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Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's
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Author:  jboger [ Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

Here's a picture of three different Standard Model A's. The one to the left was one of the first machines I bought. It came with a blue horn, which I still have, but with at least 50% of the paint gone. I have not had much luck with Columbia horns. The one in the middle was my next purchase (all three were bought a local auctions). It came with a green horn in nice condition, some paint loss, but a keeper. And finally the third one, the one to the right. That was bought about two or three weeks ago.

From the left, the first two have the address "200 Monroe St, Chicago" on their decals, whereas the one on the right reads "Dearborn & Harrison Sts., Chicago, USA". The speed/brake control are different on all three. The earliest one--to the left--has the plunger-type on/off control combined with a threaded barrel that adjusts the speed. Once the speed is set, one just uses the plunger to operate the motor. The middle machine has a sliding lever to regulate the speed. When the knob is slid all the way to the right, the platter rotates the fastest. However, there is a little screw there used to permanently set the maximum speed. When set at the right depth, it prevents the knob from being pushed further to the right. Finally, the machine on the right has basically the same lever-operated speed control but instead of a set screw to fix the speed at 78, there is an adjustable crescent-shaped piece that serves the same purpose--hard to describe but easy to understand.

There are other differences as well, such as the positions of the crank escutcheons. This of course reflects the fact that all three have different motors.

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Author:  fran604g [ Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

Thank you for your post, and pictures. It's very nice to have a well constructed, visual, as well as descriptive, reference.


Author:  jboger [ Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

Fran: Thanks for the kind words. I find myself interested in even small differences between examples of the same model. I thought I would illustrate some of them in the hopes that others would find them similarly interesting. My pictures aren't that good. I've been playing/fooling around with my camera's picture-taking parameters; some photos are better than others, but none of them is really any good. Anyway, I intend to take more (bad?) pictures an add them to this thread. I'm sure everything I post is already well known, especially to the Forum's gurus, but perhaps I can add value by posting information under one thread.

Author:  jboger [ Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

Here are picture of the three machines that show the different positions of the crank escutcheons. Also shown are the three cranks that go with these machines plus a fourth.

The top crank with the ebony-like handle is for the earliest machine, the model with the plunger type on/off control. The middle one is for the next machine; it has basically the same handle. This machine has a slightly taller case. And the bottom crank to the left with the oak handle goes with the late Standard Model A, the one with the largest case. Of course over time cranks get lost and/or swapped out, but I believe these three cranks are original to each machine. To support that, I show a fourth crank to the right of the bottom-most Standard Model A crank. It goes to a machine my brother bought. That machine is a late-model, outside-horn, no-name Columbia that has essentially the same motor as the late Standard Model A. It too has an oak crank, but with a longer crank to negotiate the large case the motor is housed in. This suggests to me that Columbia used cranks with oak handles late in the game.

Later I will take some pictures of the motors.

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Author:  Jerry B. [ Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

For a basic machine with record playing limitations the Standard Type A disc player turns up fairly frequently. Would anyone hazard an estimate on how many were made? What were the years that the records were made?

Thanks, Jerry B.

Author:  jboger [ Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

Reiss and others have pointed out that the promotion of Standard Model A and its records must have been quite successful. Of all the external horn machines I have seen over the past three years or so--and I mean ones available in my general area--the Standard Model A with the plunger-type speed/brake control has been the most common (not counting Edison cylinder players). Many of them have also been in not-so-very good condition having suffered years of neglect. This suggests that a lot of records must have also been sold. That being the case, I still find contemporary Victor and Columbia 78s far more common.

Author:  VintageTechnologies [ Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

My Standard A has the plunger switch; I did not know there were model variations, so this thread is interesting to me. I have seen quite few Standards, so they must have sold in large numbers. Were they sold through Sears?

Author:  jboger [ Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

I do not know if Sears was a distributor or not. I have read in various places that these machines were part of a "scheme" to sell records, that the machines were given away as a premium (or at small cost). However, due to the large size of the spindle, only Standard records could be played on them, thus guaranteeing a market for the records. They certainly do take records with a large center hole, but as for them being a scheme machine i have not seen or read any primary sources that reveal how these machines were distributed or where one bought the records. Was it all mail order?Perhaps there are contemporary ads in Talking Machine World?

Author:  phonogfp [ Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

Standard Talking Machines (and other machines of the later Great Northern group) were indeed "scheme" machines. A little over a century ago, the word "scheme" had not picked up the negative connotations it carries today. Back then, it simply meant "plan." Standards were sold for small amounts (or given away with the purchase of a certain amount of other merchandise) by retailers such as furniture, clothing, or grocery stores. These machines were "sales stimulators," bringing the machine's owner back into the store for records - - and presumably for other merchandise as well.

These machines were not sold through Sears.

As for primary sources, there are many still existent. Probably dozens of original flyers and brochures are illustrated in books such as The Talking Machine Compendium. On pages 132-133 the story behind the O'Neill-James company is described in detail, while photos of the various machines merchandised by the firm are shown on pages 133-138. A flyer for an Aretino machine is shown on page 137, and another for Imperial machines and "D&R" Records is on page 139.

In Antique Phonograph Gadgets, Gizmos, and Gimmicks, a number of flyers/brochures for Busy Bee, Englewood Musicalphone, and even Star machines are shown on pages 164-165.

A wonderful handbill for potential customers outlining the scheme to obtain a "High Grade, Natural Tone Talking and Singing Machine FREE" is shown on page 105 of Phonographica. And a period photo showing these flyers in actual use in a rather seedy-looking furniture store can be seen on page 55 of Antique Phonograph Advertising.

Many of us collectors have encountered the coupons given by these retailers so customers could keep track of how close they were to redeeming their free machine. A group of these is shown in one of the books, but offhand I don't remember where.

George P.

Author:  jboger [ Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Comparison of 3 different Standard Model A's

Thank you, George P. Very, very informative.

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