This is one outrageously huge and unusual radio made by Wells-Gardner for Montgomery Ward around 1938. This radio is virtually a console for a table. I've had a Michigan-based collector of Wells-Gardner tell me he has never seen this one. I have not been able to find this set in any type of advertisement of the era. If you have, please contact me as I would be very interested in seeing what Wards had to say about this tabletop.
Here is what I do know about this wonderful movie-dial radio. The Movie Dial was touted as the, "most sensational improvement of all time." It was given this name because, "its operation of projecting call-letters (from a film to a lighted screen) is exactly the same as a movie projector's." What actually happens is a small drum shaped film that has the station call-letters and frequencies on it, gets projected to the back surface of a frosted glass dial screen and gives you the effect of a movie screen. The special bright light bulb has an adjustable focus feature (accessible on the chassis) that helps fine-tune the image on the screen. There is also an original replacement lamp (still in place) located in a factory-provided clip on the left rear vertical rail of the cabinet. These guys seemed to have thought of it all! This type of dial helped eliminate station overlap by providing 2 1/2" of dial for a 10 K.C. spread!
Electrically, the genuine high fidelity "Series A2" 11-tube chassis has been fully restored and correctly aligned so it plays extremely well across all three bands. It does require an external antenna although strong local AM stations are received fairly clearly and loudly without additional antenna wire. The chassis still has its original "wrinkle" finish in a dark chocolate brown. This set has adjustable selectivity which helps clean up static or fuzzy reception, especially on the shortwave bands. Also featured, is the cathode ray tuning eye tube, which has been replaced with an N.O.S. one for brilliance and long life. This feature aids in fine tuning by providing a visual aid and, on this particular dial escutcheon design, adds to the overall extreme deco styling. There are seven pushbuttons that have adjustable tuned slugs for preset stations. You will have to adjust these for stations in your locale. As for the output of this true high-fidelity radio, you almost won't believe your ears. There are two 6F6G ST glass-type tubes in push-pull configuration and sets the wonderful tone and extreme volume for the original full 9 1/2" elecrodynamic speaker!!! Like I say, this set is a console model for the table!
The cabinet has been correctly refinished in a laquer and has the correct toners applied where necessary. The beautiful walnut veneer is tight and solid on all surfaces. The cabinet is an unusual blend of shouldered waterfall and wraparound grille bar design.
There are some very nice original features to this example. All the knobs are the original wooden type and in excellent condition. The grille cloth is the original and is in near mint condition. The escutcheon is original and has one of the strongest deco designs that Wells Gardner used on their Movie Dial sets. There are two visible tone and volume levels on each side of the dial screen that resemble two thermometers.
This radio could possibly be called the "Walton" set of the Movie Dials. It has all the right features and is in absolute pristine condition. It's very possibly the largest tabletop Movie Dial known to exist!
Dimensions: 25 1/2" wide X 14 1/2" tall X 12" deep (including knobs)