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 Post subject: Artinola Phonograph
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:05 pm 
Victor Jr
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:45 am
Posts: 1
Happy New Year! New to the site as I was gifted my grandmother's Artinola Phonograph, model #185, and I could use some help figuring out how old it is. From the research I've done, Artinola was produced in the late 1800's in Texas but then moved production to Louisiana and Missouri because of cost and profitability. The turntable/motor was made by Artophone in St. Louis but I'm having trouble determining the exact date, my grandmother remembers receiving it for her 16th birthday putting it around 1934. Any ideas? Also, it needs some work, any suggestions or opinions about Wyatt's? I looked at Great Lakes Antique Phonograph but he's not taking on any work until after April. Thanks in advance! Nick

 Post subject: Re: Artinola Phonograph
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:10 pm 
Victor Monarch Special
User avatar
Who is John Galt?
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
Posts: 5724
Location: New York's Finger Lakes
Your Artinola/Artophone phonograph falls into the category of what we collectors call "off brands" of the teens and early twenties. Starting around 1916, as many basic patents held by Victor and Columbia were expiring, enterprising businessmen were starting their own talking machine firms. Most of the time, this involved having cabinets made up by a local furniture company or cabinet maker and ordering generic motors, tone arms, and other hardware from one of the several large companies that sprang up at around the same time. These small off brand firms proliferated like weeds in the economic boom of the 1916-1921 period, but most quickly succumbed to the recession of the early 1920s. There's no way of knowing how many of these small operations existed during the period, but research conducted by R.J. Wakeman suggests there were at least 450, and probably many more that couldn't afford to advertise beyond local newspapers. Mr. Wakeman's article on "off-brand" phonographs is on the Antique Phonograph Society's website in the "Introductory" category: ... j-wakeman/

The good news for owners like you is that your Artinola/Artophone is undoubtedly a rare brand. In the article I referenced above, the Artophone appears as #25.

The bad news is that, among off brands, "rarity is common." There are so many of these off brands - - many undocumented - - that finding an off brand is relatively easy. (Of course, finding a particular off brand can be almost impossible!) Among collectors, there is only marginal interest in off brands unless the machine has something distinctive to offer, such as an unusually ornate or unusually-designed cabinet, unique mechanics, or a strange feature (one off brand used a real conch shell for a horn!).

If you are a new owner, I would highly recommend you read through the Introductory articles on the APS web site (, particularly Basic Antique Phonograph Operational Tips and Collecting Antique Phonographs.

George P.

 Post subject: Re: Artinola Phonograph
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:06 pm 
Victor II
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 207
Location: Baltimore, MD
To add to what George said, the Artinola/Artophone company of St. Louis first advertised in Talking Machine World in January 1916. Talking Machine World was the trade publication for distributors of phonographs, parts, and supplies. You can read issues of it here:

In the years just before WWI, it seems that everybody and their brother got into building phonographs. Some collectors refer to these as "off-brands", which can have a negative stigma. Quality was all over the place, ranging from poorly designed and cheaply built to well designed machines that could almost rival products from the "Big Three" (Victor, Columbia, and Edison). Most brands fell somewhere in the middle. Even though there were hundreds of brands out there, probably 70% of them shared common parts from the same manufacturers. Some of these companies only existed for a few months, meaning there were likely only a handful of machines that were built.

Artophone was around through at least 1928, so they existed longer than most of the independent phono manufacturers. Therefore, most of their products wouldn't be as rare as a company that existed for six months. I'm also not sure if their products were distributed nationally or if they were more of a regional brand. It would be helpful to see a picture of your phonograph, as that would help us date it more exact. Phonographs of 1928 were a lot different than those made 10+ years earlier.

 Post subject: Re: Artinola Phonograph
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:16 pm 
Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1379
speechworker wrote:
Happy New Year! New to the site as I was gifted my grandmother's Artinola Phonograph, model #185, ...

Hi Nick:
I found a phonograph identified as an Artinola #185 on this page -- ... -429773273
2Capture.JPG [ 37.96 KiB | Viewed 165 times ]

Capture.JPG [ 34.4 KiB | Viewed 165 times ]

Is this like the one you have? If so, it was made during the late 1920s/early 1930s. It's very similar in style to the Brunswick Panatrope portables made at the time.

BUT, to add to the confusion, here's another phonograph, a cabinet model, also identified as the 185 -- viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9287 -- also dating from the late 1920s.

If you can post some photos of your phonograph, it would help.


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