The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:50 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:43 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Leicester, England
Hello. Thank you for allowing me to join this forum. I've only recently began my talking machine collection and last week bought my first phonograph, a machine that has always fascinated me.

The one I purchased was a Columbia Model Q, and seems to be of the early type. I know these machines are quite common in the States but being from the UK it is a much tougher task to find phonographs since we didn't make too many of them, and phonographs can be quite cumbersome to ship across the sea. But either way, this one turned up in the UK and I bought it.

The machine is in pretty good nick and the mechanics all seem to work. The horn and box are present, and the box decal appears to be original and in very good condition. The machine is, however, missing the winding key and the reproducer and a drive-belt, which has been supplemented with an elastic band. Nothing too major so I'm optimistic that I can get it working.

What I'm really hoping for is some information regarding the history of this model and, most importantly, if my machine can be pinned down to a specific year. The serial number on my machine is 635831. There is no 1900 Paris Exposition decal on the box. Were all machines made after the exposition given such a stamp? And if so, does that date my machine to before the stamp was issued (i.e. 1900)? The main decal on the box is of the the New York, London, Paris, Berlin type, so could this narrow down the date? Are there any other features which could help pin down a date?

The horn is seriously interesting. Firstly, it is massive, nearly half a meter in length, and has a giant bell on it. The weight of it tips the phonograph over, so I need to prop it up with a rod. It has a maker mark on it for Hawkes & Son, Piccadilly Circus, London. This company made brass instruments in the early 20th century before merging with Boosey to create Boosey and Hawkes. The serial number on that dates it to 1920. The marked part seems to have been sawn off a trombone or something and welded onto a rolled sheet of metal to create a crude DIY horn. The fact that a phonograph horn has been made post-1920 is a good example of how some people still used phonographs over disc gramophones.

The mechanics of the machine itself, as briefly stated above, appears to be pretty crisp. I managed to wind the spring a bit and let it spin and it did so very nicely. But I need a proper winding key to be sure. The reproducer is also missing, but can be easily sourced online.

Apologies for rambling on for ages. But I hope you like my machine and can possibly throw some light onto it and give some infor about dating or other things about it. Thank you very much. Cheers :)


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:30 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
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Location: New York's Finger Lakes
Hello Josh, and welcome to the Forum!

Your Q is indeed one of the early style. The Q was introduced in early 1899, but the decal on yours dates it to 1901. The "New York/Paris/London/Berlin" decal variation was pictured and described in an article that appeared in the September 2016 issue of The Antique Phonograph journal ("Cylinder Graphophone Banner Decals, Chronology & Variations"). It's obvious that the 1900 Paris Exposition decal did not appear until well after the event.

You're correct that the horn was made from a musical instrument. The proper key for your Q is a solid flat design, as shown on the machine to the left below:
Attachment:
File comment: From www.antiquephono.org. All Rights Reserved.
Qs.jpg
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The original reproducer for your Q was also the angled model as shown on the leftmost machine above. However, the D Type Reproducer (original equipment on the machine to the right above) was a common upgrade made in 1904 and afterward.

Enjoy your Q and best of luck with your restoration. It should clean up nicely.

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:09 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:43 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Leicester, England
Thanks George, that info is extremely helpful. It's fantastic to be able to pin the machine to a specific year. It's quite nice to say with certainly that an item is x years old, in this case 117. That in itself is mindboggling, to have a piece of mechanical equipment of that age.

Yes, I'll try my very best to get it into running order. That is my ultimate goal with this phonograph.

Also, I paid £100 for this phonograph, is that a good price or did I pay above market value? There's no way I would sell it but it is good to know if you got a good deal or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:10 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:43 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Leicester, England
Also, is it a pretty common thing to find horns made of old instruments?


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:04 am 
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Victor I
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Posts: 162
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
Josh's machine is identical to mine (no. 647122), except that mine has the 1900 Exposition badge on the back of the lid. I have the earlier type of reproducer and the plain key, both as shown in the left-hand example in phonogfp's posting. It is a perfectly practical machine despite its small size; I have even made records on it, using a German EWC recorder. The motor, which is surprisingly quiet, will only play one cylinder per winding, but it does this very reliably even at low speeds (British Edison-Bell and Edisonia cylinders often sound best at about 115 r.p.m., I find).

I think Josh did well to find a machine so nearly complete and apparently free from rust for as little as £100. The improvised horn does not look out of character and may well have been fitted more than a century ago! My Q, which was ready to use but had a modern copy of the original-style straight horn, cost £220 last year.

Oliver Mundy.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:22 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 2:30 pm
Posts: 212
Location: Indianapolis, IN
$30 U.S. would be the cost to purchase the four 2016 issues of “The Antique Phonograph”, including the issue George references:

“Your Q is indeed one of the early style. The Q was introduced in early 1899, but the decal on yours dates it to 1901. The "New York/Paris/London/Berlin" decal variation was pictured and described in an article that appeared in the September 2016 issue of The Antique Phonograph journal ("Cylinder Graphophone Banner Decals, Chronology & Variations"). It's obvious that the 1900 Paris Exposition decal did not appear until well after the event.”

https://www.antiquephono.org/back-issue ... honograph/

OR

$50 U.S. for our friends in the U.K. to become members and receive all four issues of the 2018 “The Antique Phonograph” PLUS have online access to:

- Over 20,000 pages of scanned, searchable documents
- New Price Guide
- Valuable Book Features, with a new R. J. Wakeman book about to be published and another one in development – Supplemented with APS archive information

https://www.antiquephono.org/memberships/


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:11 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:31 pm
Posts: 222
Location: Barnsley , England
Josh Cattermole 1999 wrote:
Also, I paid £100 for this phonograph, is that a good price or did I pay above market value? There's no way I would sell it but it is good to know if you got a good deal or not.


It depends on how much you have to pay for a reproducer , originals are on Ebay US for between £140 to £200

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:44 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:43 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Leicester, England
Thanks again guys for you really informative and helpful comments.

Yes Oliver, I noticed your machine in a post not too long ago, it is really nice. The fact that your machine had a serial number close to mine yet had the stamp intrigued me, and made me curious if by studying various serials numbers on machines and the decals we might be able to create a rough chronology of when the stamps were introduced or what dates the various numbers were made on. Thanks for your compliments, the horn is definitely cool looking I think. I think you got a good price considering your machine runs well :)

rodpickett thanks, I'll have to look into those magazines. Thanks.

Thanks Steve. Yes, the cheapest original reproducer I saw was also £140, with a hefty shipping cost to transport it over the pond. I've seen repros for £70 but a repro just isn't the same as an original.

Thanks again for all your help. Still got a couple questions. Firstly, my horn is so heavy it tips the machine over. The photo I posted shows it being propped up with a metal rod, I'm not sure if it would play with that rod or tip over anyway as the horn moves along with the carriage arm. Any idea how I an fashion a crane or something to fix this problem? Also, how does the speed adjuster work? I thought these machines all played at 2 mins? I twisted it, trying to find out what it did, before I even knew it was a speed valve, now I'm not sure how to put it into the correct position. Cheers for any help with this.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:20 pm 
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Victor I
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Posts: 162
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
Josh Cattermole 1999 wrote:
Still got a couple questions. Firstly, my horn is so heavy it tips the machine over. The photo I posted shows it being propped up with a metal rod, I'm not sure if it would play with that rod or tip over anyway as the horn moves along with the carriage arm. Any idea how I an fashion a crane or something to fix this problem? Also, how does the speed adjuster work? I thought these machines all played at 2 mins? I twisted it, trying to find out what it did, before I even knew it was a speed valve, now I'm not sure how to put it into the correct position. Cheers for any help with this.


Until I recently bought a proper floor-standing crane, I used to support my two-foot-long brass horn on an ordinary music-stand. I already had a rubber connecting-tube between the horn and the stub in the carrier-arm, and this allowed enough flexibility to enable the bell of the horn to swivel on the stand as the carrier moved along. The motor did not seem to mind the extra drag at all.

The attached image shows my set-up for recording, with a Y-shaped connector which allowed me to fit a second smaller horn to pick up the piano accompaniment (delivered through the speakers on the right) while I sang or played my viola into the main horn. The theory was better than the practice; five minutes after I took the picture, the whole assembly fell off the pile of books on which it stood, smashing the blank and my one and only glass diaphragm. Fortunately the machine itself was and is none the worse.

As for the speed-regulator, I found initially that the highest speed the machine could reach (with the thumbscrew out as far as it could safely go) was about 127 r.p.m. – fast enough for brown-wax cylinders up to about 1901, but too slow for the last brown Columbias which play at roughly 140 r.p.m. Later I managed to increase the maximum to 133 r.p.m., but that was all. I have not yet been able to establish whether this machine should be able to run any faster; quite possibly not, since it was certainly designed and probably built before the speed began to rise.

Oliver Mundy.

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recording_setup_05.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Columbia Model Q. Looking for some information.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:53 pm 
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VTLA
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Josh Cattermole 1999 wrote:
...

Thanks again for all your help. Still got a couple questions. Firstly, my horn is so heavy it tips the machine over. The photo I posted shows it being propped up with a metal rod, I'm not sure if it would play with that rod or tip over anyway as the horn moves along with the carriage arm. Any idea how I an fashion a crane or something to fix this problem? ...


You can fabricate a floor crane from the bottom of a music stand (or bird cage stand) and building a metal rod for the top to hang the horn from. Another option - if you don't plan to move the machine around a lot - would be to simply suspend the horn from a hook in the ceiling. Either of these options should work until you find an original crane.

Andreas


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