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 Post subject: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:21 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:47 am
Posts: 2389
Location: Jerome, Arizona
Make: Biggs Record Player Co., Richmond, Virginia
Model: Castle Grand
Serial #: 1900
Year(s) Made: 1919-1921(?)
Original Cost: Unknown, but must have been expensive!
Case/Cabinet Size: Huge! 39"w x 24"d x 41" t
Turntable/Mandrel: 12"
Reproducer/Sound-Box: Generic; mica diaphragm; lateral/hill & dale combination
Motor: Generic 4-spring
Horn Dimensions: 15" x 8" opening, but very long, wooden
Reproduction Parts: None
Current Value: ?
Interesting Facts: A huge machine (a Credenza is 29.75" wide by comparison). Horn opening is under the lid near the turntable so must be played with lid open for volume -- lid is spring-supported and infinitely adjustable; large wooden needle disposal box with slot in top; well-made flame mahogany veneer cabinet with frame-and-panel back, and inlay in inset panels top of front above doors; bi-fold front doors open to reveal numbered storage for 126 records (10" or 12") -- pulling a brass handle located at either end of the record storage area tumps all record in that row forward to facilitate selection and retrieval. A decal near the bottom states: "Biggs Record Cabinet/Patented December 1919". A very weird and over-the-top machine likely produced for the local market in and around Richmond, Virginia. One can almost smell the Southern gentility of it!


Favorite Characteristics: The size, the strangeness.

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"All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds." Richard Brautigan


Last edited by JohnM on Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:00 am, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:44 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:07 am
Posts: 959
Wow, that really huuuuge, the cabinet it almost big enough to carry the collector with his records. ;)
A really nice machine!


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Victor IV
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Invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:37 pm
Posts: 1008
Location: Frederick Maryland
Nice machine there John. It's really nice to see other machines, besides those made by Edison, Victor, HMV, and Columbia.


Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:53 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:22 am
Posts: 1001
Yup! Never seen this machine, thanks for sharing!

The whole point of closing the lid is to reduce surface noise, no? So, I wonder why it was designed in this way. That is record storage all along the entire cabinet and it doesn't interfere with the horn? The horn must be small for a Credenza-sized cabinet.

...well, it is beautiful... how does it sound?


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:35 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:47 am
Posts: 2389
Location: Jerome, Arizona
It sounds OK. The reproducer has a mica diaphragm. However, as you noted, the whole point of putting the lid down is reducing surface noise. The sound does bounce off the open lid and radiates nicely into the room.

I think I'd like to be buried in it.

John M
"All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds." Richard Brautigan


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:10 am 
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Victor I
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:02 am
Posts: 160
Location: In the land of Pork & Bergman
What a machine! Very nice, powerful design to the cabinet.
Is the horn folded in any way or just long & windling?

I just love those oddities. You showed the shell-o-phone before, have you actively searched for these oddball machines & or have they just "popped up" in front of you.

Anyway, thanks for sharing.
Searching for The Sound


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:09 am 
What a great machine and a unique design (for the size of cabinet). I would add that they really have used the natural wood grain to the best effect on the cabinet. It really is lovely to look at. The condition also is really nice too.

RJ 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:13 am 
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Victor V
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:47 am
Posts: 2389
Location: Jerome, Arizona
Thank you all for the compliments on this machine.

The horn does a 180-degree arc about half the depth of the cabinet and gets larger as it heads for the grill, of course. It is not a symmetrical turn as the turn of the inner horn wall is more acute than the arc of the outer horn wall. One of the record tumping pulls is not working correctly after moving it from our other house to the shop yesterday, so I'll pull the back panel when I return from Union in order to fix it. When I do, I'll photograph the inside and post that so you all can see the horn as well.

As far as your question about strange machines, B.B.B., I can only say that after collecting for 42 years, I tend to favor the odd and exotic. My current collection is not very large (about 20 machines) and I'm not a 'completist' who wants to have one of everything in every finish (not that there is anything wrong with that), but I do have a few unusual specimens. I suppose one could say that many of these machines have 'popped up', but chance favors the prepared mind. I am always actively searching antique shops, flea markets, garage sales, local auctions, Craigslist, etc., and I believe that gold is where you find it. I like the thrill of the hunt, and prefer to find this stuff 'in the wild' and (hopefully) rescue it from the unwashed. I've been very blessed by the phonograph gods over the years in what I've found. As much as I'd like to have one, anymore, I'm not after the Bettini attachments as much as I'd like to have a glass Kurtzmann 'Studio' or a 'Ceramiphone' with a ceramic horn (made in East Liverpool, Ohio, in the heart of America's pottery industry).

Prompted by your post, I already have selected the next machine I'll post on 'Featured Phonograph' when my turn comes again! One-of-a-kind with celebrity provenance - - - it's a duesy!!!

Again, thanks for the compliments on the Biggs Castle Grand!

John M
"All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds." Richard Brautigan


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:44 am 
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Victor II
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Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:10 pm
Posts: 287
Location: Kristiansand, Norway
Thank you for posting this amazing phonograph! It is indeed huge.
There are so many beautiful off brand machines out there.

Paal.


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph № 21
PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:46 pm 
Hi All,
This unit is very interesting-while I am an art restorer by profession my first love was selling Hi-Fi stereo equipment in the 60's and early 70's. Popular electronics had a great writer by the name of David B. Weems that did an outstanding series of articles about speaker systems based on information that he gathered from the US copyright dept. I had build a number of those systems much to the chagrin of my parents and later of my very young wife. One of those systems as I remember had a 10" speaker the was faced straight up in a cabinet to reflect the sound off a hinged top just as this phonograph does. It could be "tuned" by the angel of the lid to fit room acoustics. It did really work quite well and I think that it was called Mr Thouris magic box... or maybe that was another one that I built. Our house was littered with systems as I chased the perfect speaker system. And that is why my wife says that I have progressed from Hi Fi to Lo Fi with my new hobby.
Abe


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