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 Post subject: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:17 am 
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Victor IV
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99% of the time when I see an Edison Amberola 30 for sale I yawn and move on quickly. I'm sure many others here agree. They had a nice long production span and many have survived in varying condition.

This said, however, I was recently perusing estate auctions within a reasonable driving distance and when I saw the one (and only) picture of an Amberola 30 to be sold at the auction I said to myself, "Wait a minute...THAT is one of the extremely LATE Amberola 30's that I've been looking for all these years!". And it actually LOOKED in pretty decent condition.

So I bid on it and now, happily, own it. I've owned probably twenty Edison Amberola 30's over the years and have retained only five. Two of which are very early with the nice bed plate and gear cover pin striping and nickel plated reproducer. The others are later and commonly found.

But...the extremely late Edison Amberola 30 with the very plain cabinet with its rather homely plain bottom molding and very plain lid has eluded me for many years until this recent acquisition.

The serial number on this is very high indeed: 224685 surely making it one of the last Edison Amberola 30's manufactured and known. That's what I think anyway. ;)

It's obvious that at the time (say, circa 1925) that this one was manufactured, Edison had drastically cheapened the cabinet and lid to reduce production cost. We can also presume that customer interest in purchasing ANY cylinder phonograph had to have been almost non-existent as well. To Edison's credit, though, his Company continued making cylinders for those who already owned a 4-minute Edison. But who would want to buy a cylinder phonograph at this time? Likely few.

Aside from the unusually plain cabinet, this one has at least one other very unusual component:

A COMPLETELY nickel plated mandrel! What the heck? I was stunned when I noticed it. All other Edison Amberola 30's that I've ever seen have the dull grey end piece at the large end of the mandrel that engages with the 4 mandrel gear leaf springs for mandrel rotation stability. Also, this one uses 3 VERY long screws that thread into 3 (el cheapo!) wooden triangular wedges inside the cabinet to secure the bed plate and motor assembly.

Amazingly, the original oak veneer is pretty nice on this. The late model Amberola 30's are almost always found with at least one or more chips of veneer missing on the lid and/or the front sides.

One odd design flaw this has is that the lid is difficult to lift!! The lid design was cheapened to remove the 'lip' that protrudes slightly on most other Amberola 30 lids so the user can get their finger and thumb under to lift the lid. Without the lid 'lip', the lid meets flush with the cabinet bottom and so the unfortunate user is required to push inward (awkwardly) with the thumb and fingers on the lid edge to lift it off the cabinet bottom! I can imagine a customer walking into an Edison phonograph dealer at this late time and I'd presume that ALL of the Edison Amberola 30's were OPEN already. Joe Customer looks and listens and (hopefully) buys. Then gets it home and tries to lift the lid to play it. Dohhh! :shock:

I've always been interested in very early production models as well as very late production models so this one, in spite of its clearly cheapened construction, will hold a respectable place in my collection.

Anyway, I wanted to share this with you folks and would be most grateful to hear from anyone else who has an extremely late Amberola 30 like this so we can compare notes! It plays great by the way. :)

Thanks,
Doug


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 Post subject: Re: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:22 am 
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Victor V
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Thank you Doug, for the education. Your new very late 30 is very interesting.

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: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:31 pm 
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Victor III
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
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That's a really neat machine.

I have #229834, which is about 5000 later. I bought it as a totally original piece, unmolested except by time. The molding on it was the typical curvy type, and the lid has the little lip to make it easy to lift. Also, the mandrel has the dull gray rim around the edge. In other words, it looks just like all the rest of 'em.

Yours might be an experiment? It's really neat-looking.


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 Post subject: Re: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:43 pm 
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Victor V
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Location: NW Indiana B-19;VV-IV; VV-VI;VV-XVI; Edison Home B; Amberola 30; Col. BK; Magnola;
I like the nickel mandrel. I am thinking this may have been a rare experiment machine where this may be the only one or one of a few that were produced to cut costs.

Is the motor quiet? or is it noisy? I have an earlier model and it’s rather noisy.


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 Post subject: Re: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:12 pm 
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Victor V
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I'm not trying to be the dissenting voice here, but I wonder just what the Edison Co. could've thought was worthwhile to experiment about, with an Amberola at such a late period in its history. I don't know why this particular 30 cabinet is so different from the norm, but considering the company was constructing even Diamond Disc Phonographs piece-meal in the latter part of the 1920's, wouldn't it make more sense that perhaps there was an order for one 30, and the cabinet company that was currently constructing their other models may have been enlisted to build this one?

That might make a little more sense. As for the mechanism differences, that's a mystery that would be wonderful to unravel, too.

Best regards,
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: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:27 pm 
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Victor IV
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I have to agree with Fran on this that it wouldn’t make sense to be experimenting on the Model 30 that late into production. Also with a machine 5000 later the same as all the other earlier machines. Sounds more like something that a very handy person did on thier own.

Rich Gordon


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 Post subject: Re: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:32 pm 
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Victor V
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A strange coincidence just occured with me...I went to another post that was under "View New Posts", and the very first image shown in the Shorpy link is (I believe) a photo of this same cabinet Amberola! Isn't that a strange thing? Pretty cool!

http://forum.talkingmachine.info/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=38937

Best,
Fran


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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: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:37 pm 
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Victor IV
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Thanks for all of the kind as well as interesting comments thusfar! I was hoping that this little guy would stir up some good commentary!

I'm 99% confident that the mandrel was not removed and nickel plated after purchase by anybody. It was surely done at the Edison factory.

VanEpsFan1914 wrote:
I have #229834


That seems incredible to have such a vast difference (more than 5000 made) between mine (what I had presumed was one of the last Amberola 30's to roll off the production floor) and yours! Would you please post a picture of your ID plate and maybe one or two of the phonograph? I'm also amazed that yours is in the more commonly found cabinet and lid.

I've seen quite a few Amberola 30's and had presumed that mine was at or near the end of Amberola 30 production.

Victrolacollector wrote:
I like the nickel mandrel. I am thinking this may have been a rare experiment machine where this may be the only one or one of a few that were produced to cut costs. Is the motor quiet? or is it noisy? I have an earlier model and it’s rather noisy.


I like the look of the completely nickel mandrel as well! The motor on this one is pretty quiet when running. I have only one in the collection with a quieter motor. Thankfully, I don't think this one has many 'miles' on it. ;)

I have included a picture of the inside cabinet showing the (El Cheapo!) wooden wedge supports for the motor. The inside of the cabinet was very dirty as you can see. The horn itself is still a little dirty. Also a picture of the underside!

I forgot to mention that this came with a few cylinders (only 15 or so). And you know that old phonograph collector proverb: If you ever find a LATE Edison phonograph...you MIGHT GET LUCKY and also find some LATE Edison records (cylinder or disc!) with it! :) But, unfortunately, the original owners apparently enjoyed mostly ( pardon me while I yawn :lol: ) tunes: Sacred selections, Manuel Romain / Will Oakland / George Ballard stuff) but there WERE a few later 5000 series cylinders mixed in as well. But no Fox Trots. As with the Amberola 30, they took pretty good care of the cylinders - but the late Blue Amberol boxes had no lids. And there was one 2 minute Indestructible cylinder. :? Probably a friend gave it to the original owners or maybe the auctioneer had it laying around and tossed it in with the machine.

Doug


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 Post subject: Re: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:05 pm 
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Victor IV
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If you click on the picture that Fran graciously posted (above) and click on it again after it re-opens to zoom in and then hold down on your Control-Key while clicking the '+' sign several times on your keyboard to REALLY ZOOM IN even closer you will be able to see the large mandrel end has a bit of shine to it like mine. The common issue Amberola 30/50/75 mandrel has a very dull grey piece at the large end. I don't believe it would ever produce any sort of shine no matter how much polishing is attempted. Maybe I'm way off here but my thought is that SOME of the very late Amberola 30's in the very plain cabinet were manufactured with the unusual nickel mandrel. Maybe to inspire sales? ;)

Doug


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 Post subject: Re: The Last Known Edison Amberola 30? Maybe...Maybe Not?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:23 pm 
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Victor V
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Thanks Doug, for posting detailed photos of this interesting machine. I can't quite make out the form no. of the Cabinet factory no. tag on your 30's bottom. Could you please tell me what it is? I loosely follow the factory nos. of the Disc models, in the hope that at some point in the future we can put the actual manufacturer's identities to the codified tags.

Thank you kindly,
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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