The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:44 pm 
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Victor O
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:29 am
Posts: 85
Hi All, wasn't sure where to post this. I posted it in machines first but thought maybe it should be here. I have been collecting phonographs since the mid 60's and will be 57 in a few days. I bought what I consider a really neat machine on Saturday at an auction. Attached is a picture from the auction firm. I had never even heard of a Vitaphone before now. I have no idea of value since I have never seen one for sale anywhere before but think I got a good deal on it.
I have been using this forum as a guest for several months and immediately searched for information about these machines when I got home with it Saturday evening. (What a wonderful resource this forum is). I found a thread about them posted by Micamonster explaining how they work but unfortunately the pictures had been deleted. According to his description my machine is missing a waxed string that connected the stylus bar to the reproducer.
Does anyone have a close-up photograph of this assembly that shows how it all connects? I would love to get this wonderful old machine functioning correctly again. The machine has Type 15 stamped on the data plate and a banner decal on the top of the motor board that explains the licensing agreement (the dark area just behind the turntable).
Thanks, Rick


Attachments:
fi65.cgi.jpeg
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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:33 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:03 pm
Posts: 393
The Vitaphone "tonearm" arrangement is one of those things that seems to actually kinda, sorta work in spite of itself. It's a genuinely silly design. The wood piece that appears to be the "tonearm" is more accurately described as a gargantuan needle bar. The actual tonearm is the metal frame that supports the large wooden piece. The arrangement is supposed to work like this: The needle wiggles the ENTIRE wooden piece which is a lever that is fulcrumed an inch or so behind the needle. In other words, when the front end of the wood bar goes up, the tail end of it goes down, etc. Then the tail end is connected to the reproducer diaphragm via a taught piece of string. So the connection is pretty simple. There is a piece of string that goes from the center of the diaphragm to the back end of the wood lever. Then, because the diaphragm needs to be tensioned or biased in order to operate under varying tension from the lever, there is a bias spring down inside the cabinet that pulls on the string extending down from the wood lever. In this configuration, the system is set up for maximum response from vertically modulated records.

For playing lateral-cut records, there is a metal hook on one of the metal stanchions that support the diaphragm assembly. You are supposed to take the tensioner string that descends downward from the wood lever and thread it over this hook. This draws the wood lever and link to the diaphragm sideways and transforms the bias force from a vertical one to a lateral one. In this setup, lateral needle motion causes sideways tugging on the center of the diaphragm. This is a pretty poor arrangement in terms of efficiency, but that's the design of the thing.

The very idea that the needle vibrations could efficiently be conducted thru the entire length and MASS of this wooden arm in sufficient intensity to effectively wiggle the diaphragm is a pretty big stretch already when playing vertical records. But the sideways torqueing and twisting of the diaphragm when playing lateral records is really operating on a wing and a prayer. Consequently, and needless to say, a Vitaphone player is pretty inefficient and does not play loudly compared with other acoustic players. And verticals play more convincingly than laterals. I have a Vitaphone model 50 console machine and I find that it works better playing vertical-cut Pathé Sapphire discs than any lateral records.

Attached are two pictures that show the threading of the tail end of the wood lever. One picture is threaded for vertical play, and the other picture shows the setup for lateral play. Note that there is a small coil spring that couples the bias thread to the tail end of the wood lever. There is no spring between the lever and the diaphragm. I suggest using string that does not stretch to get maximum efficiency. Radio dial cord, or strong braided cord fishing line (not the stretchy monofilament type), or dental floss would be good in this application.


Attachments:
File comment: Threaded setup for vertical-modulation records.
VitaphoneReproducerVertical.JPG
VitaphoneReproducerVertical.JPG [ 101.49 KiB | Viewed 1551 times ]
File comment: Threaded setup for lateral-modulation records.
VitaphoneReproducerLateral.jpg
VitaphoneReproducerLateral.jpg [ 102.24 KiB | Viewed 1551 times ]
Collecting moss, radios and phonos in the mountains of WNC.
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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:21 am 
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Victor O
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:29 am
Posts: 85
gregbogantz, Thanks so much for taking the time to give me this information and post these photo's. They are a great help!


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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:12 am 
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Victor VI
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:14 pm
Posts: 3703
Location: Merritt Island, FL
Fascinating! I had never seen one before. McGravy, if you get a chance post a video when it is up and running.

Clay
Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume's Laws of Collecting
1. Space will expand to accommodate an infinite number of possessions, regardless of their size.
2. Shortage of finance, however dire, will never prevent the acquisition of a desired object, however improbable its cost.


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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Victor O
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:29 am
Posts: 85
Clay, I would love to but am not very computer savvy. I still don't have a digital camera but plan to purchase one soon since it would make it much easier to post photo's. I hope! I had never seen one before either.


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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:11 am 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:38 pm
Posts: 1087
Location: Plover, WI
Rick,
Nice machine!!!! I had one years ago. I used to have original brochures and other paperwork for Vitaphone. I sold the originals after making very nice copies. I will have to do some digging and see if I have any left. PM me with your contact information and I will give you a call when I find the brochures.


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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:45 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:03 pm
Posts: 393
I recently had some questions regarding the Vitaphone acoustic reproducer. So I'm adding a couple of pictures of my model 60 consolette to those I've already posted here above.


Attachments:
File comment: Vitaphone model 60 inside view.
Vitaphone60inside.JPG
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File comment: Vitaphone model 60 open.
Vitaphone60a.JPG
Vitaphone60a.JPG [ 91.01 KiB | Viewed 1061 times ]
File comment: Vitaphone model 60 closed.
Vitaphone60closed.JPG
Vitaphone60closed.JPG [ 89.31 KiB | Viewed 1061 times ]
Collecting moss, radios and phonos in the mountains of WNC.
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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:46 am 
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Victor III
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:03 am
Posts: 686
Location: near Utopia, UK
There was one on eBay recently, with some good photos: http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-VITAPHONE- ... 775wt_1170


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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:06 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:14 pm
Posts: 6
I added a Vitaphone to my collection a few years ago, largely because I live in Plainfield where the company was based. The machine I have had the end of the tone arm connected to the reproducer by a metal hook. What should this connection look like and how was it originally attached to the hole in the center of the reproducer? Where was the spring originally attached? Thanks, Bill


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3C6B0626-9F05-4E0D-8C35-A7AA6C62309B.jpeg [ 2.06 MiB | Viewed 179 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: New member needing Vitaphone help
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:47 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: 5470
Location: New York's Finger Lakes
On pages 196-197 of The Talking Machine Compendium, 3 different Vitaphone machines are pictured and described in detail. Also, in Discovering Antique Phonographs on pages 151-157, more Vitaphones are pictured and the history of the company is discussed in detail - - including the Canadian branch. There's no need for anyone to be unaware of Vitaphone, nor other obscure phonographs. These books have been available for years!

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=15832&p=91754&hilit=books+inquire#p91754

George P.


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