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 Post subject: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:26 am 
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Victor I
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Posts: 190
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
I may be rash, but I have bought the following:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-Garr ... 2749.l2649

Despite some slightly odd features, I believe that this is not one of the ubiquitous modern imitations; it is set apart from them by the large horn and the fact that the sound-box and motor both bear reputable names. Comparing the very plain cabinet-work with the good quality of the wood (apparently solid mahogany), I would guess that this machine was built in the 1930s by a reasonably competent amateur, who was prepared to spend money on decent parts and materials but who had no motive to produce something showy. (The tone-arm has some dents on its underside and may have been second-hand when used here.) My one concern is the peculiar angle, or rather no-angle, of the sound-box; however, I have got an unattached H.M.V. 5B which I can use if the existing Goldring unit cannot be induced to sit correctly.

I have longed for a horn gramophone since childhood, and at one time I actually owned a handsome H.M.V. Intermediate Monarch with a mahogany horn, but I must say that it came to be something of a disappointment over the years; the worm-drive motor was noisy, the small crank was quite an effort to use, the fierce quality of the Exhibition sound-box became unendurable, and I found on comparing the sound with that of a Model 101 portable (using the same No. 4 box on both) that the 101 had a significantly better bass response. I promised myself, therefore, that if I ever ventured on another open-horn machine it would have to be a later one, with a swan-neck tone-arm and the ability to carry a post-1928 sound-box. I cannot run to an E.M.G. or an H.M.V. 32. This anonymous machine, bought for a fraction of what either of these would have cost, may well be an acceptable substitute. Or again it may not. In a few weeks I shall know.

Oliver Mundy.


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:58 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:18 am
Posts: 916
It looks well done, much better than the frankenphones we normally see for sale. The arm seems to be originally a straight one, with a curved section soldered at the end, which would explain the overreach of the needle beyond the spindle. The motor is also a good one, normally silent. Please let us know how it sounds!


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:28 pm 
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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: 2484
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
I agree that the machine looks to have been well constructed, but I doubt that it is pre-war. The small single spring Garrard No.20 motor was mainly fitted to portables, and was produced well into the post-war era. Your case could accommodate a larger motor than this.

In the 1930's, apart from EMG and Expert's niche following, open horn gramophones were considered to be obsolete and of little or no monetary value. Only the very earliest such machines were beginning to be of interest to collectors. I would enjoy your machine for what it is and not worry about it's age.

As for the soundbox, I would sell the Goldring and invest in a Meltrope. It's rubber coupling can be turned to any needle angle you require, and the sound quality is the best you will find this side of an EMG or Expert. They turn up frequently on eBay, and the post-war Decca variants of the design are generally cheaper but equally as good.

Roger.


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:40 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 2:04 pm
Posts: 1500
1980's reproduction , the tone arm is a giveaway it has been cut , rotated and soldered , the winding handle is from a machine where the ferrule was closer to the handle , the horn is a weird home made job , plywood base previous use , B & Q corner mouldings , modern rubber feet ,


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:12 pm 
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Victor VI
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Needle Tins are Addictive
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:32 pm
Posts: 3767
Location: Belmont, North Carolina
Picture for reference...


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"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
Thomas Alva Edison - Comment to his assistant, Samuel Insull.

"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
My Wife
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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:21 am 
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Victor I
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Posts: 190
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
Thank you all for your thoughts. I am not greatly worried about the actual age of the machine, since it would in any event have been an imitation of an obsolete style. The horn is certainly rather ungainly with its combination of a petalled bell and a straight-sided conical body of pre-1907 type, but then my present H.M.V. 109 is no beauty either. I like the combination of a small 'footprint' (table space is desperately short in my house) and a large horn. At worst I may have to replace the sound-box (I did not know about the adaptability of the Meltrope and am grateful to Roger for this suggestion) and possibly the tone-arm as well if correcting the needle angle leads to tracking problems.

Oliver Mundy.


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:04 pm 
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Victor I
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Posts: 190
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
The machine arrived on Christmas Eve and has turned out very well. The faulty tracking position was easily remedied by introducing a wooden block between the back bracket and the rear of the case so as to move the whole superstructure backwards. As Roger had predicted, the Goldring sound-box proved unimpressive – thin and weedy despite its large diameter – but it was not difficult to make my 5B fit instead. I suspect that the tone-arm is the oldest component (1920s?) and that it came from a 'hornless' model, with the wider end facing downwards rather than upwards: hence the cutting and soldering. I believe that the back bracket, as well as the horn and the case, is home-made. As I thought, the wood is solid mahogany. I guess that the horn, with its rather unattractive colour, was intended to be painted with a grained effect to match the case, but that this never got beyond the first coat.

There are certainly some rough and awkward features. The top board of the cabinet does not open, so that the motor is accessible only from below (by removing two screws from a fairly thin base-board which then lifts out). The back bracket is slightly off centre. The greatest weakness, I think, is that the conical body of the horn extends right into the elbow and cuts off half its diameter (see the images below); I am sure this must injure the transmission of lower frequencies. I hope eventually to grind or cut away this redundant section; at the moment I have not got the tools for the job.

Despite these points, the performance is on balance an improvement on that of my old H.M.V. 109 with the same sound-box fitted: neither better nor worse in point of tonal range, but stronger and more immediate – which is all I had hoped for.

One last point. The Garrard No. 20 motor is a good example of its kind, well maintained and never producing the slightest bump or clank during either winding or playing, but it cannot get through a typical twelve-inch side without rewinding. I fully expected this, but naturally it is something of a bore. Can anyone tell me if the double-spring Garrard No. 30 would be a straight substitute? There is one of these currently on British eBay and it appears to use exactly the same brake and regulator, but if I would have to cut a new hole for the crank I would rather leave things as they are.

I must apologise for the coarseness of the following images. The lighting in my house, both natural and artificial, is appalling.

Oliver Mundy.

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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:40 pm 
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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: 2484
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
Your case has plenty of room to accommodate the extra depth of a double spring motor, and if the winding shaft is located at the same distance from the top plate as the No.20 it may line up with the existing winding hole. Any slight difference can be adjusted with rubber washers of differing thicknesses.

You might find that the spacings for the mounting bolts differ, in which case you would have to drill extra holes in the motor board, possibly including one for the speed control, but at least these would be hidden by the turntable.

If the motor board can be separated from the case without causing damage, it should be easy to hinge it at the rear and fit a small unobtrusive push button catch at the front, as found on many original open horn machines. Some also have a motor board support similar in design to the HMV 101 lid stay.

An interesting project for the long Winter evenings. Good luck with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:47 am 
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Victor III
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 901
Location: South Carolina
If you need a 12" platter with decent nickel I have one! Yours for the cost of shipping.

I also have a Viva-Tonal reproducer if you think you can adapt it on there. That would put your 5B back with its original 109.

The mahogany cabinet is a nice surprise. With any luck you might have a really unique machine--new, but all our antiques were new once.


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur horn gramophone, 1930s?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:20 am 
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Victor I
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Posts: 190
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
VanEpsFan1914 wrote:
If you need a 12" platter with decent nickel I have one! Yours for the cost of shipping.

I also have a Viva-Tonal reproducer if you think you can adapt it on there. That would put your 5B back with its original 109.


Thank you for your friendly suggestion. However, I feel a twelve-inch turntable would look out of proportion on this cabinet, and I might also have difficulty in repositioning the speed-control quadrant to clear the rim of the turntable. With a cardboard spacer and an unobtrusive wooden wedge I have stabilised the H.M.V. 5B sound-box at a reasonably correct angle on the existing tone-arm, and this is giving good results. (This box did not actually belong to the Model 109, which began life with a No. 4, a good specimen with a brass back; I have now reinstated this.) If I try another box it will be a Meltrope.)

I have bought the Garrard 30 double-spring motor which I have previously mentioned. My next problem will be to coax the turntable off the present motor; it seems decidedly unwilling to move.

Oliver Mundy.


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