Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph inquiry

Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph inquiry

Post by Robert Andrew » Mon, 09 Nov 1998 04:00:00



I have recently acquired an Edison Diamond Disc
Phonograph (my first forray into antiques of any
kind) and need some help documenting it.
It is an upright mahogany cabinet with a record
compartment in the bottom (9 excellent Edison Labs
records came with it), and a lid with the Edison
logo inside. The brass serial number plate shows a
list of patent dates - the last being 1916. It is
in exceptional condition and sounds great
(relatively speaking).
Any suggestions on where to turn for info? Any
idea what it's worth?
Please contact me:
Robert Andrews

Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
 
 
 

Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph inquiry

Post by John9 » Mon, 09 Nov 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
>I have recently acquired an Edison Diamond Disc
>Phonograph (my first forray into antiques of any
>kind) and need some help documenting it.
>It is an upright mahogany cabinet with a record
>compartment in the bottom (9 excellent Edison Labs
>records came with it), and a lid with the Edison
>logo inside. The brass serial number plate shows a
>list of patent dates - the last being 1916. It is
>in exceptional condition and sounds great
>(relatively speaking).
>Any suggestions on where to turn for info? Any
>idea what it's worth?
>Please contact me:
>Robert Andrews

Tell us the model number on the brass ID plate and we can help you much better!
John

 
 
 

Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph inquiry

Post by George Conkl » Mon, 09 Nov 1998 04:00:00



Quote:

>>I have recently acquired an Edison Diamond Disc
>>Phonograph (my first forray into antiques of any
>>kind) and need some help documenting it.
>>It is an upright mahogany cabinet with a record
>>compartment in the bottom (9 excellent Edison Labs
>>records came with it), and a lid with the Edison
>>logo inside. The brass serial number plate shows a
>>list of patent dates - the last being 1916. It is
>>in exceptional condition and sounds great
>>(relatively speaking).
>>Any suggestions on where to turn for info? Any
>>idea what it's worth?
>>Please contact me:
>>Robert Andrews

>Tell us the model number on the brass ID plate and we can help you much better!
>John

  Right. You need to give the model and general condition of
the unit.  You might have the Chippendale, but other models
had record storage in the bottom too.

   Here is the FAQ and you can get the George Frow book and
look up your model and get all kinds of history:

Rec.antiques.radio+phono Frequently Asked Questions (part 2)
Availability of this information:
* The FAQs are posted monthly in the newsgroup
  rec.antiques.radio+phono
* The FAQs can be downloaded from the Web at this URL:
  http://www.FoundCollection.com/~gerard/rarp/.

Part 2 - Acoustic Phongraphs.
--------------------------------

The most frequently asked question continues
to be from the very first day of the group: "Where can I buy
steel needles for my Victrola?"  Answer: Contact the Antique
Phonograph Supply Company, Route 23, Box 123, Davenport
Center, NY 13751.  Phone 607-278-6218. WWW.antiquephono.com.
Remember to change your needles after every play.  
The engineering concept was simple:
the needles are softer than the record, and will wear without
stressing the record.  Some records had grit in the mix to
wear the steel needle.  

Section 2.1: Technical Questions about Phonographs.
--------------------------------------------------

Q1: My phonograph does not work.  What can I do?
Answer: There is one excellent book which explains how old
phonographs, gramophones and cylinder players work.  
"The Compleat Talking Machine" by Eric Reiss.  It is
also available from APSCO listed above.  It explains how
to work on a phonograph to get it running again.  It contains
detailed photographs.  

----------------------------------------------------------------
Q2:  I have just found this wonderful windup phonograph.
How can I tell if it works?  I don't have time to read a book.
What can I do?  (Is it REAL?  See Q3 below).

Answer:  Phonographs are found which look new.  Others look as if
they have been sitting in a wet ba***t for 70 years.  But there are
a few quick tests:
  1.  Does the dealer demonstrate the unit?  If it plays and sounds
      fine, it probably is in good shape.  It is relatively hard to hide
      problems with spring motors.
  2.  Is the spring broken?  This means that your turn the crank and
      nothing happens.  Usually the spring is broken near the center,
      so the phonograph does not play.   New springs can be found for
      most phonographs from the Antique Phonograph Supply Company.
      Cost: about $50 if you send in the barrel.  If a new spring is not
      available, you can patch the old one by following instructions in
      the Reiss book listed below.  But please note that you may not
      want to do this without some experience since you can cut your
      fingers off.  
  3.  If the turntable rotates (or the cylinder turns), but you hear
      a loud bump while the record is playing, then the spring needs
      grease.

   a. This is not easy.  Purists will say to take the spring out
      of the barrel, clean it and the reload the barrel.  Warning: if
      you try to do this, you can cut your fingers off.  The barrel
      is a cylinder into which the spring is wound.  Some cheaper
      units simply have an open spring.  Greasing such a spring is
      much more easy.
   b. Shortcut: You can add grease to the spring without first taking
      it out of the barrel.  Most barrels had an opening called a
      graphite hole.  Wind up the unit all the way.  Take the plug out
      of the graphite hole and force in grease.  The original Edison
      formula, which I have used, contains 10 parts vasoline to 1
      part graphite.  Put the***back in the hole.  Let the unit
      run down, dispersing the grease.
  4.  Listen to see if the governor is in good shape.  When you play the
      unit, is there a high speed vibration.  If so, you may need
      work on the governor.  This is difficult.
  5.  If the turntable works (or the cylinder turns), then play a
      record.  What does it sound like?  If you hear a lot of
      vibrations, or if the sound is bad, you probably need to rebuild
      the reproducer.
   a. Rebuilding an Edison reproducer for a cylinder phonograph is
      ususally an easy job.  Kits cost $6.00.  A new sapphire is $30.00
      and is likely to outlast you.
   b. Rebuilding a Victor #2 (the most common) is not difficult either.
   c. Rebuilding a Diamond Disc reproducer is more difficult.  The old
      diaphragms take effort to remove without damage.  It can be
      done.  Kits are available.  New diamond needles: $60.00.  But
      the old diamond may be in good shape.  
   d. Rebuilding the Victor Orthophonic is very difficult and few people
      will touch this one.  Such reproducers (heads) cost about $100 in
      auctions.  Many were made of pot metal, and they are gradually
      falling apart.  
   e. Rebuilding other heads requires buying generic parts and doing
      the best you can.  
  6.  Ok, I don't know much about mechanical things.  What can I do?
      You can send the entire works off for repair and cleaning.  This
      costs about $150 for an Edison unit.
  7.  What about parts?  What if something wears out?
      If you buy an Edison or a Victor, most motor parts are still
      available.  As for the other units around, if something other than
      the spring is broken, you might want to look for a different unit
      unless you are handy around a machine shop, or are willing to
      pay to send the entire motor out for repair.

----------------------------------------------------------------a
Q3:  The dealer offered me a nice external horn machine.  Is
it a fake or a reproduction?  Is it as old as he says it is?

Answer:  Since external horn machines command a big price,
operators in South Asia has begun taking old motors and
remanufacturing cases to make 'new' old phonographs.  These
phonographs are often excellent in appearance, and come with
marvelous reproduction brass horns and often with good
reproducers too.  But their weakness is often the motor,
which is from an old portable phonograph, or even a
reproduction too.  The horns are pretty, and may be the
case.  If it works, a fair price would be $250-300, if you
are so inclined.  But be careful, because the tone arms are
usually weak, and the brackets which hold the horn to back
support are usually thin sheet brass, totally useless.  
For more information, see
http://www.FoundCollection.com/
This fellow hates such units and calls them Crap-o-phones,
or Merde-phones, etc.    The Crap-o-phones play 78s.  There
are only a very small number of 'fake' old cylinder players
around, but a beginner is not likely to be interested in one
due to cost and availability.  Be especially careful if you
cannot see the machine, as several have already been
auctioned on e-bay.  

----------------------------------------------------------------
Q4:  I just found some 'thick' records.  How can I play them?

Answer:  Many people think that the standard
78 record is 'thick.'  However, the really thick records
were made by Thomas Edison and are called Diamond Discs.  
They were made from 1912 until Edison closed his phonograph
business in 1929, one day before the stock market crashed.
 In their time, these were the premium records.  Do NOT
try to play a diamond disc record with a Victrola steel
needle machine.  It will ruin the record and it will not
play.  The DDs were recorded vertically, using the hill and
dale method.  They were played with a special diamond needle.
You can play such records today at 78 rpm on with a stereo
catridge using either the LP needle or a 78 (3 mil) needle.
Or, better yet, such records still work fine with an
Edison machine.

----------------------------------------------------------------
Q5:  I just found a "Victrola."  What is it worth?
Answer:  Most people use the word 'Victrola' as a generic
term, like Frigidaire is used to mean all types of ice box.
Most likely such a term means an upright machine made during
the 1920s and housed in a 'brown box.'  Since millions were
made, it is impossible to give a specific value.  However,
most upright Victors go for about $400 right now.  

----------------------------------------------------------------
Q6:  Where can I read about my Victrola?  Answer:
Buy the book "Look for the Dog" by Robert Baumbach.  It
lists all Victor models, starting with the open horn machines.
Some were quite rare; most very common.  Production
figures are given.  Buy the book from Allen Koenigsberg,
502 E. 17th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11226.  Phone 718-941-6835.

----------------------------------------------------------------
Q7: Where can I find out about record auctions?  Parts?
Supplies for old phonographs?  Answer: Join MAPS, the Michigan
Antique Phonograph Society, 60 Central Street, Battle Creek,
MI 49017.  After you join, purchase the Resource
Directory.  It lists hundreds of dealers and places
to buy records and get your phonograph serviced.  
It also lists other clubs.

----------------------------------------------------------------
Q8:  I want to buy an Edison Standard.  Can you name some
dealers in my area?

Answer: Generally the answer to ...

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