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 Post subject: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:30 pm 
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Victor IV
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
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Location: South Carolina
Okay, I'm sorry this one doesn't exist yet. I was thinking of phonographs the other day and got to thinking that a cylinder machine with an upright mandrel would be the most compact that you could build. Electric motor, amplifier, pickup, and speaker would help--or do like the old Atwater Kent radios and put the speaker on nine feet of cable to get it away from the machine. It would save vibrations.

Anyone ever seen such a thing with foreign machines?

I just happened to think of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:49 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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Who is John Galt?
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
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Location: New York's Finger Lakes
A vertically-oriented mandrel would have prevented the use of a loosely-mounted stylus/reproducer (which adjusts itself to the precise location of the groove), which was a fundamental part of cylinder machine technology from the 1880s through 1929. I'm not aware of any cylinder machines that skirted that design after the tinfoil era. (In practice, many tinfoil phonographs could be operated vertically...)

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:06 pm 
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Victor IV
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 1205
Location: South Carolina
OK. I was kind of wondering about building one. I have some old junk parts and whatnot, and like modern cylinder records, so was thinking of making an Art Nouveau styled cylinder player that worked vertically. Electric motor, of course.

But that with the stylus & reproducer, I couldn't figure out.

The only phonographs from Way Back When that I could think of that might have worked would be something like an Amet Echophone, with the long glass-rod tonearm running an extra counterweight. Maybe that would work--because the reproducer is way off to the side, and it pumps in the signal through that rod. Or maybe a Pathé Actuelle-styled tone arm with a crystal cartridge embedded where the sound-cone would be, and a diamond needle in the tip. (For indestructible records only.)

Or I was also thinking about the sort of leadscrew in a CD player, run by a stepper motor, but that's not enough compliance because cylinders can wobble some.

Oh well. Maybe this topic belongs in the "dreams about phonographs" thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:32 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:33 am
Posts: 224
I was lucky enough to get a Symposium Cylinder Player a few years back. It was built in the 1990's through an effort led by George Frow in England. Few were made. They are indeed a vertical cylinder playback machine! I tried to load a video clip of my machine playing, but it was too large and my whole message was wiped out, and I am starting fresh! The machine can play 2/4 minute cylinders and standard/salon/concert sized cylinders, using interchangeable mandrels. I love my machine! Go to this link to get more details about the machine: http://www.christerhamp.se/phono/symposium.html

I only use the 2 minute mode--and have only used 4 minute mode one time, as I have only 1 belt. It is a modern belt, with teeth to prevent slippage. I don't know if Eliot B. Levin or Patriek Zanas owns the machine pictured on the attached website, but I sure would like to get ahold of him, to see if he has found a source for the belt. Then I would feel better about switching the belt to play 4 minute cylinders.

Mike Sorter
Riverside, CA


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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:51 am 
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Victor III
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:18 am
Posts: 951
gsphonos wrote:
I was lucky enough to get a Symposium Cylinder Player a few years back. It was built in the 1990's through an effort led by George Frow in England. Few were made. They are indeed a vertical cylinder playback machine! I tried to load a video clip of my machine playing, but it was too large and my whole message was wiped out, and I am starting fresh! The machine can play 2/4 minute cylinders and standard/salon/concert sized cylinders, using interchangeable mandrels. I love my machine! Go to this link to get more details about the machine: http://www.christerhamp.se/phono/symposium.html



Interesting concept! Do you know how the tonearm overcomes the gravity to maintain the needle tracking? I have a modern (1982) Technics turntable that is designed to play in any orientation, either vertically or horizontally. Technics utilized gyroscopes to offset the gravity effects and maintain precise tracking even when we turn the player upside down. I wonder if this cylinder player uses a similar technique.


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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:23 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:33 am
Posts: 224
There are 2 small weights tied together by a string. At the end of the string is a loop, which goes in a grove at the end of the tonearm. There is a small pulley next to the tonearm, and the string goes over the pulley, pulling the tonearm lightly against the cylinder. Other people have who have used this machine say it is very finnicky. I have had no problems, but then again, I have not played that many cylinders with it. I wish the short video I tried to post would have worked--it visually shows everything in action, and a picture--especially a moving picture--says a thousand words!! It looks as if it would never work, until you actually get it going yourself and play a cylinder in person. You don't put the weights on until after the cylinder is in place. Or, if you were going to play a number of cylinders, you could leave the weights in place, but you would have to use one hand to hold the tonearm out, and one hand to put the cylinder on the mandrel. It is good for playing a cylinder with a tight crack, as when the cylinder is in place, you don't have to use any pressure to place it on the mandrel--gravity does that. Whereas if you are placing it on a horizontal mandrel, there may be force needed to keep it in place on the mandrel. John Levin's new machine, is of course, the best for playing anything with minimal intrusion on an original cylinder--or even the Archeaophone, of course. But this one puts very little pressure on the cylinder(meaning the weight of the stylus and tonearm on the cylinder), so it is my preferred way to play brown wax cylinders!


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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:07 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Posts: 238
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.
I have long had an idea in my head (which is where it has to stay, alas: I cannot build anything except in imagination) for a machine with a vertical mandrel. Besides the points already made, this would allow a horizontal motor with a flywheel mounted beneath it, thus giving it the same degree of pitch-stability as a gramophone motor and enabling it to run at lower speeds than usual if desired. This layout would also mean that the pressure of the stylus on the cylinder would be independent of gravity and could therefore be controlled, as precisely as might be necessary, by means of adjustable springs. I envisage a reproducer similar to that of a Pathé disc machine, complete with a simple push-in stylus.

My fantasy phonograph incorporates a four-speed gearbox allowing speeds of 40, 80, 120 and 160 r.p.m., with provision for fine-tuning within each range; at the lowest speed a fine-groove cylinder would play for more than fifteen minutes. The mandrel traverses vertically, like that of an Edison Opera rotated through 90°, so that the reproducer does not have to move. Other features include an air-duct to blow away swarf during recording and a gauge (what a clock-maker would call an up-down indicator) showing, as a percentage, how much the spring is wound. One day I shall get some drawings down on paper.

Oliver Mundy.


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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:16 am 
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Victor V
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:47 am
Posts: 2406
Location: Jerome, Arizona
There was the Scott Magazine Phonograph built in Los Angeles by Harry T. Scott. He built more than one, and I had hoped to discover one in the twenty years that I lived in Southern California, but alas . . .

I first learned of the Scott Magazine Phonograph when I found a want ad placed in the 1950’s by Oliver Read, co-author of ‘From Tinfoil To Stereo’, in which he lists a Scott as one of the machines that he was seeking.

Harry T. Scott also held French and Canadian patents for a phonograph, and an American patent for a disc record-ejector system, among a number of non-phono patents.

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https://patentimages.storage.googleapis ... 040032.pdf
https://patentimages.storage.googleapis ... 040033.pdf
"All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds." Richard Brautigan


Last edited by JohnM on Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:36 am 
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Victor Monarch Special
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Who is John Galt?
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
Posts: 5974
Location: New York's Finger Lakes
Thanks for posting this, John. If I ever learned about the Scott, evidently I had forgotten about it. ;)

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: Vertically mounted cylinder phonograph?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:05 pm 
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Victor IV
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 1205
Location: South Carolina
Thanks guys...the Symphonion is an amazing piece of engineering, and the rumors of the Scott Magazine Phonograph describe one over-the-top machine! It'd be cool to see one or the other in person one day...wonder if any Scotts survive?

Just glad to know my "new idea" isn't new, but someone has actually built something cool like it.


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