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My Collection


1937 HMV Model 97b

HMV Model 97b 1937

This was the first gramophone that I owned. The model 97 was designed as a cheaper alternative to the ever popular model 102 costing £2 - £3 in the mid 1930’s - this is compared to the £5 - £6 price-tag of the 102 (approximately £395.00 and £795.00 in today’s money).


It has a 10” turntable, correct HMV Nº.21 sound box, both automatic and manual brakes, a pivoted front corner needle bin and is complete with its original record carrying tray. It is finished in a black Rexine® leather-cloth covered case with a leather handle and is in perfect working order.


c.1924/25 HMV Model 100

HMV Model 100 c.1924/25

This was HMV’s first ‘modern’ suitcase portable (following on from the model PAAO) and was listed in their catalogue for barely a year from 1924 - 1925. Consequently good examples like this are becoming increasingly rare.

It retains the goose-neck tone arm and ‘Exhibition’ sound box from earlier designs although, in this case, the tone arm was cleverly re-designed to be raised into playing position on a spiral mount or dropped back down for storage. Sound reproduction is of the 'reflex' type where, rather than using an internal horn, it has a reflector similar to the early Decca machines where the sound leaves the bottom of the tone arm and bounces off a dished, aluminium reflector which projects it out. It has a single spring front-wind motor, 10” turntable, ‘Exhibition’ sound box and a manual brake. There are also two metal needle bins mounted inside the right hand side of the lid which have sprung tops. It is finished in black Rexine® with a leather handle, has nickel plated fittings and has recently been cleaned and refurbished and is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition.

HMV101 Frontwind


HMV Model 101 Frontwind c.1926/27

This is the earliest version of the model 101 and carries over many features from the 100 including the front-wind motor. Externally the two models are almost identical in design, shape and fittings but inside there was now a proper internal horn and a ball bearing tone arm fitted with a brass-backed Nº.4 sound box. There’s also space for record storage in the lid but other details such as the 10” turntable and manual brake are shared with its predecessor. The needle bins, although the same design, have moved from right to left to allow for the repositioned tone arm.


It is finished in black Rexine® with a leather handle, has nickel plated fittings and has recently been cleaned and refurbished and is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition.

HMV101 Sidewind


HMV Model 101 - Green c.1930/31


This is an example of one of the last variants of the 101 and also one of the deluxe colour models. These are much rarer as the original purchase price was £7.50 compared with £7.00 for a black model. This may only be 50p difference but, when you consider weekly wages of £2 - £3, it was only the wealthy that would pay extra for a coloured model. As a result coloured HMV Portables are sought after by collectors.


The winding handle was moved from the front to the side in late 1926 or early 1927 but otherwise the horn, turntable, tone arm and sound box remain the same. It has a pivoted front corner needle bin, automatic brake and is fitted with the later Nº.59 single spring motor and a brass-backed Nº.4 sound box.


It is finished in green Rexine® with a leather handle and has nickel plated fittings. It has recently had a complete strip-down and overhaul and I suspect that the green case has been re-coloured in the past. Consequently this example is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition.



HMV Model 102 - Blue c.1934/35

This was HMV’s most successful and longest-lived portable having been introduced in August 1931 and available right up to 1960. It is considered by many to be one of the best and was actually marketed as  “THE WORLD’S FINEST PORTABLE” by HMV.


It has a longer internal horn and the Nº.5A sound box (with aluminium diaphragm), together with the wider swan-neck tone arm, made it much better at coping with the higher volume of later recordings.


It includes single handed lid operation, automatic start/stop plus a manual brake, 10" turntable, pivoted needle bowl and a spring clip for "Tungstyle" needle tins. This is another of the deluxe models, this time in blue with matching record carrying tray and, again, I suspect re-coloured by a previous owner. Another machine which is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition. I’ve recently renewed the felt on both the turntable and record tray.



HMV Model 157 - Oak c.1930

The model 157 embodied the near pinnacle of acoustic gramophone design and was available between the autumn of 1927 and circa 1932. It has a large, exponential internal horn and the result is that the sound has to travel quite a distance inside the gramophone to the front of the horn, hence the improvement in sound quality. The new cost of this oak-cased model in 1927 was £22-0-0 which would equate to more than £3,000 at 21st Century prices. It has the Nº.5A sound box fitted onto a swan-neck tone arm and includes a single handed lid stay, automatic start/stop, a 12" turntable and the powerful Nº.32 double spring motor. There is also an automatic pointer which moves to show the record playing speed.

I purchased this example because the casework, grille cloth and metal plating were in particularly good condition, underneath the dust and dirt. The only exception was the top of the lid which had a number of plant pot / ring marks on it. The lid has been professionally re-finished to match (French polished) and I've also cleaned and polished the rest of the casework and nickel plated bright-work.


Mechanically the biggest problem was the springs which suffered from the usual problem of old, hardened, graphite grease and had also become quite weak over time. I stripped the whole motor down and cleaned everything. Both springs were replaced with new ones and the unit was re-greased and re-assembled before being fully lubricated and adjusted. Neither the auto-brake or speed regulator was operating when acquired so both of these needed to be sorted out too. It is now fully working and in wonderful, sympathetically restored, condition.



Columbia Grafonola ‘Savoy’ c.1915 

This is basically a large, table-grand, internal horn machine but it’s a bit of an enigma as I can’t find any details relating to a model by this name, but there is a plate inside the lid which reads ‘Columbia Savoy Grafonola’.


To look at it’s identical to the pictures I’ve seen of the Columbia ‘Favourite’ in respect of the case style, fittings, tone arm etc. It has a very large triple spring motor which takes around 75 cranks to fully wind and will play 4-5 sides of a record, 3 ‘spare’ and 1 ‘used’ needle pots, 12” turntable and also has a flat motor board the same as the early Grafonolas. It uses a manual stop/start and has a speed indicator but most interesting and, I believe, unique to Columbia are the adjustable louvers on the front of the horn which control the volume in the same way as the swell shutters on a pipe organ. The sound box is marked Columbia and in smaller text underneath says “Made in England - Columbia Graphophone Co. - Regal Sound Box” so all indications are that this is an early British built machine.


I followed my usual routine of cleaning, lubricating, wood reviving and metal polishing to get the gramophone looking smart and playing well. There’s only one fault; the tone arm has broken at the elbow joint (which seems quite common on these early models) and someone has fitted it with a threaded rod to hold it together. It actually works fine but doesn’t look very pretty and obviously isn’t original so I’ll be keeping an eye on eBay for a suitable replacement tone arm - watch this space! Update 15/10/13: Damaged tone arm replaced. 



Zonophone Model 1 c.1919/20


Zonophone was another contemporary brand which was eventually swallowed up by HMV/Victor. Sometimes known as ‘Hornless’ gramophones, these were actually some of the first internal horn machines and this is a model 1 which was shown in their 1919/1920 model year catalogue. It has a manual brake, 10” turntable and a single spring motor (predictably the model 2 had a 12” turntable and a double spring motor!)


I found this machine ridiculously cheaply on eBay but it was in awful condition. It had a later Decca soundbox on it and the wrong winding handle. The handle arm was so long, in fact, that you had to lift the unit up to wind it otherwise the handle would hit the table. It was old and dirty and needed a full restoration; the motor was completely stripped down and cleaned, re-assembled, adjusted and lubricated. The casework was cleaned very gently and then polished by hand and the metalwork was revived. The paint on the back bracket was flaking off badly leaving nasty patches of rust so it was stripped back to the metal, primed and repainted.


Incredibly, within a few weeks of acquiring it, I had managed to find the correct style of Zonophone ‘Exhibition’ sound box and a matching winding handle - again on eBay. Possibly the most basic machine in my collection and yet, the one I’m most proud of. 



Thorens Graphonette c.1925


This portable picnic gramophone dates from around 1925 and was manufactured by the well known Swiss maker Thorens. When packed away everything stores inside the wooden case, fitting around the motor housing with the 5” turntable stored face down.


When assembled for playing the bottom of the tone arm fits into a socket on the small wooden horn and the brown, felt covered turntable is a push fit onto the spindle. It has a very small single spring motor, combined start/stop and speed control, nickel plated fittings and a ‘Sonata’ sound box.


The outer case is oak with a leather carrying strap and it has had nothing more than a quick wipe over with the wood polish reviver. 



Gramophone Co ‘New Victor’



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, in common with many collectors, I’ve always known it as the 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 believed 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 St, Sheffield, England produced a well regarded range of gramophones between 1922 and 1931 using many 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 elements 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

The 102 was HMV’s most successful and longest-lived portable having been introduced in August 1931 and available right up to 1960. It is considered by many to be one of the best and was actually marketed as “THE WORLD’S FINEST PORTABLE” by HMV.


It has a longer internal horn and the No.5a soundbox with aluminium diaphragm. This, together with the wider swan-neck tone arm, made it much better at coping with the higher volume of later recordings.


It includes single handed lid operation, automatic start/stop plus a manual brake, 10" turntable, pivoted needle bowl and a spring clip for "Tungstyle" needle tins.


This is a standard black example with a wooden motor board and fitted with a later Nº.5B soundbox. The internal chrome plating on this machine is exceptional and the gramophone is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition.



Mikiphone 1926

The Mikiphone Pocket Phonograph 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 1905-1907

The G&T 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 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. First 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' Phonograph c.1903

The Edison Gem Model 'A' was introduced to compete with low-priced cylinder phonographs 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 replacement 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 still not perfect, it's much better than it was when acquired.



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 110


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 in some way 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 also separate screw controls for speed and start/stop.


It has been lightly cleaned and lubricated and is in generally good condition throughout.



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 c.1935


This Excelda portable, often called a 

‘Cameraphone’ was manufactured by Hermann 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 external casework only showing slight wear commensurate with the age.



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) 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 nickname ‘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 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.



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.



Columbia 100 Gramophone


The Columbia Model 100 is a diminutive little portable measuring approximately 8¾” x 12½” x 5½” (22cm x 32cm x 14cm) and known affectionately to many collectors as the 'Biscuit Tin" due to its one-piece metal case. The casework is covered externally in a black, Rexine® type material and the inside is finished in the distinctive ‘crackle’ paint finish that these machines always seem to have. Very few details are available about this model but, date-wise, it is presumed to be an early post-merger machine (HMV and Columbia merged in 1931 to form EMI) so c.1930-1932 - but this is a guess at best.

It has a Columbia ‘Plano-Reflex’ tone-arm which had been introduced around 1929, 8” turntable and is powered by an un-branded Garrard Nº20 motor with a folding front winding handle. The soundbox supplied with this example is identified only by its patent number 264263, but looks like a Columbia Nº15A with a painted pot-metal body/back instead of the more usual red rubber insulator. It is fitted with an autobrake which is not dissimilar to the No. 6 used on many other 1930’s models including my HMV97B.

The casework has been cleaned and renovated, all the metalwork polished and the motor lubricated and adjusted. Unfortunately the original soundbox is beyond repair having succumbed to stress fractures in the pot-metal body and a replacement will need to be sourced. It is currently playing with either the Nº21 off my HMV97B or, with a tone-arm adaptor, most standard soundboxes.



HMV Model 102 - Green c.1934/35

This is another of my model 102’s which was HMV’s most successful and longest-lived portable having been introduced in August 1931 and available right up to 1959/60. It is considered by many to be one of the best and was actually marketed as “THE WORLD’S FINEST PORTABLE” by HMV.


Compared with the 101 it has a longer internal horn and this, together with the N°5A sound box (with aluminium diaphragm) and wider swan-neck tone arm, made it much better at coping with the higher volume of later recordings. It includes single handed lid operation, automatic start/stop plus a manual brake, 10" turntable, pivoted needle bowl and a spring clip to hold "Tungstyle" needle tins. 


This is another of the deluxe models, this time in green Rexine© but currently missing the matching record tray. In 1931 the deluxe 102’s cost 7/6d (about £17.00 today) more than a standard black version and for this reason they were produced in much lower quantities making them rarer and more desirable today.


This is another machine which is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition having recently been cleaned and fully serviced. It is currently fitted with the later model N°5B sound-box which was possibly an upgrade by a previous owner. 



Pathé Portable c.1935

After a hiatus of several months I’ve finally managed to get around to completing the repairs on one of my recent acquisitions. This Pathé portable probably dates from the mid 1930’s although I’ve seen virtually identical gramophones described on-line as 1926 but I have to dispute that date. Everything about this machine screams 1930’s; the pressed, all-metal construction (similar to a Columbia 100), the style of auto-brake, tone-arm, turntable and even the speed regulator all appear to be of a later design. It also came with what I presume is the original D.130 aluminium diaphragm sound-box. 


It's covered in a faux snake skin paper/fabric which is worn in places but in perfectly usable condition with its original carrying handle. It has a 10” turntable, motor-board mounted winding handle, tapered tone-arm and is fitted with both manual and auto brakes. The Pathé Nº D.130 soundbox is in very poor condition having suffered severe fractures in the pot-metal casting and I’m currently using a spare HMV which gives surprisingly good results. 


This gramophone has been cleaned inside and out, metalwork polished, auto-brake adjusted and the motor greased and oiled. The main issue was with the governor as the weights were constructed from lead castings wrapped around the spindle and had disintegrated over time. I’ve had to construct a new governor using parts from the original Pathé plus a spare HMV, weights from a Columbia and a new set of springs. All is now working well. 



HMV Model 94 c.1941

The model 94 is one of the less common machines produced by HMV during the 1930's/40's. Essentially, it's a double-spring version of the model 97 with a very similar case design, albeit slightly deeper to accommodate the larger nº?? motor. This particular machine is also unusual by being finished in a rare brown/ tan Rexine® type leathercloth and also includes a matching record carrying tray.

It has a 10” turntable with both automatic and manual brakes,

and a narrow bore swan-neck style tonearm. Like my model 97B, the pivoted needle bin is in its usual position on the front corner. This example is missing its correct HMV Nº.21 sound box and is currently using a spare Columbia Nº15 which I happened to have available and is basically the same sound box with different branding.

The unit has been cleaned internally and externally, and all of the metal fittings have been polished where appropriate. The motor has been cleaned, serviced and lubricated, and all mechanical elements have been adjusted.



HMV Model 145 - Oak c,1929-1933

The Model 145 'Bijou Grand' was introduced in July 1929 and is unmistakably a Model 130 on legs with record storage below. Available in either oak or mahogany, the 145 proved to be a hit with customers as total sales of both finishes had reached nearly 16,000 units by early 1931. Priced originally  at a fairly hefty

£15-0-0 in oak and £17-0-0 in mahogany, prices were slightly reduced in late 1930 and then slashed (£7-15-0 and £8-15-0) for clearance in 1933. The 145 had disappeared from the catalogue before January 1934. 

The square-lidded case measures 46 x 43 x 88cm (18" x 17" x 34½") approximately and stands on four slender legs with the folded, zinc horn exiting through the front.  Internally it has the sturdy Nº32 double-spring motor with quadrant speed control, 12” turntable and self-releasing automatic brake. The large-bore tone-arm is mounted on the right and is equipped with a Nº5A sound-box.


This example was given to me by someone who I had know for many years but didn't know of my passion for gramophones until he casually mentioned that he was clearing his mothers house. Unfortunately, like other examples of this model I've come across, it's had the original legs sawn off to reduce the height. 

The motor has been fully cleaned, serviced and lubricated, and all mechanical elements have been properly adjusted. It has been cleaned internally and externally, all metal fittings have been polished where appropriate, and a replace-ment Nº5A sound-box has been sourced. The biggest job was recreating the base and legs which I've achieved by fitting a plinth and a set of second-hand sofa legs which I found for sale on Ebay. 

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