. I think 1973 was the transition year they switched to the new logo. Most date codes on components throughout the chassis are early to mid 1973, but the CRT appears to have a 1974 date code. So it's a real deal Admiral designed set, just made in their Taiwan plant. You can see some of the parts inside look domestic while others are clearly foreign. A true hybrid in more ways than one. Admiral was one of the first US electronic manufacturers to open a foreign plant, and did so in 1967 when they started their operations in Taiwan.


https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1624/24015117502_d5266e0716_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CA8KL3)DSC02497 (https://flic.kr/p/CA8KL3) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

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https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5789/24097151576_3ed7114d6e_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CHocCC)DSC02511 (https://flic.kr/p/CHocCC) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1612/23827631370_a17e58b9b3_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CiyQEw)DSC02514 (https://flic.kr/p/CiyQEw) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5784/23496435513_1efc104a15_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/BNinF8)DSC02518 (https://flic.kr/p/BNinF8) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5699/23827568200_7d6aba4229_h.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/CiyvTo)DSC02522 (https://flic.kr/p/CiyvTo) by drh4683 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/135332734@N02/), on Flickr

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jstout66
01-02-2016, 07:39 AM
What a neat set! I was gonna say rebadged Admiral before I read your description, since Admiral always had the screen size stamped into the bezel. And ya.. chassis has a combo Jap/American look about it.
These sets sure are rare now, since they were easy to toss after analog went away.
I see I'm the first to reply to your post. Will pray I don't see any "you better re-cap the entire thing or she'll burn your house down" posts haha

dieseljeep
01-02-2016, 10:43 AM
I have the Admiral version of that set. The set uses 300ma series tubes that are not that popular or expensive. Many of them are only $1.00 each at the Florida place. Look on the dollar list. Minimum order of ten tubes.
Naturally, the 30JZ6 is like $14.00. It looks like yours is pretty well wasted.
It looks like Wards had several suppliers at the time, including GE. :scratch2:

Electronic M
01-02-2016, 01:44 PM
That is a nice one. The side by side tuning knobs look reminds of a portacolor.

dieseljeep
01-02-2016, 02:43 PM
That is a nice one. The side by side tuning knobs look reminds of a portacolor.

I was looking through an Electronic Technician schematic book, that had the original factory prints. That was the book, they would include with a subscription to the magazine, probably long defunct.
There was a schematic, covered under Admiral that was almost identical to the Porta-Color circuitry, except the screen size. The artwork was typically Admiral, so it was possibly a clone design.

dishdude
01-02-2016, 03:04 PM
It does look very Porta-color. I wonder what the price difference was when new. This set looks a little higher quality and more grown up than a PC.

Eric H
01-02-2016, 06:16 PM
I wonder what the dot pitch on the screen is? Got any screen shots?

Username1
01-02-2016, 08:34 PM
You better replace every last capacitor or it'll burn your house down.......

Very nice set ! If Doug goes to every estate sale ~ He will eventually own one of
every tv almost forgotten by time..... Especially these odd-balls.... Good Find !

.

Electronic M
01-02-2016, 09:45 PM
I was looking through an Electronic Technician schematic book, that had the original factory prints. That was the book, they would include with a subscription to the magazine, probably long defunct.
There was a schematic, covered under Admiral that was almost identical to the Porta-Color circuitry, except the screen size. The artwork was typically Admiral, so it was possibly a clone design.
Interesting.
IIRC Kamakiri found an admiral portacolor 2-4 years back.

bgadow
01-02-2016, 10:27 PM
I had a couple of these, one I think was a little newer with a 13v tube, if I'm remembering right. I passed them on to another VK'er. Neither were in as nice a shape as this, though. Very clean, like most of Doug's finds! What I found of these, and the 12" Sears I had, was that I could never get the color to where I was happy with it. I'm not sure if it was me or the design of those sets, though.

BigDavesTV
01-02-2016, 10:43 PM
Congratulations, Doug, on a great find! I hope to someday find one of those Admiral or MW sets. I recall working on a couple of them, way back, at the TV shop I worked in!

Sandy G
01-02-2016, 11:30 PM
Cyoot l'il fella-Me LIKEY !

consoleguy67
01-03-2016, 06:07 AM
Doug,
The next time you're in your Time Machine, could you bring me back a nice Zenith or Magnavox roundie? You seem the be the best at finding the best examples of these vintage sets.

Thanks,
Frank

dieseljeep
01-03-2016, 12:43 PM
I had a couple of these, one I think was a little newer with a 13v tube, if I'm remembering right. I passed them on to another VK'er. Neither were in as nice a shape as this, though. Very clean, like most of Doug's finds! What I found of these, and the 12" Sears I had, was that I could never get the color to where I was happy with it. I'm not sure if it was me or the design of those sets, though.

I worked on one of the first models of the Admiral 12" set, USA built, CA 1968/69. Like all the earlier small screen, low focus voltage CRT's, when new had a fair-to-great picture. Most didn't age gracefully. Focus suffered as they aged. Admiral used their own CRT's, which weren't that great to begin with.

Carmine
01-08-2016, 09:31 PM
That's a nice tv, but you should know that it will not receive a digital transmission, so it is essentially useless. I am surprised so many don't realize this by now. That is probably why it was marked "free" and they were skeptical of your motives. They may has thought you would simply smash it on the sidewalk, leaving a mess to clean and an environmental disaster.

You should also consider replacing the capacitors.

Electronic M
01-08-2016, 10:37 PM
I was thumbing through a 1970 Bietman's most often needed color manual and found a MW Airline set that used a 6BQ5 for the HV regulator...I doubt it was admiral made like this, but it sure was odd.

That's a nice tv, but you should know that it will not receive a digital transmission, so it is essentially useless. I am surprised so many don't realize this by now. That is probably why it was marked "free" and they were skeptical of your motives. They may has thought you would simply smash it on the sidewalk, leaving a mess to clean and an environmental disaster.

You should also consider replacing the capacitors.

Sanjarali lives! :D

drh4683
01-09-2016, 08:24 AM
That's a nice tv, but you should know that it will not receive a digital transmission, so it is essentially useless. I am surprised so many don't realize this by now. That is probably why it was marked "free" and they were skeptical of your motives. They may has thought you would simply smash it on the sidewalk, leaving a mess to clean and an environmental disaster.

You should also consider replacing the capacitors.


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BigDavesTV
01-10-2016, 10:19 AM
Hahaha! Excellent photos above (TV Collector's reaction), and so very true, of the way it is! :-)

Electronic M
01-10-2016, 02:37 PM
:lmao:




I wonder where you managed to get a picture of a scrapper going after a 60's console?

ChrisW6ATV
01-10-2016, 04:04 PM
That's a nice tv, but you should know that it will not receive a digital transmission, so it is essentially useless.
That makes our whole hobby, and even this Web site, "useless", I guess! :)

maxm
01-10-2016, 06:19 PM
I saw this a few years ago in Chicago, looks to be a Zenith Chromacolor II or System 3.

Captainclock
01-12-2016, 09:29 PM
I saw this a few years ago in Chicago, looks to be a Zenith Chromacolor II or System 3.

Well with that TV sitting upside down like that it certainly would of ruined the color mask because of it being a color TV you technically aren't supposed to tip them upside down or on their face or on its side because it can ruin the color mask and mess up the picture, I know because I've seen and heard of it happening.

bgadow
01-12-2016, 11:00 PM
Sitting that way doesn't usually hurt them, and CRT's are typically shipped face down. It's a real hard bump that can tear up a mask.

Electronic M
01-13-2016, 03:18 AM
Well with that TV sitting upside down like that it certainly would of ruined the color mask because of it being a color TV you technically aren't supposed to tip them upside down or on their face or on its side because it can ruin the color mask and mess up the picture, I know because I've seen and heard of it happening.

Only happens with trinitrons and crappy modern sets, or in cases of extreme mechanical shock with older CRTs.

ZackN920
01-14-2016, 01:41 AM
:jawdrop: Very nice set DRH! Where do ya find these nice, sets. The one's you pick up, look as if they've been in time capsules' or in museums!

:lmao: maxm-that pic is just awesome. Not something that is expected to be seen. I wonder how much all of that is worth to the hobo that currently owns the cart:scratch2:

Jon A.
01-14-2016, 10:00 AM
:lmao:




I wonder where you managed to get a picture of a scrapper going after a 60's console?
Yeah, and how often do you see such a picture-perfect scrapper couple? :D

Marco-nix
01-14-2016, 12:27 PM
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You're so right man !.:drool:

TechneMoira
01-18-2016, 03:51 PM
Hey drh4683!

I like the videos you publish on youtube. Aside from the entertainment I get out of them, they also provide for quite a bit of background knowledge. When will you publish new ones? (Restoring this set e.g.)

Thanks for sharing your experiences :)
TechneMoira