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PhonoJack Edison Collection   ☺

This hobby has a variety of collectors that have a variety interests. Many who attend phonograph shows, local club meetings or participate in on-line board discussions are interested in the variety of music and have amassed collections of cylinder or disc records with content from ranging comedy to opera.  While other collectors are more interested in the variety of machines rather than the music they play.  They're interested in the manufacturers, types of machines, the technology, history and why did they do it that way?

There is no typical collector!   I'm particularly interested in the mechanical aspects of these machines. It's fun to hear a machine play after perhaps 75-100 years of silence. Maybe it's that same excitement that Dr. Frankenstein feels when in the 1931 movie he shouts It's alive!  Phono-mechanics feel it, they believe I can make it better, stronger.

A good friend and fellow phono-enthusiast is machinist who can tear down, reassemble, replace tired parts or fabricate new parts and tweak and fine tune better than most.  He is incredibly knowledgeable about Edison phonographs, models, feature sets and special functions. He can rattle off names of tunes from libraries of Blue Amberols, Diamond Discs and 78s.   Just when I thought I knew where to pigeon hole this collector, he abruptly changed subjects in a conversation with another collector to talk about opera.  Like magic, he morphed into an expert on 19th Century Italian opera, comfortable discussing works from Bellini to Verdi.  He's no opera-stiff who hangs out only with those bright souls that know their Handel from their Henze.  There is no typical collector and there is no typical collection! 

I like asking collectors- what's your real job?  Some say, I do this full time, others say, "I'm just a collector" or "I'm a college professor".  What brings collectors together is an insatiable desire for more knowledge, the challenge to get get information that is not readily available to assemble pieces of the puzzle. Maybe it's the sound of the crank that signals you're about to hear something good. You create the power, the energy - rather than relying upon some electric utility to control and power your machines.

There are several stages of the phonograph machine collector addiction.  Stage one, you get bit, you want everything; this is when you should buy the book before the machine.  Stage two, you start to accumulate.  You become an accumulator rather than a collector; some never move beyond this stage.  Stage three, you begin working on the machines, you research, you decide on a purpose, some direction perhaps focusing on Edison, Victor, or Columbia.  At stage four you begin to rotate and trade and upgrade replacing some accumulated machines; you want expensive, rare, early machines, coin-ops, tin foils, treadles, you find many ways to spend money.  Few collectors buy machines for investment purposes, but if you buy and sell smartly, this hobby can be financially rewarding.

Years ago, I picked up George Frow's 1970 Guide to Edison Cylinder Phonographs, the Blue Book at 90p.  I then decided to accumulate one of each Edison spring-wound phonographs, which I later learned was not possible, but fun trying. 

Following the same sequence in George Frow's original book here they are:

Edison Spring-driven Cylinder Phonographs

Spring Motor and Triumph

EDISON SPRING MOTOR phonograph was introduced in 1895, this is Edison's first spring-driven machine.  It's housed in a quality-built sewing-machine type of oak cabinet with enveloping cover and drawer in the front of case. No decal/transfer.  The base is 16" x 10" 14" high, weighing in at 43lbs.   The three-spring Triton motor is capable of playing up to 14 2-minute cylinders, also powerful enough to cut 2-minute wax records.

Edison Spring Motor PhonographCommentary: Recording tube, 14" brass horn or hearing tubes, brass mandrel, has Edison Standard Speaker with combined reproducing and recording styli. Sapphire Knife with spring knob, Start-stop lever, knurled speed adjusting knob, end gate. 

Photo is missing because I sold this machine expecting I would immediately buy an upgraded, better quality Spring Motor machine, but the eBay seller backed out.  I decided to forget his name and begin to enjoy the search for a replacement.

Anybody have this model for sale?  

 

 

EDISON TRIUMPH Model A phonograph was introduced in 1900 replacing the SPRING MOTOR with a new green oak case and new lower price; Triumphs remained in production until 1913. The bedplate is screwed to a hinged wooden frame that allows the upper works and motor to be opened for inspection.  Large transfer on front, EDISON TRIUMPH PHONOGRAPH. Base is 18⅛ x 12 x 14⅜" high, weighing in at 49 lbs.           Serial number 30372

Commentary: Recording tube 14" brass horn, Edison Automatic Reproducer, Edison Recorder, repeating device could be purchased for demo purposes.  In 1902 the Model C reproducer (two minute) replaced the Automatic reproducer.  By the mid 1900s this Triumph could be ordered with special decorations for additional cost of $2, Nickel plated $25, Gold plated $50, Mahogany cabinet $10. 

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EDISON TRIUMPH Model A phonograph was introduced in 1904 with the new style case.  Plays 2 and 4 minute cylinders.  This machine has a Model C (2 min) and also a Model H (4 min) reproducer.  The bedplate is screwed to a hinged wooden frame that allows the upper works and motor to be opened for inspection.  It has a large transfer on front of the cabinet, EDISON TRIUMPH PHONOGRAPH. Base is 18⅛ x 12 x 14⅜" high, weighing in at 49 lbs (need to verify these dimensions).             Serial number 46679

Commentary: Recording tube 14" brass horn, Edison Automatic Reproducer, Edison Recorder, repeating device could be purchased for demo purposes.  In 1902 the Model C reproducer replaced the Automatic reproducer.  Same optional features as earlier Model A.  

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EDISON TRIUMPH Model B phonograph was introduced in late 1906.   This machine has a Model K reproducer which can be flipped to play 2/4 minute cylinders.  The bedplate is screwed to a hinged wooden frame that allows the upper works and motor to be opened for inspection.   Transfer on front, just EDISON logo. Has a 14" reproduction horn.   Base is 18⅛ x 12 x 14⅜" high, weighing in at 49 lbs (also verify).                                        Serial number 62875

Commentary: Recording tube 14" brass horn, Edison Automatic Reproducer, Edison Recorder, repeating device could be purchased for demo purposes. Same optional features as earlier Model A.  

By 1913 Edison had begun marketing a variety of Triumph machines, models A through G with many different features and attachments, reproducers and horns, but by the end of that year, the Triumph was discontinued as Edison began focusing on the enclosed-horn AMBEROLA.

Home Phonograph (Class H)

EDISON HOME Model A, the 'suitcase' Home, 1st 

Introduced in 1896, this Model A "suitcase' Home which received its nickname from the cover fastenings is considered  - the early style differentiating it from the long list of Homes that followed.  Housed in an oak cabinet, the top plate in excellent condition fits squarely to the edge of the cabinet. The sewing machine style cover fit over the top plate and fastened with two suit case clips in the front and rear of the machine.  The cover has a full length, bright gold banner red letter transfer EDISON HOME PHONOGRAPH. Has brass mandrel.    Base is 16" x 8" x 12" high, weighing in at 25 lbs. 14" Original horn.                  Serial number H3611.

Edison HomeCommentary:  Of the two Home Model A's in my collection, this older machine was in much better shape when I acquired it, so it has the original banner transfer, nice condition.

This machine has a relatively quiet single spring motor that doesn't seem to have enough power to cut a single 2 minute wax record.  Accessories include the automatic reproducer and Edison recorder and the original hearing tubes that needed new rubber tubes but now work nicely.  Well taken care, needed little repair/restoration, excellent original condition. 

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HOME Model A, the 'suitcase' Home, 2nd

Introduced in 1896, this 1898 vintage Model A "suitcase' Home - the early style is housed in an oak cabinet that needed some gentle restoration, the top plate with original black enamel that's in good condition fits squarely to the edge of the cabinet. The sewing machine style cover fits over the top plate and fastens with two suit case clips in the front and rear of the machine.  I had to re-glue, lightly stain and refinish the cover and replace the full length, bright gold banner red letter transfer EDISON HOME PHONOGRAPH with a reproduction transfer. See photo comparing original with reproduction transfer. I need an original brass mandrel to replace the substituted.    Base is 16" x 8" x 12" high, weighing in at 25 lbs. 14" Original horn.                                                         Serial number H10995.

Edison Home Model ACommentary:  Of the two Home Model A's described here, this newer machine had been used quite a bit more than the earlier suitcase Home in my collection.  The normal wear and tear is evidence that this machine was used often by its owner rather than stored away.

Sometime in its history, somebody replaced two worn brass gears that were wrapped by a thin wire and tacked to the inside bottom case.  This machine also as a relatively quiet single spring motor. This machine has an Edison Automatic Speaker - later Model B reproducer with a glass diaphragm which according to Frow's Blue Book can be used on both standard and Concert size phonographs; ball-sapphire stylus.  Base is 16" x 8" x 12" high, weighing in at 25 lbs. 14"  original horn.

EDISON HOME Model E  In 1908 Edison introduced the 4 minute Amberol cylinder along with the Edison Home Model D that featured the 2/4 minute combination.  A Combination Attachment could be purchased to upgrade the 2 minute Models A, B and C to play 2 and 4 minute records.  To encourage upgrades, Edison offered some discounted pricing on Special Amberols (A-K) or (L-W) in the U.S.  Edison Home Model EThis particular phonograph is a Model E which is essentially the same as the Model D, but fitted with a larger carriage arm to take the combination 2/4 Model O reproducer which aligns horizontally to the cylinder record. This reproducer had a protruding rod that selects a 2 or 4 minute stylus by flipping or half-turning the 2/4 indicator on the rod.  A special E-type Straight 11 panel Cygnet horn is a standard feature of this machine.               Serial number 393542

The standard finish is oak (rather than green oak as on other Homes); this new style cabinet with chamfered corners base measures 16" x 9" x 11 high.  The upper works and motor are fitted to a hinged wooden frame that can be opened for inspection.  The front of the cabinet has a simple Edison logo gold transfer.

Edison Home Model EThis machine has been gently restored. The bed plate has its original black enamel and blue lining and gold decoration.  The cygnet horn was a little banged up so I had it straightened at a local auto body shop.

I repainted with a matte black finish and gold finish on the horn's face and back edges.  Concerned that this horn might have that all-too-common 'over restored' look, I didn't apply a clear enamel finish on this or any other horns that I have similarly restored.

Interesting that the last Home Model G introduced in 1913 in the U.K. could play only 4 minute records; it came standard with a Diamond Model B reproducer. 

Later I upgraded this machine adding a Don Gfell Oak horn with inlay.  Click photo to enlarge.

 

STANDARD Phonograph (Class S)

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The EDISON STANDARD Phonograph was developed at West Orange in 1897, originally called 'the small machine' later, 'the Number 2 machine' until early 1898 when it became known as the "New STANDARD' or simply STANDARD.  Like the Triumph this developed into a family of STANDARD phonographs from Models A through G.  This introductory price was expected to be $25.  Serial No. S24165

This downsized Model A now popularly known as 'the square-top' was designed to run the feed screw in parallel (instead of an extension) to the mandrel as American Graphophone/Columbia had designed a few years earlier.  This 2-minute machine's dimensions were 12" x 9" base and 9" high with the cover. The single spring motor can play perhaps two 2 minute records per winding.  A nice feature is the motor board can be flipped upside down and worked on while seated on the cabinet ledge.

Commentary:  This machine is in nice original condition. It needed only normal cleaning and lubrication and tweaking, and a Standard speaker rebuild.  Other accessories include an Edison recorder, shaving device and 14" original brass horn.  The black enamel on the motor plate is in very good condition. This is the first model to display the now popular Thomas A. Edison gold signature.  This early model has a nickeled patent plate under the swing-arm.  The light oak cabinet needed a simple cleaning. This is one of the best portable phonographs, a bit more power than the GEM.

This machine has a dealer ID plate on the front of the cabinet F.H. Thomas, Boston MA.  F.H. Thomas was a law book house, sold medical instruments and was also an Edison dealer.

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The EDISON STANDARD Model A new style Phonograph was upgraded from the square top, getting a New Style cabinet in oak, rounded moulding and corners with a new rounded cover.  The motor was unchanged, but the top plate screwed onto a hinged wooden frame that could be opened for inspection.  This New Style Standard Model A case has a EDISON STANDARD PHONOGRAPH banner on its front.

The oak cabinet needed light restoration work, a thin coat of shellac.  I also re-glued the rounded cover and bottom of the cabinet which often separates. Metal parts are finished in black enamel with gold lining. The machine's is 10" high with the cover on. The base is 12" x 8" weighing in at 20 lbs.    

Commentary:  The Automatic reproducer has been properly replaced by the then new Model C reproducer; this machine has no optional recorder.  The original horn has a black body and brass bell.   By 1903 the shaver and recorder were no longer shipped with this configuration; the motor doesn't have sufficient power to cut wax records.

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The EDISON STANDARD Model C 'ICS' Phonograph was introduced in early 1901. This special, limited distribution ICS Model has the EDISON logo on the front of the case and just below that logo is a tacked on ivory plaque with engraving that shows "Made for International Correspondence School Scranton PA by National Phonograph Company".  It's really a new style Model C with some minor modifications made for ICS who was to Edison as ICL was to American Graphophone/ Columbia. In the early days shortly after developing the phonograph, when selling the concept, Thomas Edison often spoke about using the phonograph as a teaching aid to learn new languages.  Edison Standard Model A, ICS

When Count Rafael Diez de la Cortina learned of early wax cylinder developments he experimented with the phonograph to see if it could be used at his Cortina Academy of Languages in NYC. From 1889 to 1893 Diez sold Edison electrical instruments with their more durable wax cylinders. By 1899 Diez began an association with Columbia to market his Spanish in Twenty Lessons.  Diez proceeded the later well-known Dr. Richard S. Rosenthal,  a Potsdam-born emigrant to the US, at Columbia, (developer of ICL courses) but returned to Edison phonographs when the Class M, SPRING MOTOR and most popular STANDARD came to market.

This Model C has the after-market 2/4 minute Combination Attachment which has a cover that slopes backwards.  I need this cover, it is missing from this machine.  The black enamel is virtually without nicks or scratches; the gold pin striping and scrollwork are virtually perfect.  The antique oak cabinet needs some very minor touch-up stain and a thin coat of shellac.  But the entire cabinet and machine are in excellent condition, evidence that this learning tool was not used very much.

From Frow's book, Cylinder Phonograph Companion 1994:  In 1903 typical ICS Language outfits with the option for German, Spanish or French were priced as follows:
25 ICS records and text books  $30.
Complete Outfit Records and Text books without correspondence instruction $50
ICS Phonograph (STANDARD Model C with groove repeating attachment) $30.
     

The machine's height is 10" with the cover and the base is 12" x 8" weighing in at 20 lbs.    It has a perfect condition nickel plated repeater lever, (backspacing attachment) and mandrel, a 14" brass horn and Model C 2 minute reproducer and Model H 4 minute reproducer.      Serial Number 708222C

 

The EDISON STANDARD Model B 'Tall Standard' Phonograph was introduced in late 1905.   This has a single spring motor, capable of playing four 2 minute records on a single winding as it used a thicker and wider spring, the same spring as used in the Edison Home.  This machine is called the Tall Standard because the case was " taller to make room for the 'cushion springs' that were added to quiet and isolate some vibration from the motor that was suspended from under the top plate.

Commentary:  This machine has an antique oak case, Edison logo decal (earlier models had the Edison Standard Phonograph transfer).  The black enamel on the top plate is in good condition, the gold scrollwork on the corners is bright (earlier models had 'tufts of grass' gold corners). This machine has the original nickel plated crank.  The dimensions are 13" x 9" base and 12" high.    This machine has a C reproducer, and 14" repro brass horn.

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The EDISON STANDARD Model C 'Tall ' w/Cygnet horn was introduced in mid 1908.   This has a single spring motor. It is capable of playing four 2 minute records on a single winding as it used a thicker and wider spring, the same spring as used in the Edison Home.  It has a Combination Attachment 'outfit' that I believe was added to this machine as it slopes toward the rear of the machine unlike the later standard D with Combination that has a level top. It has no swing arm as found on the Model B.  This machine is called the Tall Standard because the case was " taller to make room for the 'cushion springs' that were added to quiet and isolate some vibration from the motor that was suspended from under the top plate.

Commentary:  This machine has an antique oak case, Edison logo decal (earlier models had the Edison Standard Phonograph transfer).  The black enamel on the top plate is in good condition, there was no gold scrollwork or 'tufts of grass'. This machine has the original nickel plated crank.  The dimensions are 13" x 9" base and 12 high.    This machine has an H reproducer, an original, untouched Cygnet horn with a normal amount of wear for this period phonograph. It also has a brass mandrel.  Other than re-gluing where necessary, general tightening up & lubrication, new belt, this machine is in original condition, dust and all, pretty much untouched.

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The EDISON STANDARD Model C Phonograph w/ Morning Glory Horn was introduced in February 1908. This is a 2-minute machine but can be configured with a 2/4 min combination attachment.  This is essentially the same as the Model B but there is no swing-arm and the governor shaft has been modified with an additional collar with a wire spring attached.

Commentary:  This machine is in nice condition, black enamel paint and gold striping is excellent.  It needed a normal rebuild and lubrication including rebuilding the repro Model C reproducer.  The morning glory horn has been rebuilt using the same procedure as done with other Edison black horns with gold edges.  The dimensions are 13" x 9" base and 12 high.  Serial number 622420. 

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The EDISON STANDARD Model D early w/ Morning Glory Horn was introduced in October 1908 with a 2/4 minute combination.  This single spring motor has an unusual (push/pull button) and gear train from the mandrel to the feed screw incorporating a second ratio that halved the speed of the feed screw for playing 200 tpi Amberol cylinders.  The cabinet and cover needed an overall rebuild and light refinishing, the cabinet has an Edison repro gold decal.

Commentary:  This machine is in nice condition, with black enamel paint and gold striping in good condition.  It needed a normal rebuild and lubrication including rebuilding the repro Model H 'green' reproducer for 4 minute cylinder records. It also has the optional Model C reproducer for 2 minute cylinders. The dimensions are 13" x 9" base and 12 high.

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The EDISON STANDARD Model D later w/ Cygnet Horn was introduced in September 1909.  This Model sometimes called the D2 has the Combination 2/4 minute feature factory installed as the top of the attachment is level. The feature "2 minute 4" is painted in gold on the black enamel top with paint in good condition. Like the Model D early above,  this single spring motor has an unusual (push/pull button) and gear train from the mandrel to the feed screw incorporating a second ratio that halved the speed of the feed screw for playing 200 tpi Amberol cylinders. 

Commentary:  The cabinet and cover needed an overall rebuild and light refinishing, the cabinet has an Edison repro gold decal. This 10 panel Cygnet horn which was banged up a bit and which may have been sold separately was rebuilt using the same procedure followed with my other Edison black horns with gold edges.  The dimensions are 13" x 9" base and 12 high.  Serial number x. 

The EDISON STANDARD Model E  w/ Red Morning Glory Horn was introduced in 1911.  This particular machine is a 4 minute only configuration with a Model N reproducer.  There is no shaving device and no recorder supplied with this configuration.  .

Commentary:  This machine is in nice condition, with black enamel paint and gold striping in good condition.  It needed a normal rebuild and lubrication including rebuilding the Model N reproducer for 4 minute cylinder records. The antique oak cabinet dimensions are 13" x 9" base and 12 high has a simple Edison decal on the front. The weight of the cabinet is 21 lbs.  The Special 10 panel Red horn is supported by a socket and crane on the front of the case. 

The straight paneled horn is in decent condition, having normal wear and common scratches found on these easily scratched colored shellac coated horns. 

GEM Phonograph

The EDISON GEM Model A Phonograph was introduced in early 1899 to compete with the variety of other low cost phonographs, for example Columbia Q then coming to market.  This model has a distinctive branded case and special GEM reproducer and a recorder that drops into the carrier arm, turned clockwise and held in place by two knurled screws.   This machine has a 3/16" socket which was later enlarged to a " socket for the crane base located on the right side drilled into the locking end gate.  Good friend Don Gfell suggests buying the larger crane diameter if you're not sure of the diameter so you can grind it smaller if needed.

Edison GEM Model ACommentary:  Dimensions are 8" high with a base of 9⅜" X 7⅜" weighing in at 13 lbs.  This 2-minute only GEM is in excellent condition, requiring no refinishing except the special branded cover and some veneer needed to be re-squared and re-glued.  It has a high polished nickel-plated mandrel and winding key, neither of which has any but normal, light scratches and minor oxidation.  The slotted key winds counter clockwise. The black enamel paint is original in great shape, the gold blade grass has been touched up a tiny bit. No special rebuild was required other than normal belt and good cleaning and lubrication.                              Serial number G22713.

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This EDISON GEM Model A Phonograph (later cased) was introduced in May of 1900 with several improvements including the GEM crane that was moved off the end gate to the left side of the machine.  Originally a 2 minute only machine, but many including this particular machine were upgraded to the 2-4 minute combination.   This new style green-oak cabinet first came out with a distinctive branded EDISON GEM PHONOGRAPH as above, but this model has the more familiar banner transfer centered on the cover.  This machine has a not-so-common (early) swing arm with a hole that centers the mandrel when it closes and alternatively holds the flat key when stored. 

Commentary:  Dimensions are 8" high with a base of 9⅜" X 7⅜" weighing in at 13 lbs.  This 2-minute only GEM is in decent condition.  It required lots of work to restore this cabinet and base which required realignment, re-gluing the veneerEdison GEM Model A special jig which I had to make to properly align and completely re-glue the cover. The original green oak finish was in poor condition and my 'then novice' attempt at refinish didn't improve the appearance of this machine.  The repro banner decal jumps out on this ugly oak green cover.  I need to refinish this cabinet again, but still don't know how to properly mix the green-oak finish.   Opps, wrong photo.

This machine has the much desired 2-4 minute combination so it can be used to play the better sounding 4-minute blue amberol records.  This particular machine has a green-tint Model H reproducer for 4-minute records and Model B reproducer to play 2 minute cylinder records.  The black enamel paint and gold striping and blades of grass are in good condition.  As part of a typical restoration the motor required a good cleaning and lubrication.                             Serial number G120545

The Edison Opera

EDISON OPERA Phonograph was introduced in November 1911.  I think most collectors that focus on Edison machines would agree that the Opera is the most desirable of Edison cylinder phonographs for its engineering elegance, quality and reliability, silent all-geared motor and fidelity which many believe is still far better than any other cylinder or disc phonograph of it's time.   Edison OperaThis type SM, Model A, which featured and automatic shut-off, played 4 minute cylinders driven by a quiet double-spring motor that is derived from Edison's AMBEROLA A motor except the belt drive is replaced by gears. The double springs come from the TRIUMPH Models F & G.  So its no secret that the Opera technology came from several of Edison's "field-proven" phonographs.   In February 1912, Edison introduced an optional Opera configuration having an oak cabinet and oak Music Master horn. These wooden cygnet horns provide a smoother more mellow tone that tin cygnet horns on other similar machines.  Production ceased in 1913.

Commentary: This mahogany machine is in exceptional un-restored condition.  I got it from a very old friend and collector from Northern New England in whose family it remained Edison Operafor many years.  It is complete with mahogany cabinet that holds 216 cylinders (6 drawers X 36 records), pristine mahogany horn that can rotate 360, a cover, recording attachment (that holds a 4-minute recorder) to facilitate making 4-minute wax recordings, a Diamond Model A Reproducer (for 4-min Blue Amberol), rare Model L Reproducer for playing wax records and an original oil can and cleaning brush.

Virtually no restoration work was required except for some very minor paint/stain touches, a thorough cleaning and normal oil.  The Opera has an interesting little spring-wire; its purpose is to eliminate (buffer) speed variations and I believe to buffer the automatic-stop.  I was unable to find a supplier of this spring so I used a piece of titanium orthodonture wire to make a replacement spring.

Serial number 2062 Type SM    

The FIRESIDE Phonograph
The EDISON FIRESIDE Phonograph Model A introduced in July of 1909 was the first of the Fireside family configured and priced to replace the more popular STANDARD.  It never did replace the STANDARD in the volumes expected by Edison but it was one of Edison's most successful cylinder phonographs considering by now Victor Talking Machines and other disk phonographs were dominating the market which Edison had seriously underestimated and incorrectly marketed. The Model A is a 2-4 minute combination phonograph in an antique oak cabinet having a rounded top cover secured by end clips.  This Fireside motor has a single spring.  It has a push/pull button that shifts gears between 2 and 4 minute ratios which varies the speed of the feed screw.  The top plate opens and pivots on its rear corners so the motor can be inspected. There is no shaver and no swing arm.

Edison FiresideThis Fireside is in excellent condition, requiring only a re-gluing the rounded cover and normal remedial maintenance including a thorough cleaning and lubrication.  It has 2-minute or 4-minute selectable Model K Combination reproducer which although adequate does not put out the sound level of either an individual 2 or 4 minute reproducer.

It had a repainted 8 panel horn with 11" diameter bell and in two parts that when screwed together make the horn 19" long.  I had to repaint this original horn the correct maroon color with gold edges because the dents and scratches were caused by some abnormal storage or long distance moving. A nickeled two-piece crane that can be swing 180 holds the horn in place.

The original black enamel with blue and gold striping is in excellent condition, the antique oak cabinet has been gently restored.                       Serial number 30178

Later I upgraded this Fireside with a unique Don Gfell oak cygnet horn as shown in this photo.  

 

This is an additional EDISON FIRESIDE Phonograph Model A essentially identical to the Model A above but configured with a very attractive wooden Cygnet horn designed and built by Don Gfell.  This machine and horn combination fits nicely into a small  corner but has a unique presence in any room.  The Model A is also a 2-4 minute combination phonograph in an antique oak cabinet with a rounded top cover secured by end clips that are unique to all Firesides.  This Fireside motor has a single spring.  It has a push/pull button that shifts gears between 2 and 4 minute ratios which varies the speed of the feed screw.  The top plate opens and pivots on its rear corners so the motor can be easily inspected.

This particular Fireside is in excellent condition, requiring only a re-gluing the rounded cover and normal remedial maintenance including a thorough cleaning and lubrication.  It has 2-minute or 4-minute selectable Model K Combination reproducer. It has a 10 petal horn with a 14" diameter bell and in two parts that when assembled measure the horn length 19" tall from the top of the reproducer. Interesting that Edison made some oak finish tin Cygnet horns but this model has a unique, non-standard wooden horn.   The original black enamel with blue and gold striping is in excellent condition,  the antique oak cabinet has been gently restored.                   Serial number 40248 

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This particular Fireside is in excellent condition, requiring only a re-gluing the rounded cover and normal remedial maintenance including a thorough cleaning and lubrication.   It has a repainted black Cygnet horn with gold edges.   Perhaps this machine made a long-distance move with caused similar scratches and dents found in the Cygnet horn.  The Cygnet horn can be swing more than 180 to direct the sound. 

The original black enamel with blue and gold striping is in excellent condition, the antique oak cabinet has been gently restored.                        Serial number 113171 Insert Photo

The Amberola Phonographs

EDISON AMBEROLA Phonograph when introduced in October 1909 was then simply called the Amberola.  It was trademarked in March 1910 with a statement indicating first use of the word Amberola was November 1909. The Amberola I required some custom engineering to compete the fast-becoming popular Victrola cabinets but in such as way to make this Amberola non-infringing on Victor Talking Machine patents.

When you look at this photo with the lid closed, this machine looks exactly like a mahogany cabinet Amberola I but it is not,  this is a transitional model, an Edison Diamond Disc Model A-250. 

I'm still looking to buy an authentic AMBEROLA I. Please see the Edison Diamond Disk Model A-250 located here. Insert Photo

EDISON AMBEROLA 30 introduced in February 1915 is a 4-minute phonograph that plays Blue Amberol or indestructible cylinders only.  This later model is slightly larger than the early model.  Its dimensions are 12" Wide, 16" deep and 13" high.  This machine has a single spring motor capable of playing 2-3 4-minute records per winding.  It has a highly reliable, heavy-duty helical gear drive.   The Reproducer is a Diamond Model C, the only option for this phonograph.  The cabinet is a table model made from Oak wood. Edison Amberola 30 The metal horn grille is stained this oak color and it has a black silk cloth covering the inside back of the grill.  This 'sales leader', the smallest and least expensive machine was produced from 1915 (after the fire) until October 1929.  

Commentary: This particular machine required very little restoration work.  The grill cloth needed to be replaced, the light oak stain shellac finish needed some gentle restoration.  The black metal louvres required a light coat of high gloss black paint.  The Diamond Model C Reproducer required a standard rebuild to bring back the original sound of this popular table top machine.  When winding the spring on an early Saturday morning, it snapped and immediately spun clockwise which in turn unwound the crank which fell to the floor.  It was fairly easy to replace this low energy spring.  This Model 30 required a good cleaning, lubrication and general preventive maintenance to keep it running reliably.   At the time the Amberola 30 was introduced, it's US List price was $30.00

Like other Edison model numbers, the Amberola 30 cost $30, the 50 cost $50, the 60 was the British version of the 50, the Model 75 cost $75 and the 80 was the British & Aussie version of the Model 75.

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EDISON AMBEROLA 50 introduced in June 1915,  is a 4-minute phonograph that plays Blue Amberol or indestructible cylinders only.  This later model is slightly larger than the early model.  Its dimensions are 15⅜" high by 15" wide and 19 deep. Edison Amberola 50This popular machine has a double spring motor capable of playing 5 4-minute records per winding.  It has a highly reliable, heavy-duty helical gear drive.   The Reproducer is a Diamond Model C, the only option for this phonograph.  The cabinet is a table model made from Oak wood.  The metal horn grille is stained this oak color and it has a black silk cloth covering the inside back of the grill. 

This 'sales leader', the smallest and least expensive machine was produced from 1915 (after the fire) until October 1929. Commentary: This particular machine required very little restoration work.  The grill cloth needed to be replaced, the light oak stain shellac finish needed some gentle restoration.  The black metal louvres and upper works all have the original enamel high gloss black paint.  Edison Amberola 50 OpenThe Diamond Model C Reproducer required a standard rebuild to bring back the original high-quality sound of this popular heavier duty table-top machine. There is also a popular mahogany cabinet version of this machine. At the time the Amberola 50 was introduced, it's US list price was $50.00      Serial number:   SM9139

These Edison Amberola machines were designed to play four minute records only.  And the only four minute records you should play on these Amberolas (except Amberola I) are the Blue Amberol (BA) cylinder record or the less common four-minute "Indistructible" cylinder record. 

Each of these machines is fitted with a diamond stylus which Edison claimed was the perfect match for the bright blue celluloid BA Edison brand records.  

Edison Model 50 disassembled 

The Amberola 50 was also available in a beautiful mahogany cabinet which have cloth louvres. I'm told that many more of the mahogany cabinets were sold in England than in the United States.

During restoration, I completely clean the cabinet and all parts to make sure there is no mold or mildew to avoid "that antique store smell".  Sunshine and fresh air works well.




The Edison Spring-driven Diamond Disc Phonographs

The EDISON A-100 Moderne Disc Phonograph introduced in late 1915 is an open shelf upright, single spring machine set on four turned legs with a bottom shelf.  This model was finished in mahogany, golden oak, weathered or fumed.  Metal parts are nickel plated and the top-plate and inside horn were black japanned.  Although the wooden grilles are interchangeable, the A-100 original grille has a distinctive lattice pattern.   The height is 41" by 18 wide with a depth of 21".  Production of this model originally named "The New Standard" began on May 15, 1915 and appears to have stopped after August 1918, but there was sufficient inventory such that the A-100 was advertised until 1920.

Commentary:  The A-100 Moderne sold well but was not particularly popular with the trade because its narrow turned legs became unstable or broke while in transit.  Because the A-100 had no record storage drawers or enclosed cabinet, dealers felt this harmed sales.  The open shelf could hold six albums of records. The early A-100 was fitted with a sound damper rather than the now familiar mute ball.  

This particular A-100 has an unusual record storage box that I believe is original from the factory.  The hardware, construction, green felt record separators for up to 32 diamond discs, wood, veneer and stain nicely match the A-100 cabinet.  Dimensions are 13" wide by 12 high and 13 deep.  The base of this cabinet which extends to the edge of the cabinet's bottom shelf is held by brass flathead screws.  I have found some literature that makes reference to this self-contained storage box designed for the A-100. This is similar to the Sheraton 38 record drawer. More research is required to confirm. 

Also unusual is the walnut veneer cabinet.  Although walnut was used in many other Edison diamond disc machines of this period, I have found no data/research (from Frow, Dethlefson or EPM books) that note any A-100's were manufactured with walnut and walnut veneer.  Could be as the A-100 was manufactured for Edison by two companies, Diamond Furniture Company and American Cabinet Manufacturing Company.    There's a label inside the cabinet: Edison No. 9 Cabinet Factory.  The dealer ID tag is Atherton Furniture Company, Brockton, MA   The original grille was missing.  The replacement grille patterned from Sheraton C-150 was produced by fellow collector, restorer and good friend John DiFronzo.  When I purchased this machine from John, it required no restoration, except normal cleaning and lubrication.  Not surprising that the reproducer required a rebuild to regain its full sound.  Serial number SM 23731  

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EDISON C-250 CHIPPENDALE (Official Laboratory Model) Disc Phonograph introduced in December 1915 is a full upright cabinet finished in semi-gloss or brown mahogany and various oaks. There is a distinctive Chinese card cut design above the grill surrounding the cabinet.  The wooden grille is French Gothic. Dimensions are 51 1/16" high, 21" wide and 22" deep. Metal parts are gold plated.   The initial US List price as its name would suggest was $250.

A gold plated medallion inscribed Official Laboratory Model is fixed to the left corner near the turntable.  Not all of the earliest models have this medallion.  There's a similar medallion affixed to the powerful double spring motor which is capable of playing 6 diamond disc records per winding.  I have tried the then-popular Jones Motrola (modified to today's safety standards, three-prong, ground and proper insulation) electric winder on this particular machine and it works reliably however the clutch that kicks in when the automatic winding begins is quite loud.   

No restoration has been performed except some cleaning and lubrication. However this motor requires some work as it is running louder than normal.  The easy to recognize French gothic grill requires a little work, it needs to be tightened up a bit and the mahogany veneer needs some re-gluing.  The original shellac finish is alligatored as expected for this period machine.  This effect actually looks like a leather finish and as the rest of the finish is in good shape and protects the mahogany, it will remain as it is.  The dolphin key that fits this C-250 Chippendale was supplied by good friend and all-things-Edison expert, Bill Floyd.           

Serial number SM8969

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EDISON A-250 MODERN RENAISSANCE Disc Phonograph was introduced in late 1912 according to George Frow's book The Edison Disc Phonographs printed in 1982. The model shown here has some noticeable differences when compared to the A-250 in George's book because this particular model is a transitional model cabinet, a full upright finished in semi-gloss or brown mahogany and various oaks.  Dimensions are 49" high 20" wide and 21" deep.  According to Frow, this version of "the A-250 was the precursor of all the Edison disc instruments adopting the Amberola I."

Draft.... Metal parts are gold plated.   The initial US List price as its name would suggest was $250.

Edison W-19 "William & Mary" Disc Phonograph This walnut finish cabinet disc phonograph introduced as the W-250 in April 1919, earns the second "Official Laboratory Model" designation and medallion with a very expensive $295 price tag in December 1919.  This 50" tall uprright (perhaps the largest Edison machine I own) is fitted with a not-so-common Long Play (LP) mechanism part of Edison's then new system for playing his Long Play records.  It was offered as an option but I believe as dealers knew these machines were likely to be phased out, they offered the LP option at no charge.

There is much debate about the poorer quality sound of these Edison LP records which many felt didn't produce the same 'loudness' or clarity of earlier generation Edison Diamond Disc records.  I have only a small sample of Edison LP's which appear to have been 'overplayed', or played with an incorrect or damaged stylus so I can't argue better or worse sound and clarity.

Please visit again. More work to be done here. 

Have fun!

     
Boston, MA  USA