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 Post subject: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:00 pm 
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Victor II
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 477
Location: South Carolina
So today I saw the workmen remodeling the hotel on Main Street in the town where I live. Up on the second floor in a luxurious suite, there used to be an old console gramophone for decoration, and I stopped the Phonomobile and went in to ask about it.

Yes, it was still there. No, they were keeping it...wait, what do you do for a hobby? You fix those things? Well, what is it worth?

I don't know actually--

Let's go upstairs and look.

After a nervewracking three-minute appraisal I figured it was worth very little (being a console model with very poor sound quality and a too-long crank handle) and we decided it was worth about $75.

And then the fellow offered it to me and I am now putting it in the queue to restore. After all, who am I to diss a free?


The machine isn't mint. The finish is nice, and will be conserved, (GORGEOUS oak grain) but the mechanism is giving me questions. It is apparently the split metal "stereo" horn of a 1929 Viva Tonal Columbia Grafonola--and the tonearm is a plano reflex model fitted with a No. 9 Columbia Viva Tonal reproducer. Brake levers and speed controls are all built into a chrome motorboard which was dropped in a la Brunswick--but it is too shiny for Brunswick. Probably a Columbia product. It does happen to run like a Garrard.

But the turntable deck doesn't want to come out of the cabinet. There are PHILLIPS SCREWS :shock: in the substratum of the machine, a large piece of green velvet nailed over a grille I don't even know if it's authentic. A side door is nailed shut and the record cabinet off to the side is possibly converted to a top-loader. I can see the records through the lid but don't know if this is normal.


The case looks like it could be a Gilbert, or perhaps a Columbia I never saw before. Pictures to follow.

Is there any documentation on British made Columbia Grafonolas, or is this a wild goose chase?


(The plan is at least to fix it up where it plays and looks nice, and then listen to my 1940s classical albums through that big old horn.)


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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:32 am 
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Victor V
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Posts: 2175
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
The plated motor board and controls are almost certainly by Garrard, but as their biggest customer Columbia usually had their own name stamped on the motors.

Pictures should help to identify the model, and whether or not the cabinet is the original.


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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:42 pm 
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Victor II
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:51 pm
Posts: 424
Location: USA
I have seen photos of a British Columbia console which sounds similar to your description. That one, however, had a decal on the inside of the lid. I can't remember the model number. I received information about it from the seller in a PM on the old OTVMMB before that board bit the dust and all board info was destroyed.

Please post photos.
Best regards ... AZ*


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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:13 pm 
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Victor II
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 477
Location: South Carolina
Here she is in all her questionable Brittanic majesty.


Attachments:
File comment: Side view.
DSCN0029.JPG
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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:18 pm 
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Victor II
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 477
Location: South Carolina
More pictures. Yes, I am going to fix the typewriter, and now I know where my shoe polish is on the desk.4

I am starting to wonder if someone took a Gilbert cabinet and put the Columbia movement, motorboard, and horn into the empty case. The left door has been converted to be closed. I don't like what they did to damage an original gramophone but I do think the little homebrewed mess is worth preserving because it's someone's conversion project.

The plan is to remove the remains of the original bifurcated steel horn (not shown because the remains might scare folks here on the Forum) and craft a fiber horn similar to what went in 1930s portables, then rebuild the soundbox, oil up the motor, and listen to my enormous hoard of worthless classical albums on this worthless machine.

Who says junk can't be classy? ;) :lol:

(Now if this is an original let me know before I get too carried away...)


Attachments:
File comment: Looks like a Grafonola 153A was sacrificed to make this machine.
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File comment: The deck.
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DSCN0030.JPG [ 3.2 MiB | Viewed 283 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:36 pm 
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Victor IV
Edison, Columbia, Victor, Pathé...and oddball makes
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:06 pm
Posts: 1043
Show us the horn! Don’t destroy it until you can find out what you have.


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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:59 am 
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Victor V
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Posts: 2175
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
This thread shows what a 153a should look like. Your machine is what we in the UK call a "Marriage", but it is still worth saving.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8447


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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:26 am 
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Victor V
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Posts: 2175
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
PeterF wrote:
Show us the horn! Don’t destroy it until you can find out what you have.


Here is one currently languishing on my workshop floor. Columbia described it as the "Improved bifurcated curvilinear stereoscopic horn". Technobabble is nothing new!


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IMG_1942.JPG
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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:16 pm 
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Victor II
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 477
Location: South Carolina
That's a nice horn--the 1929 Columbia 153A had one of those in it, but it got the chop to fit into this apparently Gilbert or Geisha brand cabinet.

Thanks for posting pics of teh 153a. That explains the long crank--it's original to the motor but is disproportiately long in the donor cabinet.

Here's what is left of my horn.


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File comment: Oh the humanity!
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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:21 pm 
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Victor VI
I have good days...this might not be one of them
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 3830
Location: Albany NY
This isn't a marriage- more like a cohabitation.


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