RCA-Victor 45 Collection

 




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The Fabulous VICTROLA "45" Collection

RCA Victor 9JYMy first RCA Victor 45 record player was an RCA 9JY, the first 45 RPM phonograph attachment, really a stand-alone record changer having no amplifier but with an RCA jack that would plug into the amplifier of a TV or Radio - a phonojack.

Until that day when I met my good friend Roy, who I believe was one "the masters of repairing and restoring 45rpm players", particularly from RCA Victor, my interest in phonographs was centered around early Edison and Victor TalkingRCA Victor Family of 45 Players Machines. Expecting that I could use my mechanical skills and limited electronics skills to bring this beauty back to life after its 50+ years of silence, I confidently bought that RCA Victor 9JY at the New England Antique Radio club show.

That was the beginning of my quest to restore at least one of each of the more than 55 models of the RCA Victor 45 RPM Victrola bakelite players that were produced from 1949-57 and found in many American homes during the 50's & 60's.  I reasoned that if I couldn't get one of every model of antique Edison phonograph, (nobody can) then surely I could find one of every RCA Victor 45 changers and players.  Wrong!

Fabulous Victrola 45I have acquired and restored almost every one of the RCA Victor Table Model Phonographs 1949-57 listed in  'the bible', The Fabulous Victrola "45" by researcher, collector and author Phil Vourtsis. Phil's book is the most comprehensive work on the RCA Victor 45 rpm record players. Caution, if you read this book, you may become addicted to the RCA Victor Victrola 45 hobby!   A special thank you to Phil for the work he has done researching, publishing and marketing this valuable resource. 

Phil, who for many years was president of the New Jersey Antique Radio Club also produces "The 45rpm Phono Gazette" a must-have, bargain-priced, quarterly publication for anyone having a keen interest in this hobby.   Contact him at pvourtsis@optonline.net.

PhonoJack Victrola 45 Collection
Most of the RCA phonographs in the PhonoJack Victrola 45 Collection listed below have bakelite cabinets, use the then popular and still most reliable RP-168 or RP-190 record changers and have tube amplifiers. Once properly rebuilt, these machines will play reliably for another fifty years. 

Note when photos shown here are framed with a square box, if you click that photo you'll typically see a larger or alternative photo for a closer look.  Click on this model below.Woman with RCA Victor EY-2

The PhonoJack collection includes a variety of other private label versions of these RCA 45 phonographs from companies such as Motorola, Crescent, Crosley, Decca, Emerson, Montgomery Ward, Symphonic, TruTone, Tele-Tone, Victory, Voice of Music and Zenith.  In addition there are some then popular but now rare accessories.

The original term 'Victrola' was introduced by Victor Talking Machines in August 1906, a designation used when external wooden horns were put inside of the phonograph cabinet. Victor Talking Machine Company used the term Victrola on some phonographs after it had been acquired by RCA through 1930 when the company sold radio-enabled Victrolas, popularly known as the Electrola-Radiola and Radiola.  The Fabulous Victrola "45" book has a fabulous photograph of a working prototype of RCA's 45rpm record player that was created in 1942. That phonograph has the RCA Victrola logo, so the company must've planned to use the Victrola name on the "45" player from the outset.   RCA Victor later revived the Victrola product name in 1949 when it introduced record changers for its new 7-inch 45 rpm records. 

RCA 45 player prototypeIt's simply not true that RCA developed the 45 rpm format and player in response to Columbia's introducing the 33.3 rpm LP.  I don't believe the story as told by a Columbia employee, who was previously  RCA employee that David Sarnoff yelled at his employees for failing to develop the LP and microgroove technology.  RCA had already developed and shelved this technology.  This story came out only after Sarnoff had died, unfair and more important, not corroborated by any RCA employee.

It's more likely that Sarnoff, Chairman at RCA would have been mad at himself for failing to launch the "45" earlier.  There were many obstacles that delayed RCA bringing this new format and product to market- World War II, the global economy, the technology, patent rights and new standards.     

PhonoJack friendSeveral friends and I have have monkeyed with researched, repaired and restored many of these RCA Victor 45 Victrolas. We've learned much about the engineering, manufacturing and marketing that created the 45 RPM record industry that pumped new life into the relatively quiet post-war (WW II) entertainment industry.  I've never met anyone who didn't smile upon seeing and hearing one of these machines operate.  Friend reading SAMS Photofacts schematics.

If you spent countless hours during the fifties or sixties listening to 45 records and you haven't been running in phonograph circles lately, suddenly you're transported back in time the first time you hear that distinctive click of the reject button that turns on the RCA Victor 45 player.  Wait- the sound is too soft.  There it is. It's a tube amplifier not solid-state; it needs time to warm up. A few minutes later you detect the long forgotten smell of the electronics and the bakelite cabinet.  And you hear the distinctive sound of 45 rpm records played on RCA Victor Victrola "45" machines.

Heat-resistant bakelite was used because the tubes in the amplifier created too much heat.  The dark brown chocolate color of the bakelite cabinets restore beautifully.  RCA 6EY2 Black BakeliteThe less common black bakelite cabinets shown in this photo are also made of durable thermoset plastic that resists heat and flame, but gives off that 'hot electrical smell' when exposed to heat (amplifier tubes) for a long period of time.  Often you can detect the 'electrical' smell of the heated components of the tube amplifier.  When restored properly, you should detect no musty or moldy odor that often comes from years of being stored in a dark or damp location.  

Many collectors that remember the sound of a 45 RPM record are surprised to hear the very high quality sound of these records when played today on modern or better quality restored 45 players.  That's probably because many of us were teenagers that didn't take care of the durable but 'scratchable' 45 record.  There is absolutely no doubt that a 45 rpm record will play as well as an LP 33.3 album. Some say the 45 rpm record actually produces better sound than an LP.  When I play a pristine 45 record on a restored/modified RP-190 record changer with a magnetic cartridge through a pre-amp to a modern receiver, listeners are blown away at the richness and high quality sound. 

RCA Victor original cartridgesJust as there are several generations of audio technology in radios, amplifiers and recording media such wax, celluloid cylinder records and flat disc shellac and vinyl records, there are several generations of cartridges available for phonographs and turntables.  In RCA 45 rpm phonograph circles, the first generation of Victrola players were equipped with Rochelle Salt Piezoelectric cartridges. 

Almost all of these cartridges will have died by now; I have found only two original cartridges (from the dry desert climate of Arizona) that had any life.  In a rebuild, these must be replaced.  These cartridges produced about 500 mVolts or higher output, tracked poorly and will damage stereo records.  These cartridges can be rebuilt but I recommend no, read on to learn why.   The plastic jar above holds hundreds of RCA and Voice of Music original cartridges.

Later,  RCA and other manufacturers introduced more forgiving, better output capable, low-cost ceramic cartridges.  These provide adequate signal response for most of the RCA bakelite series of phonographs described here.   My choice for replacing these types of cartridges come from Chuo Denshi (CZ 680 & CZ 800) and Pfanstiehl (P-187D 188D and P-190).  Check with Gary at www.thevoiceofmusic.com .

If you want the very best sound which RCA's low cost, highly reliable RP-190 can produce, these record changers can be upgraded by installing the much better 'moving magnet' cartridge which has a more responsive stylus and does a better job converting the vibration of the stylus into an electrical audio signal.  If you're going to upgrade to a magnetic cartridge, there are several secrets you need to know.  My choice for this type of magnetic cartridge is the Stanton 500 for cost and performance. But I can be convinced that Astatic & former Pickering (now Stanton) and others might have some better options.  Actually, there is an exhaustive supplyof ceramic cartridges that are compatible with these Fabulous RCA 45 RPM Players.   Steer clear of New Old Stock (NOS) cartridges, any cartridge with a plastic cantilever, choose a metal alloy and be sure the rubber yoke is soft & pliable.  Buy from a reputable dealer.

For the audiophile that wants the very best, there are many better modern turntables.  You can easily spend well over $100K for a turntable, if you must. RCA's 45 rpm record changers and players described here can be modified to produce surprisingly good analog sound that will compete with some modern analog turntables.   Some purists will say these RCA 45 players have limitations in producing great music, I agree.  But I know a few collectors that "take on the challenge" to quiet potential interference from the low-cost 2-pole motors, solve impedance matching, voltage output of ceramic vs magnetic, eliminate 60 cycle and motor-induced hum, deal with harmonics, manage tracking, tripping, frequency response, base response, range, tweak tone with resistors, grounding and many more variables.   Great mental, mechanical and electrical exercise for the tinkerer.

The best thing you can do to listen to great music is simply avoid playing dirty or scratched vinyl records. Unless the 45 rpm record has some meaningful value, I toss it if it's scratched.  These record changers are very forgiving and will play some of the worst sounding vinyl you've ever heard.

If you want to listen to your 'favorite music', find the singers or bands that were popular when you were sixteen!  As you look through a stack of records, you are in control.  You feel the records in your hands, you make the selection, not some electronic device such as an iPod or mp3 player.   As you begin to hear the record, you just might find yourself transported back in time to a high school dance, a seat at local soda fountain or at an after-school hang out that had a juke box.  If you don't understand this, read on to learn more about these Fabulous Victrola 45s.

When you look at the RCA 45 Victrola record player you see the simple mechanical genius of the most reliable record changer ever made; it works flawlessly.  Sure there are better 'audiophile quality' turntables, but for general purpose listening of a stack of 45 rpm records, I think nothing beats an RCA RP-168 or RP-190 record changer.   You hear subtle sounds long forgotten, some faint clicks and pops, perhaps the repeating cycle of a scratch, but all of this is cancelled out as you begin to hear the rich, full, analog sound of vinyl.  You decide!  If you want to make some fine adjustments on your RP-190 or compatible record changer, click this to link to some instructions, print the page and tweak using a flathead screwdriver.

I believe these are the last of the great American-made phonographs for some not-so-obvious reasons.  Much like the early Edison phonographs or Berliner gramophones, it was a combination of circumstances and technologies that brought us the RCA Victor Victrola 45 player.  Advances in recording technologies, ownership of the content (Victor Talking Machine's vast library) the vinylite 7" medium, highly efficient speakers that required very low power, low-cost, highly reliable amplifiers that had a limited power budget, high output cartridges, small vacuum tubes, selenium rectifiers and reliable electrolytic filters/capacitors, resistors and other electronics assembled by a motivated, quality-centric, mostly American female, manufacturing workforce. RCA succeeded in planning, developing, manufacturing and distributing high quality, commodity-priced record players, creating thousands of much-needed postwar jobs while building a profitable business that produced solid, forecastable returns for its investors.

Maybe vinyl record enthusiasts get excited not only for the singers or bands (content) but perhaps it's the whole experience of seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling when you play a record on a Fabulous RCA Victor 45 Victrola. All of your senses come alive and while your brain is busy processing these senses, it's probably also busy thinking about great memories that emerge.    

The modified chart below comes from Appendix B of Phil Vourtsis' book, The Fabulous Victrola "45".  I added a few machines that aren't in the book; including photos of each "45" machine in the PhonoJack collection.  

I'm adding photos to this list as they become available. This is a very graphics intensive page; the photos and text may take a while to download depending upon your PC/Internet speed.  The photographs and phonographs belong to me.  Please don't use without permission.

List of RCA Victor Table Model Phonographs   

Model Year Changer Amp Tone arm Description / comments   For larger image, click photo.
9EY3 needs  to be restored1949RP-168yesgold 3 tube amp, brown Bakelite case
RCA 9EY3
9EY31 1949 RP-168 yes gold 3 tube amp, tan leatherette case w/ cover
RCA 9EY31 brown
9EY32 1949 RP-168 yes gold 3 tube amp, red or brown leatherette case
RCA 9EY31 brown and RCA 9EY32 red
9EY35 1949 RP-168 yes gold 3 tube amp, Disney motif, painted white Bakelite case but popular characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck are not featured instead Snow White, Pinocchio and Johnny Appleseed character decals are used.

I'm looking for this RCA 9EY35 model, please contact me if you have one for sale.  Thanks.
9EY36 1949 RP-168 yes gold 3 tube amp, Roy Rogers motif, painted white Bakelite case
RCA 9EY36 Roy Rogers
9EY3M want to buy 1949 RP-168 yes gold 3 tube amp, single play, brown Bakelite

I'm looking for this model.  Please contact me if you would like to sell yours.
9JY 1949 RP-168 no gold brown Bakelite case, record changer
RCA 9JY record changer with Mercedes AM radio
9Y51 1949 RP-168 yes gold Radio-phono with slide rule dial, 5 tubes, mahogany cabinet, great base sound, rare.
RCA 9W51 Compact Console Radio Player Mahogany
9Y7 now being restored 1949 RP-168 yes gold Radio-phono with slide rule dial, 5 tubes, wooden case with lid
RCA 9Y7 Mahogany currently rebuilding
9Y51 now being restored 1949 RP-168 yes gold radio-phono with slide rule dial, 5 tube amp, maroon case with lid, rare, integrated RP-168 in case. Looks like RCA 9Y511 which replaced this model.
RCA Victor 9Y51
45EY needs work 1950 RP-168 yes 2 tone 3 tube amp, brown Bakelite case
RCA 45EY
45EY1 1950 RP-168 yes 2tone¹ 3 tube amp, brown Bakelite case, should have a brown tone arm.
RCA 45EY1
45EY2 1950 RP-190 yes black 3 tube amp, brown Bakelite case
 RCA Victor 45 EY-2
45EY3 1950 RP-190 yes black 3 tube amp, black Bakelite case
 RCA Victor EY-3
45EY4 1951 RP-190 yes black 4 tube amp, brown Bakelite case with lid
RCA 45EY4
45EY15 1950 RP-168 yes gold Disney motif, 3 tube amp, white Bakelite case.  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
RCA Victor45 EY-15
45EY26 1951 RP-190 yes red Alice in Wonderland motif, 3 tube amp, painted white Bakelite case
 RCA Victor EY26 Alice in Wonderland
45HY4 1954 RP-190 yes black 4 tube amp, black Bakelite case with lid
RCA Victor 45 HY-4
45J 1950 RP-168 no gold brown Bakelite case
RCA 45J RP-168 record changer
45J2 1950 RP-190 no black brown Bakelite case
RCA Victor 45J
45J3 1950 RP-193 no gold brown Bakelite case
RCA 45 J3 Attachment
9Y510 1950 RP-190 yes black Radio-phono with slide rule dial, 5 tubes, Bakelite case with lid
RCA 9Y510 radio - phonograph
9Y511 now being restored 1951 RP-190 yes black radio-phono with slide rule dial, 5 tubes, Maroon case with lid, same as above but with RP 168, a later version of the RCA 9Y5. These are rare, perhaps a transition model as the newer 9Y510 w/ RP-190 came to market.
RCA 45 player.
15E/15E1 1951 RP-190 yes black Phonograph Demonstrator with, 3 speed, 2 turntables, RCA Dealer machine.
RCA Victor 15E
4Y511 1954 RP-190 yes brown radio-phono with round dial, 5 tubes, brown Bakelite case, hard to find
RCA 4Y511 radio - phonograph
6BY4A 1955 - yes gray portable radio-phono, 4 tubes, black & gray plastic case, single play, the "Skipper".
RCA 6BY4A and 6BY4B
6BY4B 1955 - yes pink portable radio-phono, 4 tubes, white & pink plastic case, single play, the "Skipper".
RCA 6BY4B pink and white Skipper
6EY1 1955 RP-190 yes gray 3 tube amp, black Bakelite case
RCA 6EY1
6EY2 1955 RP-190 yes gray 3 tube amp, black Bakelite case with lid
RCA 6EY2 Black bakelite rare with Nipper
6EY3A 1955 RP-190 yes gray portable phono, 2 or 3 tube amp, 2 tone brown vinyl covered case
RCA 6EY3A two tone brown
6EY3B 1955 RP-190 yes gray portable phono, 2 or 3 tube amp, 2 tone green vinyl covered caseRCA 6EY3B two tone green, painted, not original.
6EY3C 1955 RP-190 yes gray portable phono, 2 or 3 tube amp, 2 tone blue vinyl covered case
6EY15 1955 RP-190 yes orange Ding Dong School, 3 tube amp, black Bakelite case
RCA 6EY15 Ding Dong School Model
6EY15 1955 RP-190 yes orange Ding Dong School, 3 tube amp, black Bakelite case.  Miss Francis' image and the Ding Dong School logo were often scraped off by early teen owners.
 RCA 6EY15 Ding Dong School Model
6JM1 1955 RP-199 no

black case
black
bezel 
plastic case, assorted colors, single play Slide-O-Matic

RCA 6JM1 first Slide-O-Matic, all black
6JM2 1955 RP-199 no black case
white bezel 
plastic case, assorted colors, single play Slide-O-MaticRCA 6JM2 Slide-O-Matic
6JM2,1 1955 RP-199 no black case white
bezel black case black bezel 
plastic case, assorted colors, single play Slide-O-Matic
RCA 6JM1 and RCA 6JM2 Slide-O-Matic
6JM2 1955 RP-199 no off- white
case
tan
bezel
 
plastic case, assorted colors, single play Slide-O-MaticRCA 6JM2 Slide-O-Matic
6JM2 1955 RP-199 no maroon case white bezel Twins plastic case, assorted colors, single play Slide-O-Matic, maroon cover, white bezel. 
 RCA Victor 45 6JM2 Slide-o-matic Red
6JM25 1955 RP-199 no white cabinet orange bezel  Ding Dong School, white and red plastic case, single play Slide-O-Matic
RCA 6JM25 Slide-O-Matic Ding Dong SchoolRCA 45 player.
6JY1A 1955 RP-190 no white black Bakelite case
RCA 6JY1(Q) with Nipper - rare
6JY1 1955 RP-190 no gray black Bakelite case
6JY1B 1955 RP-190 no white white Bakelite case, attachment
RCA Victor 45 6JY1B Attachment
6JY1C 1955 RP-190 no white painted green Bakelite case
RCA 6JY1C painted green bakelite
6XY5A 1955 RP-199 yes black case gray bezel Radio-phono, black & gray plastic case, single play Slide-O-Matic, AM Radio, black cabinet, grey bezel.
RCA Victor 45 6XY5A Slide-O-Matic
6XY5B 1955 RP-199 yes white case aqua bezel  radio-phono, white and turquoise case, single play Slide--O-Matic
RCA 6XY5B Slide-O-Matic
7EP45
want to buy
1956 RP-190 yes gray portable, 3 tube amp, blue vinyl case with Elvis Presley signature in gold.  I would like to buy this, please contact me if you would like to sell yours.
7EY1DJ 1955 RP-190 yes white 1 tube amp, black & gray plastic case
RCA 7EY1DJ Black - Gray
7EY1EF 1955 RP-190 yes white 1 tube amp, pink & white plastic case
RCA 7EY1EF
7EY1JF typical dirty cabinet before restore grungy! 1955 RP-190 yes white 1 tube amp, coral & gray plastic case
RCA 7EY1JF
7EY2HH 1955 RP-190 yes peach 3 tube amp, 2 tone green plastic case
RCA 7EY2HH
7EY2JJ 1955 RP-190 yes peach 3 tube amp, 2 tone gray plastic case
RCA 7EY2JJ
7HF45 Mahog. Cabinet 1956 RP-190 yes white 4 tube amp, wood cabinet, maple, oak, or mahogany finish in workshop, restoration underway.
RCA 7HF45 Mahogany
7HF45
Oak Cabinet
1956 RP-190 yes white 4 tube amp, wood cabinet, maple, oak, or mahogany finish
RCA 7HF45 Oak Cabinet
7HF45 Oak  Black
Cabinet
1956 RP-190 yes white 4 tube amp, wood cabinet, maple, oak, or mahogany finish  Oak painted black silk
7HF45
Maple cabinet
1956 RP-190 yes white 4 tube amp, wood cabinet, maple finish in workshop; needs much restoration, finish is poor, complete rebuild. Now sitting on my workbench.
RCA 7HF45 Maple finish
7HF45P 1957 RP-190 yes white portable, 4 tube amp, brown vinyl covered case
8EY4DJ 1956 RP-190 yes white 4 tube amp, brown Bakelite case with lid and tan plastic front
8EY4FK 1956 RP-190 yes white 4 tube amp, black Bakelite case with lid, grey plastic front
RCA Victor 45 8EY-4-FK
8HF45P 1956 RP-190 yes white portable, 4 tube amp, 2 tone brown vinyl covered case
8EY31HE not yet restored 1957 RP-190 yes white portable, 1 tube amp, green & white vinyl case. To be restored.  I almost didn't include this surprisingly low quality RCA 45 portable. This was perhaps RCA's last attempt to compete with low priced alternatives. A one-tube wonder.  Click to open, watch for spiders!
RCA 8EY31HE green tan
8EY31KE 1957 RP-190 yes white RCA Victor 8-EY-31-KE portable, 1 tube wonder, brown and tan. Click photo to enlarge image or click this to open. Restored, it has anemic sound for an RCA player.
RCA 8EY31HE brown tan
RP-168 1950 RP-168 no gold RCA RP-168 in optional mahogany case.  The penny on the tone arm is not legit.  This tracks only 2 grams so the penny is temporary. Click photo too see it closed.
RP-168 in mahogany case
CP-5203 1949 RP-168 no black special wood mahogany cabinet for RCA "Berkshire" CP 5203 (Please note:  this is not my machine, I'm looking for this to add to my collection). 
RCA Victor 45 Berkshire CP-5203

¹ Should be a brown tone arm as factory original. An alert reader noticed this machine has an incorrect 2 tone color tone arm.      Thanks, Doc.

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