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 Post subject: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:38 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1098
I was culling thorough some old files I downloaded several years ago, and came across this --

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-- which describes the testing of the giant horn gramophone designed by the late Douglas Fitzpatrick.

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It was noted that the gramophone performed unsatisfactorily, most likely due to missing components, and possibly the acoustics of the room where it is now housed.

I'm wondering if any more work was done to try to restore it to it's original operating potential.

OrthoFan


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:27 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:46 pm
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Location: riverside calif
It reads like there were too many cooks working on the stew. Too bad it did not produce good sound. It looks like it wood be better than a boom box. Interesting article. Tom B


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:33 am 
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Victor IV
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
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Location: UK
Douglas Fitzpatrick (1908-1986) lived at Sheringham Hall, Norfolk, with his partner. On the death of his partner the property was bequeathed to the National Trust and had to be cleared. The gramophone was dismantled and re-assembled as part of the Bygones Collection at nearby Holkham Hall.

Much work and research has since been carried out by UK members of this Forum, who are better qualified than myself to take up the story.


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:00 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 553
Location: Italy
At least judging by the pictures the duct has irrational restrictions and awful joins, so although I'm a bit surprised that these defects may lead to a sound as unsatisfactory as described, on the other hand it's pretty easy to see what and why should be improved. Also, there is no need of math experts to verify wether or not the contour of the horn respects or not an exponential or a tractrix function. (By the way, pictures are more than enough to immediately reckon that it doesn't).

It is beyond my comprehension why the original builder felt the need to perforate the floor and have the duct going downstairs and then upstairs again. It looks not only absolutely nonsense, but also useless.


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:07 am 
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Victor IV
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Posts: 1779
Location: UK
It also meant that the floor had to be relaid once the gramophone had gone!


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:26 am 
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Victor V
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Location: Delaware
With the actual gramophone sitting right in front of such a large horn opening, wouldn't that negatively affect the playing of a record? Vibrations, feedback loop, etc? I am not a sound engineer, so hoping someone more qualified could elaborate.

Andreas


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:33 pm 
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Victor II
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Location: Hampshire, England.
This gramophone has now been beautifully and expertly restored and lives in a special building constructed to house it. Every detail has been attended to and the result, both visually and acoustically, is most impressive.

The reason that performance previously was less than ideal turned out to be that three bats had crawled up into the smallest part of the horn and died, completely blocking the conduit where they could not be seen from either end, with rather deleterious effects on sound output. In fact, it was really amazing that any sound was heard at all !

The performance can now be described as akin to that heard from a re-entrant horn where sound output is diffused as opposed to being highly directional. The room constructed for this behemoth is identical in every respect to the original location in Sheringham Hall---even down to the decorative wallpaper which was printed especially for the purpose. A magnificent achievement.

The gramophone is entirely acoustic and spring driven---nothing electrical at all---thus "feedback loops" etc are of no relevance.


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:37 pm 
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Victor IV
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Thank you for sharing this story with us, Graham. I'm pleased to hear that the gramophone will now be safe for future prosperity and can be heard in all its original glory.

Shame about the poor old bats though!


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:52 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1098
emgcr wrote:
This gramophone has now been beautifully and expertly restored and lives in a special building constructed to house it. Every detail has been attended to and the result, both visually and acoustically, is most impressive.

The reason that performance previously was less than ideal turned out to be that three bats had crawled up into the smallest part of the horn and died, completely blocking the conduit where they could not be seen from either end, with rather deleterious effects on sound output. In fact, it was really amazing that any sound was heard at all !

The performance can now be described as akin to that heard from a re-entrant horn where sound output is diffused as opposed to being highly directional. The room constructed for this behemoth is identical in every respect to the original location in Sheringham Hall---even down to the decorative wallpaper which was printed especially for the purpose. A magnificent achievement.

The gramophone is entirely acoustic and spring driven---nothing electrical at all---thus "feedback loops" etc are of no relevance.


MANY THANKS for the progress report. I'm glad to hear that the problem was simple, albeit rather gross. (I guess it could have been worse, they might have discovered the mummified remains of the "old mouser" who roamed aroud the estate and mysteriously disappeared shortly before the gramophone was removed. :o )

I'm hoping now that someone posts a YouTube video of this remarkable machine.

OrthoFan


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 Post subject: Re: Status of Douglas Fitzpatrick‟s Gramophone
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:10 pm 
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Victor III
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Location: near Utopia, UK
The other thing to mention from the technical standpoint is that the original design (which had substantial input from Percy Wilson) has been restored. When assessed in its unfortunate state a few years ago, there was evidently a mismatch between original sections and later modifications by Fitzpatrick.

The lengthened section plunging under the floorboards was one of these modifications. According to one source, in this configuration he thought it sounded best with a spoonful of oil sitting at the lowest point - perhaps a similar effect to the Columbia plano-reflex tonearms?!


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