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 Post subject: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up"
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:39 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:54 pm
Posts: 2014
Make: Edison
Model: No model on ID plate
Serial #: X122
Year(s) Made: probably around 1915
Original Cost: Unknown; probably not sold to the public
Case/Cabinet Size: Case is a standard Amberola 1 cabinet in oak, but it never housed an Amberola mechanism
Turntable/Mandrel: 12” turntable
Reproducer/Sound-Box: Early style nickel-plated Diamond Disc reproducer
Motor: Type B (standard) Diamond Disc motor with black bedplate, probably from B250 stock
Horn Dimensions: Standard 250 Diamond Disc horn
Reproduction Parts: None; a reproduction grill insert will probably be ordered from Gramps.
Current Value: Unknown
Interesting Facts: This is assumed to have been put together at the end of the life of the Amberola 1 using current Diamond Disc motors and overstock Amberola 1 cabinets.

A similar machine was discussed earlier in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=6166

However, this machine has at least 4 significant differences:
1) The original Amberola decal is still present, but badly defaced
2) The original “divot” space on the right side of the cabinet is still present, and the “plug” to fill it is still attached to the lid
3) This machine retains 4 separate drawers
4) The bedplate on this machine is black and typical of the B250 mechanism with the sliding collar on the governor, but the support brackets are maroon(!)

This was probably a “mock-up” machine, made solely as an internal experiment as there is no falsework/trim around the bedplate, nor any holes to support the falsework, nor any sign of a volume control. This particular machine was certainly not intended to be offered to the general public, based on (among other things) the obliterated Amberola decal, and the mismatched maroon support brackets used to support a black motor bedplate.

The horn ferrule, crank, lid support and hinge, cabinet door knob, and lift mechanism parts are gold plated, but the reproducer, brake, turntable, and speed control knob are nickel plated.

The 4 drawers were all drilled for clips to hold cylinder boxes, but those clips were never installed.

Overall the cabinet is in quite good shape needing only cleaning and a small touch-up here and there, except for slightly buckling veneer on the lid top, which I will not attempt to fix. The motor is strong and runs at about 78-79 as is, but has only a single spring. There is oil all over the spring barrel from someone who attempted to lubricate the barrel with what appears to be motor oil. This is easily fixed. The early style reproducer has a good stylus but would probably benefit from a new diaphragm and gaskets.

The 4 drawers held about 75 Diamond Discs, almost all pre-war pressings in excellent condition and still in their original, mostly near-mint sleeves. More than half of the sleeves are the type with the descriptive narrative.

The machine had been in the seller’s family for at least 40-50 years. They had no idea how it was obtained.

While one can only speculate about how and why this machine came to be, it is nonetheless a fascinating example of Edison’s attempts to experiment and reduce costs.

Better pictures will be added as time permits. Apologies for the sideways shots - they show correctly on my non-Apple PC!

(And kudos to Fran for his assistance!)


Attachments:
File comment: Lid, showing defaced Amberola decal and "plug"
DSCN0492.JPG
DSCN0492.JPG [ 1.1 MiB | Viewed 1197 times ]
File comment: Close up of serial number plate
DD X122.tiff
DD X122.tiff [ 3.52 MiB | Viewed 1197 times ]
File comment: Close up showing black bedplate and maroon support bracket
DSCN0496.JPG
DSCN0496.JPG [ 1.08 MiB | Viewed 1197 times ]
File comment: Screw eyes near the horn pivot - any idea why they might be there?
DSCN0495.JPG
DSCN0495.JPG [ 1.16 MiB | Viewed 1197 times ]
File comment: Front view with door and some drawers open.
DSCN0494.JPG
DSCN0494.JPG [ 1.13 MiB | Viewed 1197 times ]
File comment: Front/side view showing louvers/vents
DSCN0493.JPG
DSCN0493.JPG [ 1.09 MiB | Viewed 1197 times ]


Last edited by 52089 on Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:40 pm 
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Victor Monarch
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
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Location: New York's Finger Lakes
Another fascinating machine, similar to Brad's in the linked thread. :)

Why the single mainsprings in both examples? Why the improper position of the Amberola decal on this lid? Why no conventional disc storage? Why...?

It certainly appears (although I naturally don't know for sure) that surplus parts were being used to make up working (but not particularly pretty) machines, and if the two known serial numbers are any indication, these machines were made up in significant numbers. Possible scenarios:

1) Sold directly by the Phonograph Division for cost (perhaps less) to clear stocks of unsaleable goods?

2) Quietly donated to civic organizations, hospitals, or charitable organizations?

As for the eyelets near the base of the horn tube, the same eyelets can be found on at least some B 250s and some Schuberts. I'm puzzled as to their use; especially on such divergent models.

Congratulations on obtaining such an interesting (and mysterious) machine! :)

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 4:58 pm 
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Victor V
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I'm Feeling Cranky
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 2363
Location: Finger Lakes Territory, RONYC
Thanks for posting pictures, Kevin!

Can you post a couple more of the entire motor plate with the turntable removed, and a close-up of the governor?

Also, are there drip pans under the spring barrel and governor?

A very interesting machine; I'm jealous!

Best,
Fran
Francis; "i" for him, "e" for her
"Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while" - the unappreciative supervisor.


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:47 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:54 pm
Posts: 2014
George - yes, very similar to Brad's but also very different! I am fascinated that this earlier serial number has a much later motor than Brad's.

Fran - thanks, I'll try to get to to those pics and answer your questions soon.

In the meantime, here are more pics, including a couple of it posing with its "cousin", my Amberola 1A.


Attachments:
File comment: Two Amberola cabinets, but only 1 Amberola!
DSCN0506.JPG
DSCN0506.JPG [ 1.08 MiB | Viewed 1125 times ]
File comment: Another Amberola 1 remnant - the slot should hold one of the motor mounts for the 1A/B motor
DSCN0504.JPG
DSCN0504.JPG [ 1.16 MiB | Viewed 1125 times ]
DSCN0500.JPG
DSCN0500.JPG [ 1.06 MiB | Viewed 1125 times ]
File comment: Close up of obliterated Amberola decal, large style.
DSCN0498.JPG
DSCN0498.JPG [ 1.09 MiB | Viewed 1125 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:19 am 
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Victor V
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I'm Feeling Cranky
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:22 pm
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Location: Finger Lakes Territory, RONYC
I find it very interesting that the serial number of this one is much lower than Brad's, yet the motor plate is of the later "black and red" finish scheme. I'd like for you to note the hand-stamped number on the underside of the motor plate just in front of the governor, when you find time, please.

Thanks,
Fran
Francis; "i" for him, "e" for her
"Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while" - the unappreciative supervisor.


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:02 am 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:41 pm
Posts: 1588
Location: Linden, NJ 07036
I wonder if another scenario could be that these were rejected cabinets removed from the assembly line. Then an X was placed in front of the serial number on the tag and sold to factory employees. This would explain why there was no model number on the tags. The employees then built there own machines. This could explain the differences in them. Also it seems strange to me that the Edison factory would take the time to build a couple hundred of these X-numbered machines.

Rich Gordon


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:07 am 
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Victor Monarch Special
Stop for a visit when in Oregon.
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:25 pm
Posts: 5008
Location: Albany, Oregon
An example like this makes collecting so interesting. We can all speculate but there is no purely logical reason for its existence unless the Diamond Disc mechanism is very early and it was a mock-up. What fun! I'm curious... whenever I've considered buying a big Amberola, I check the ID tag number against the number on the mechanism. They should match. You can continue that number search on the major cabinet parts and you should find the same number. If you check the cabinet numbers on the lid, cabinet, and door, are the numbers matching? Thanks for this thread.

Jerry Blais


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:42 am 
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Victor V
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:54 pm
Posts: 2014
George - I just noticed 2 more eyelets in the back of the cabinet. Their placement, and the placement of the other 2, suggests that they probably held some kind of wire or string to hold the horn in place while in transit from the factory.

Fran - yes, there are drip pans under both the spring barrel and governor. I will try to get pics for you shortly. I don't know if I can get to the serial number you want because I'm not planning to remove the motor any time soon. When/if I do, I'll let you know.

Jerry - this never had an Amberola mechanism so it probably never had serial numbers. If you can tell me more specifically where to look, I'll be happy to.

Rich - you may be onto something. One thing I had thought of is that the serial number was actually an employee ID number or code, not a real serial number. That would explain why we haven't seen anywhere near 1000 of these.

I've started cleaning it up a bit and I have to say it's the filthiest case I've come across in a very long time. However, underneath the filth is a very nice, shiny original finish. Should be a real winner when it's done!


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:15 am 
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Victor Monarch Special
Stop for a visit when in Oregon.
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:25 pm
Posts: 5008
Location: Albany, Oregon
Quote:
Jerry - this never had an Amberola mechanism so it probably never had serial numbers. If you can tell me more specifically where to look, I'll be happy to.


I understand it never had an Amberola mechanism. I was wondering if the cabinet parts had some sort of number. Thanks, Jerry


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 Post subject: Re: Featured Phonograph 126 - Diamond Disc/Amberola "mock up
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:11 pm 
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Victor VI
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Edison Records - Close your eyes and see if the artist does not actually seem to be before you.
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:28 pm
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very interesting indeed! My speculation is somewhat along the lines that others have mentioned. This was spawned from a leftover cabinet that employees might have been given for free or given at substantial discount. "Single spring motor and nickel reproducer, who cares??? Got myself a Christmas present for the Mrs." Who knows.

One thing this example does is reinforces Edison's willingness to cobble things together.

Here's one more example recently on eBAY, an A-300 with the drawers on the right side, unusual moldings and first rococo style grill.

And then there's also Featured phono no. five, a cobbled A-300 of sorts. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=537&p=75992&hilit=A300#p75992


Attachments:
A-250 side drawer 1.jpg
A-250 side drawer 1.jpg [ 149.08 KiB | Viewed 930 times ]
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