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 Post subject: Columbia gramophone question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:30 am 
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Victor II
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Location: Madrid, Spain
This gramophone is being sold near me, advertised as a Columbia external horn model. Price is 250 euro only, which makes me suspect. The elbow seems good. The crank estucheon is typical of Columbia horn models, but the crank... I don't know. The speed lever accuses a modern Garrard motor inside. The brake is loose, and is a generic one. The wooden case it's very beautiful, and seems authentic. The horn I don't know, it seems not Columbia original neither.... What do you think? It seems a parts composite...
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Inigo


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia gramophone question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:55 am 
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Victor I
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Posts: 169
Location: St. Albans, UK
I also think it is parts composite or put another way a frankenphone. Not Columbia. Someone has built a machine with an original Swiss/German back bracket, tonearm and repainted horn and used a later portable motor. The case looks recent to me maybe using some old wood. No dirt or dust in the edges. Can you see inside? Also the top isn't sitting right and is only fixed by 2 screws, there should be one in each corner.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia gramophone question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:43 am 
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Victor I
Keep winding up
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:58 am
Posts: 164
Location: Anywhere the Wind blows
As we all know, I am not an expert, far from. But I have purchased a few horn gramophones the last 6 months. I would however, have been suspicious to this one, the tonearm has a different tone/color than the bracket, and the top lid is also irregularly positioned on top of the case as one can see on the first photo.
I know nothing about horns belonging to Columbia or not, but the two factors already mentioned, would have made me step away. I also agree with jamiegramo, the wood looks suspicious...and yes..the crank/winding handle.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia gramophone question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:13 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Posts: 243
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
At least the horn is of a reasonable size. All the modern 'His Master's Voices' seem to have very small horns which are no longer or wider than the case below. I suppose this is done to make them easier to pack and ship. The sound-box, as far as one can tell without seeing the diaphragm, has a look of the 1920s and may be somewhat better than the cheap Thorens copies usually fitted to the modern machines.

The photographs suggest that the tone-arm may be too long, so that the point of the needle reaches far beyond the radius of the record; however, the images may be misleading. If this is the case, the fault could be corrected by mounting a wooden or rubber block between the back bracket and the cabinet so as to move the whole assembly backward.

It is quite possible, I think, that this machine could make a good workhorse. Last year I bought something rather similar, although not nearly so good-looking (see below), for GBP270.00 – knowing full well that it was not old and not a collectable item but thinking that, given a good sound-box, it might make a better player than anything else I could get without paying thousands of pounds. It has done so very handsomely and I now use it for all shellac discs; the horn, ugly in form but reasonable in size, gives more volume than I am likely to obtain from any table model, and I now run it with a Meltrope III box (the H.M.V. 5B shown was temporarily borrowed from another machine). I had to re-position the back bracket exactly as described above.

Oliver Mundy.

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 Post subject: Re: Columbia gramophone question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:58 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
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Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
The final UK Columbia horn model, the 2a of 1929, was the only one to have a goose-neck tonearm. It was the Plano-Reflex design, not the HMV lookalike on the machine pictured. Garrard speed controls are easily dated. Up to about 1927 they are marked 80rpm, and thereafter 78rpm. Just for good measure, I think the case is of recent construction.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia gramophone question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:21 pm 
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Victor II
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Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:51 am
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Location: Madrid, Spain
You've cleared out all my doubts. Thanks to all.
didn't notice at first the miscentered motorboard... It's a real pity! The Columbia style crank hole despised me!
Thanks again, nice bunch o'people!
BTW, for this price range one can buy an authentic Spanish 2nd brand horn machine unaltered...
Inigo


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia gramophone question
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:27 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:51 am
Posts: 405
Case was originally Parlophone but seems to have been tampered with - as you see its not symmetric. Motor probably replaced judging from the more modern turntable and suitcase style speed control. Nothing to do with Columbia.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia gramophone question
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:22 am 
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Victor II
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Keep'em well oiled
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:51 am
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Location: Madrid, Spain
What a pity to destroy an original Parlophon. These German machines were queens on their own, watch the ornated case... A member of the forum from Brazil I remember posted some interesting thread about a giant Parlophon he acquired and lovingly restored. That machine has the rare giant Parlophon motor enclosed in a chromed cylinder, which is a marvel on its own...
Resuming the thread, a franken, then...
Lurking thru Spanish sales web sites, kind of Spanish eBay alter egos, I've seen many franken horn machines assembled from old parts and cases, all very beautiful one by one, but assembled with little knowledge and no respect to the original machines, by enthusiastic antique dealers... It's a pity. It is almost impossible to know if a Spanish machine is original or not, or how much of it belongs t to the original Gramophone. An added difficulty is that Spanish models of main brands were originally different from those from the French, English or German stables. In thinking mainly of hmv branches, which assembled their own models with British hardware, but the cases and sometimes the horns, were built and added locally. This was very common until the mid twenties, when almost all models were more or less standardized to the British main line... probably since the 1921 line (when the new 32 and 34 motors appeared) or the 1925 line (with the new no.4 soundbox and new tonearms and internal horns). By then the external horn machine was already reduced to a couple models... I believe.
There were still several second local brands in Spain making Gramophones, horned or cased, and some of them are pretty good. The difficulty here is similar, for one never knows how much of the machine is original. The lack of original dealers' catalogues leaves us without a trusted reference. The antique dealers move id plates from one machine to another, change motors, add newly made parts, etc. You know the stuff... Only a very close inspection, aided by any available original makers' description or advert can tell the truth. And still you must fight with the dealers beliefs (or intentionally pushed lies) about the originality of the machine or its parts, and this if he (or she) allows you to touch the machine or take out some screws to see the internals... That's impossible! They force you to believe on their statements of originality, and are rarely kind or approachable... Rare exceptions exist, and these others allow you to watch and touch everything, specially if they see you are "in the know". These few are serious professionals... but I've met only two or three of those in my 41 years collecting experience.
Particulars... it's much more easy to deal with them. And if they are collectors it's a much better and smooth fine deal.
Inigo


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