COLUMBIA SAVOY GRAFONOLA
Columbia Grafonola ‘Savoy’ - Oak c.1915
ZONOPHONE MODEL 1
G&T NEW VICTOR (BABY MONARCH)
Gramophone Co ‘New Victor’ c.1905-1907
This was the first outside horn machine that I had in my collection and it's also one of the oldest being introduced as the ’New Victor’ from October 1905 although I’ve always referred to it as a Baby Monarch.
It’s a very small model in an oak case measuring 11¼ in. square x 5¼ in. high with ‘torus-and-cove’ mouldings on the plinth and a ‘Witch’s Hat’ horn (although a 'Morning Glory' style was apparently also an option). In common with many similar machines the original, bevelled, 8” turntable has been replaced with a cast iron 10” and this necessitated the removal of the original pivot brake and its replacement with a sprung ‘outside type’ brake. It has a single spring motor mounted on a hinged motor board and an ‘Exhibition’ sound box although the fact that this one is marked ‘Made in England’ dates it as post-1918 (since replaced). The horn and elbow are modern replacements but everything else (not withstanding those parts mentioned above) is reported to be original, down to the gold paint embellishments on the back-bracket and the wonderful red ‘The Gramophone’ decal. This, together with the use of ‘The Gramophone & Typewriter’ banner and 21 City Road address, firmly date this machine to between Oct 1905 and Nov 1907.
I haven’t touched a thing on this machine since I got it - I haven’t even polished the oak case!
Decca Model 120 c.1930
The Decca 120 was the 4th in a range of 5 new portables introduced by 'The Decca Gramophone Co. Ltd' in November 1929, priced at £4-10-0 (in a 1930 advert) and intended to compete with the HMV-101. It's style fits between the ‘trench’ type portables of the teens / 20’s and the later ‘Art Deco’ styles. Decca gramophones usually left the factory with a dated dispatch note stuck inside but this doesn’t appear to have one.
It’s a front wind machine and the case is slightly bigger than an HMV 101 or 102 with a flush-mounted motor board, no doubt maximising internal space to accommodate the large patented "Dual Audioscopic" bifurcated horn. It also has a swan-neck tone arm, 10” turntable, auto stop and a manual brake. The only drawback with using this type of horn is that it only leaves enough room inside for a single spring, Nº.14 Garrard motor instead of the double spring motors used in some other units. It is finished in black leather-cloth and has been fitted with a Meltrope III soundbox, considered by many to be one of the best soundboxes ever made.
It was already in fairly good condition when acquired so it only needed a general clean-over although, mechanically, it was suffering from a lot of governor chatter which has been adjusted out. It is now in excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition.
Although this machine would not normally be regarded as being as good as some of the HMV portables, the combination of the Meltrope III soundbox and Audioscopic horn really give this Decca 120 an impressive sound!
Gilbert Geisha Portable c.1925
C. H. Gilbert & Co Ltd. of Arundel Street, Sheffield, England manufactured a well regarded range of gramophones between 1922 and 1931 using proprietary parts such as Garrard turntables and motors and this included their more basic ‘Geisha’ models.
In terms of portable gramophones this is a big machine measuring 14” x 16¾” x 10” (35 x 40 x 25cm) and is fairly unique in being one of the few portables that you can play with the lid closed, the internal horn exiting through a hinged opening in the front of the case, and in having a 12” turntable. It dates from the mid 1920’s as it has the post-1924 style of outside brake but pre-dates the arrival of the well known ‘tone reflector’ soundbox and ‘bugle’ tone-arm in 1926/27.
As already mentioned it has a 12” turntable, ball bearing mounted swan neck tone-arm, Garrard Nº.14 single spring side wind motor, automatic start/stop and is fitted with its original ‘Geisha’ branded soundbox.
The motor has been serviced, the sound box rebuilt, the black Rexine® casework has been cleaned and the nickel plated internal fittings have been polished.
Selecta Portable c.1926/27
This Selecta is one of the many “off-brand” machines that were available during the 1920’s & 30’s. This was a term for gramophones that were assembled using bought-in parts. Motors and turntables were usually supplied by Garrard with speed controls, brakes and tonearms coming from Thorens. This portable is in a black Rexine® covered case and has a front-wind Garrard double spring motor and a 10” turntable together with a proper internal horn. Judging by the design I would estimate the date to be in the mid-to-late 1920’s. There is no attempt at an auto-stop mechanism, just a simple manual brake, and it has a much earlier style of speed control and tonearm. It is fitted with a Maxitone Junior soundbox which I have rebuilt with a new aluminium diaphragm. This gramophone has just been subject to a complete restoration and rebuild and is in excellent condition throughout. You will find a photo slide show of the restoration work here.
HMV Model 102C - 1935
MIKIPHONE POCKET PHONOGRAPH
The Mikiphone was one of a breed of very small portable gramophones which were popular throughout the 1920’s and is an absolute marvel of engineering. Produced by Paillard in St. Croix, Switzerland, it’s estimated that more than 150,000 were made between 1924-1927. Looking like a slightly oversized pocket watch, the case measures 4½” diameter and just less than 2” thick. Inside you will find a tiny single-spring motor, 4” turntable, clip-together resonator and soundbox/tone-arm which all fits together to make a machine capable of playing standard 10” 78’s. Not surprisingly the Mikiphone is highly sought after by collectors.
This example, dating from 1926, has recently been cleaned and serviced. The turntable felt has been renewed and the soundbox has been rebuilt with new rubber gaskets and diaphragm. It is missing the rectangular needle tin but is otherwise complete and original.
I love the fact that it has some good, honest dents on the case to prove that somebody actually used it as it was intended!
G&T MONARCH SENIOR
G&T Monarch Senior 1905-1907
The Monarch Senior was introduced in May 1905 and has become one of the better known G&T machines with over 8700 sold on the home market alone. One even went to the Antarctic with Captain Scott in 1911!
The panelled oak case is lavishly decorated with egg-and-dart mouldings, a ‘carved’ plinth and corner columns. It is fitted with a powerful triple-spring motor, 12” turntable, cannon brake and indicator speed control. Originally supplied with brass ‘Witch’s Hat’ and later ‘Morning Glory’ horns, many machines were, like this example, upgraded with wooden horns.
It has the correct Made In U.S.A ‘Exhibition’ soundbox and the presence of the ‘Gramophone & Typewriter Ltd, 21 City Road’ label firmly dates it to pre-Nov 1907. There is (correctly) no ‘Nipper’ logo on the gramophone itself although, the use of the round ‘Trade Mark’ Nipper logo on the horn date this addition to 1911 onwards.
VICTOR MODEL R
Victor Model R 1902-1903
The Victor Model R (often called the "Royal" in advertising literature) was intended to be an introductory model for buyers on a smaller budget. Available from 1902, it is a front-mount machine which features a single spring motor and a small 7” turntable in an oak case with an oak, on edge, self-supporting travelling arm. It has a pivot brake, simple screw speed control and an ‘Exhibition Junior’ soundbox.
Production ran for 2 years until the "R" became the Victor Z in 1903.
This example has recently been cleaned and serviced and is in excellent original condition.
Columbia 9000 1948
Looking, to many people, like a late model red HMV102 this is actually an example of the much rarer Columbia 9000. When HMV and Columbia merged in 1931 to create EMI many of their subsequent designs were shared. Firstly the Columbia 206 and then, from 1946, the model 9000 were both based heavily on the model 102.
The 9000 is essentially the same as the HMV machine with the addition of some typical Columbia details. Like the later HMV’s it has a flush mounted motor board and shares the same internal horn and Nº.270D motor. It also shares the same swan-neck tone-arm and has a Nº.5B pattern sound box but in this case it’s not marked or branded. However, in common with previous Columbia models, it has a velvet-covered, 10” Garrard turntable, the ingenious dual compartment needle pot and even retains the chrome sound deflectors either side of the horn which help to direct sound out of the case. The needle holder is actually a pot inside a pot, the first having a hole on the rim where you insert dead needles which fall into the second cup which is hidden underneath. It was apparently slightly more expensive to produce than the 102 due to having to chrome plate the edge of the Garrard turntable, an option not offered by the factory.
Already in good general condition when purchased, the machine has been cleaned inside and out and the mechanics have been serviced and adjusted. The chrome-work has been cleaned and a replacement handle has been fitted in place of the worn original.
EDISON 'GEM' CYLINDER PHONOGRAPH
Edison 'Gem' Phonograph c.1903
The Edison Gem Model 'A' was introduced to compete with low-priced cylinder phongraphs from other manufacturers and sold new for £2.-15s.-0d. This style, introduced in 1903, is the third in the the series and was still officially called the Model A but is known to modern-day collectors as the 'key wind'.
This is my first cylinder phonograph and was bought as a project. It was in pretty rough condition when I got it. It has a decent, fairly modern reproduction horn but the motor had to be stripped, cleaned, oiled, greased and re-assembled before it would run properly, The reproducer carriage was twisted so I had to source a replacment from the USA. The Model C reproducer also had a broken stylus bar and the main pulley-wheel was cracked so both were replaced. The case was lightly cleaned and some of the plated parts polished. The wooden outer case had de-laminated so was glued and clamped and the wood finish revived.
It is now in fully working condition and cosmetically, although not perfect, it's much better than it was when acquired.
COLUMBIA 113a VIVA-TONAL GRAFONOLA
Columbia 113a c.1928
Following on from its success with the model 160 in America, Columbia decided to launch a British built version of the same machine in 1927 but it was re-numbered for the UK market as the model 113. The following year the updated model 113a was announced with an automatic brake, gilded fittings and finished in a striking blue/grey crocodile effect case as befits a luxury machine such as this.
It has a 10½” Garrard turntable, Garrard 11A double-spring motor and is equipped with a Columbia N°.15A soundbox. The earliest versions had a hooded tone-arm support with an external pivot whereas this later example has a pot-metal bracket which runs on internal bearings. By far the most striking visual feature is the polished mahogany record storage compartment which is divided to accommodate both 10” and 12” records. This, together with the double-spring motor and generally large size, helps to make this one of the heaviest ‘portable’ gramophones I’ve ever known, weighing in at a back-aching 32lbs (14.5kg)
This example has had my usual treatment of cleaning inside and out, the motor and auto-brake have been serviced and adjusted and the soundbox has been rebuilt with new gaskets. There is some wear to the plated parts, especially the external fittings, and some minor marks on the case covering but overall it is in great mechanical and cosmetic condition - and 113a’s are becoming hard to find in any condition!
Colibri Cameraphone c.1926
This is an example of the increasingly rare ‘Colibri’ gramophone, which comes from a group nicknamed “ultraportables” or "Cameraphones" (when closed they resemble a small box camera). This model was of Belgian design, the metal case being marked ‘Made in Belgium’ although most of the mechanical components are Swiss. It was produced c.1926-1931. The closed case measures a mere 90 x 90 x 130mm and it will play full sized 78’s on the tiny 30mm turntable with the aid of a hold-down clamp. The clamp on this machine has a left-handed thread which appears to date this example to the first year of production, also corroborated by the early mica diaphragm soundbox.
It has an ingenious design in which all the components fit inside the lid for transport and there is a small spring-loaded door on the side that opens inside of the case, held in place by a clip. This is the sound outlet from the case itself which serves as the machine’s horn.
This example is in good original condition with the outside of the case being better than usual for its age. The single spring motor has been checked and lubricated and the soundbox has been rebuilt with new gaskets. It plays very well with no unevenness of pitch and will easily play through a 10” record on a single wind.
HMV Model 110 c.1924/25
The HMV Model 110 was available between July 1922 and October 1925 and can be classed as an intermediate model following on from late hornless machines like the Model 56 & 57 but before the introduction of the new ‘Swan Neck’ Models 103 & 109 in 1925.
Like its immediate predecessor (Model 6/6a) it had a reduced overall size due to it using a 10” turntable and has a cast iron floating internal horn with wood louvers at the mouth which are concealed behind doors controlling the volume. The tone-arm is of the tapered gooseneck type running on ball bearings with an adjustable exterior top pivot and it is fitted with the correct N°.2 soundbox. It has an early version of the N°.32 motor, with an open-spoked great wheel, and is fitted with a speed indicator.
The inclusion of the ‘Air’ lid-stay dates this fine dark oak example to 1924/25 and it proudly display’s the scroll-frame ‘His Master’s Voice’ logo on the inside of the lid. All of the internal fittings have been cleaned and polished although the turntable felt is original and the motor has been cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The outside of the case has been professionally French Polished. Slightly rarer is the matching record cabinet on which the machine sits which has also been externally polished to match.
Sternogem Portable c.1926-1930
Here's another addition to my collection of slightly off-beat portables. This ‘Sternogem’ portable gramophone is presumed to be another off-brand machine from the mid-to-late 1920’s (assembled by buying in propriety parts) and I’m making the assumption that it was linked to the Sterno record brand (1926-1935) but I’ve not found any evidence to confirm this.
It is in a brown crocodile effect case measuring approx. 24.5 x 17 x 14cm and the lid opens to 90° to reveal the tone-arm which feeds into a short horn and a metal-lined reflector. It has a single spring Swiss motor and, instead of a turntable, features a folding record support of the type found on the Peter Pan gramophones. There are separate screw controls for speed and start/stop. It has been lightly cleaned and lubricated and is in generally good condition throughout.
SALON DECCA 10
Decca Model 10 1938
The Decca Model 10 was part of a range of models introduced in the mid-to-late 30s and continuing (I believe) right up to the 1950s.
It has an Art-Deco style case with rounded ends, space for record storage in the lid, and is mechanically very similar to many machines of the period. It is fitted with a front-wind, single spring Garrard N°.20 motor & 9½" turntable and has both manual & automatic brakes. The tone-arm is of the swan neck type and it is fitted with an unbranded, aluminium diaphragm soundbox which has been rebuilt with new gaskets.
This fine example is in a maroon ostrich pattern finish and has recently been cleaned and serviced. It has also had a very minor refurbishment of the casework and is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition.
Thorens Excelda Cameraphone c.1935
The Excelda portable ‘Cameraphone’ was manufactured by Thorens in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland from c.1935 until the end of the 1940’s and a Russian-built copy of this machine was available even later than that. The nickname comes from the fact that, when folded, it resembles a contemporary pocket camera from the same period. The early models such as this were available only in a black crackle finish and had a wooden internal horn and mica diaphragm. After 1942 these machines were also available in green, red, blue, grey and brown with internal horns made of metal and a later style of aluminium diaphragm sound-box.
It has a typically small, single spring motor with a 2½" (64mm) green felt turntable, the record being secured by knurled knob, and the brake and speed control are controlled by a push/pull lever at the back of the unit. Many later examples had an external speed indicator but this one doesn’t. It is still fitted with its original Excelda ‘Concert’ sound box and all of the interior plating is in outstanding condition. The case is fitted with an embossed leather carrying handle and the wording on the case plate varied throughout production - this one reads "Patents Applied For, Swiss Made". The approximate folded dimensions are:- (HxDxW) 2" (51mm) x 11" (279mm) x 4¾" (121mm).
This machine has been cleaned and serviced is in excellent condition throughout with the outside casework only showing wear commensurate with the age.
HMV MODEL 58
HMV Model 58 1922
The HMV Model 58 is a large 'hornless' type gramophone which sat, very briefly, between the old Model 3 and the later ‘Table Grand’ models. It was in production for a mere 16 months between July 1922 and November 1923 (although oak models had finished by November 1922). Fortunately this example still retains its original paper labels on the base which clearly show the model number and the shipping date of 13/7/22.
Although outwardly similar to my Zonophone Model 1, this is a much larger machine with a 12” turntable, Exhibition soundbox, gooseneck tone-arm and quadrant style brake and speed regulator. Internally there is a double spring, worm drive motor and a cast iron horn which opens into twin louvres behind a pair of doors with ornate knobs.
This oak example has just been refurbished with some slight attention to the casework and a light cleaning/polishing of the metalwork. The gooseneck was fitted backwards so this has been corrected and the motor has been cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. It came without a soundbox but I was fortunate in having the correct British made Exhibition box available which had previously been rebuilt.
Overall this gramophone is in excellent cosmetic and mechanical condition.
DECCA JUNIOR MODEL 2A (TRENCH)
Decca Junior Model 2A (Trench) 1926
The ‘Decca Dulcephone’ was one of the very first portables and was patented in 1914 by Barnett Samuel and Sons, musical instrument makers, who eventually renamed the business as The Decca Gramophone Co. Ltd.
This style of machine employs a ‘Bowl-in-lid’ amplification, the "Dulciflex System”, where the sound is reflected forward from the lid. The design became popular with soldiers during the First World War earning the name ‘Trench’ gramophone although this term is often wrongly applied to later, 1920's, reflector portables of similar pattern. There were various designs with the Models 1, 1A and 2 carrying production through into the early 1920’s. The Decca Junior Model 2A is the final version of this design and was introduced in 1923.
This example still has it's original factory dispatch note containing the manufacturing date which is a number in the ddmmyy or ddmyy format, the number in this case being 191126 which indicates 19th November 1926. It is a very compact machine measuring 8" x 10.75" x 9.5" (20 x 27½ x 24cm) with an 8” turntable, manual brake and simple screw speed control. The small, single spring motor is Swiss made as is the Crescendo soundbox - Decca never made their own motors or soundboxes.
It has been cleaned and refurbished, motor lubricated and adjusted, soundbox gaskets replaced and the turntable felt renewed. It is in fine mechanical and cosmetic condition.
PETER PAN GRAMOPHONE
Peter Pan Gramophone c.1925/1926
Here’s another member of that strange group we’ve termed “camerphones” - so named because, when closed, they resemble an old style box camera.
The Peter Pan Gramophone was made in England to a design by Frederick Ferris,
who’s ‘Peter Pan Gramophone Co. Ltd.’ had applied for patents for the original design (with a ‘Telescopic’ horn) on 20th January 1922 (Great Britain) and 2nd January 1923 (U.S.). Manufacture started around August of 1923 and the patent was finally granted on 22nd June 1926, by which time this later version with ‘Bellows’ horn was already in production. Rarer variants include different case shapes, coloured or imitation crocodile finishes and the ultra-rare Peter Pan ‘Clock’ Gramophone.
This c.1925/1926 example has a small, single spring Swiss motor, possibly Thorens, and a Swiss-built sound-box with Mica diaphragm. There are separate screw controls for start/stop and speed, and the turntable is a folding, 4 spoke design. It is housed in a black leatherette covered case roughly 18cm x 16cm x 12cm (closed) with a leather carrying handle.
It has recently been cleaned and fully service and is complete and original other than what is believed to be the wrong winding handle.
HMV101 BLUE CROCODILE
HMV SB101D Gramophone c.1927-1929
This is another example of the side-wind HMV101 which was their most popular portable in terms of the quantity sold in a relatively short period from 1926 - 1931. This blue crocodile effect finish is one of the deluxe models and, as such, was slightly more expensive having an original purchase price of £8-10-0.
As mentioned elsewhere on this website, this machine was assembled from an empty case and mechanical parts from my 2 spare parts machines. The blue crocodile outer case is from a c.1927/28 SB101D, the rear motorboard, tone-arm, horn and fittings are from a c.1928 101(E?) and the front motorboard, turntable, fittings and motor are from a c.1929 Model 101J. Obviously this results in a machine that is not quite period-correct in terms of its fittings; a blue croc 101 should have a black croc motorboard (instead of wood) and the winding handle should be mounted on the motorboard. The SB101D would originally have had the 410 motor whereas this machine is using the Nº.59 motor from the 101J although it also has the earlier, all-brass Nº.4 soundbox.
That said, it all fits together fine and all the parts have been cleaned and refurbished. It could probably do with a new spring as the current one is pretty weak but that’s a job for the future.