HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Discussions on Talking Machines of British or European Manufacture
Post Reply
Menophanes
Victor II
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:52 am
Location: Redruth, Cornwall, U.K.

HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by Menophanes »

http://sounds.bl.uk/related-content/TEX ... 0000A0.pdf is a complete scan (from the British Library copy) of a His Master's Voice price list for the 'New Gramophones' with the goose-neck tone arm and No. 4 sound-box, the first machines designed specifically to play electrical recordings. These appear in what must be their earliest form; thus the Model 101 portable is not only wound from the front but has a needle-storage box inside the lid rather than the familiar type at the front right-hand corner of the case. (I wonder why the earlier type was dropped? It has two compartments, so that one can carry two different grades of needle or else separate used from unused, and it is hard to see what drawbacks there could have been in this pattern.) It is noticeable that the two Lumière models, 460 and 510, are still listed. Prices range from GBP7 for the 101 to GBP110 (the price of a small car) for the electrically-powered Model 211. The document includes an insert dated September 1925 showing reduced prices for the previous range of machines.

It strikes me that HMV suffered from the typically British disease of offering too many models that compete with each other. Thus there seems to be very little difference between the Model 109 at GBP12 and the Model 111 at GBP16 (both in mahogany), except that the latter is half an inch longer and has an automatic lid-stay. (This afterwards found its way onto the 109; at least, my example has it.) Then there is the 126, which differs only in having four little feet beneath the case to allow room for two or three records, not to mention any number of spiders and woodlice, under the base-board; twenty pounds was the price.

I realise that many people here are probably familiar with this list (or else carry all its information in their heads!), but I hope at least that there may be others who – like myself until now – are not, and who may therefore appreciate having it brought to their notice.

Oliver Mundy.

User avatar
Steve
Victor V
Posts: 2021
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:40 pm
Location: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Evesham

Re: HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by Steve »

Thank you for the link, Oliver. I have original copies of most of these catalogues but not this particular one!

It's a curiosity that the Model 100 is still being marketed at this stage as well. The 511 is probably the best machine of this intermediate period, although the re-entrants would render all the "New Improved Gramophone" models obsolete very quickly.

User avatar
Steve
Victor V
Posts: 2021
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:40 pm
Location: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York, Evesham

Re: HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by Steve »

Note the pride in the statement about The Gramophone Company making all its own cabinets, motors and essential components at Hayes and not buying them in. How the world has changed since then. Not many British companies could make such a claim today.

I note the '126' had the No. 4 soundbox and thin bore tone-arm and yet I spied a '126' at the NVCF a week or two ago with large fat tone-arm and No. 2 soundbox! Did the model not change its designation to accommodate the updates?

Phono48
Victor IV
Posts: 1072
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 2:38 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Re: HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by Phono48 »

I understand that the reason the "in-lid" needle containers were discontinued was that loud passages of music could cause the needles to vibrate.

bulleid_pacific
Victor Jr
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:10 pm
Location: Somerset, United Kingdom

Re: HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by bulleid_pacific »

'New Gramophones' with the goose-neck tone arm and No. 4 sound-box
In fact the *old* tone arms were the goose-necks. The electrical ones are more commonly called swan-necks.....

Fascinating catalogue. The hilarious thing is that HMV had to keep secret the reason why the 'reproduction problems' had been overcome - which had a lot more to do with the introduction of electrical recording than redesign of soundboxes, horns and tone-arms. The truth was that all the record companies were keeping quiet about the 'new process' of recording in case they were left with shed-loads of unsaleable acoustic titles. So the details dribbled out over many months.....

shoshani
Victor O
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:52 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by shoshani »

bulleid_pacific wrote:
'New Gramophones' with the goose-neck tone arm and No. 4 sound-box
In fact the *old* tone arms were the goose-necks. The electrical ones are more commonly called swan-necks.....

Fascinating catalogue. The hilarious thing is that HMV had to keep secret the reason why the 'reproduction problems' had been overcome - which had a lot more to do with the introduction of electrical recording than redesign of soundboxes, horns and tone-arms. The truth was that all the record companies were keeping quiet about the 'new process' of recording in case they were left with shed-loads of unsaleable acoustic titles. So the details dribbled out over many months.....
The interesting thing about this catalogue is that, unlike Victor, The Gramophone Company took great pains to keep the external appearance of cabinets of their machines exactly the same as the old machines - right down to the louvers in the horn, even though those horns were now the "saxophone" curved type, longer and exponential in taper or close to it.

(I also like how the No. 4 soundbox is "an entirely new design". Well, not really; Harry Sooy came up with it in 1914 and then shelved it for eleven years.)

bulleid_pacific
Victor Jr
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:10 pm
Location: Somerset, United Kingdom

Re: HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by bulleid_pacific »

The reason the cases look similar is that thousands of unsold pre-electric recording gramophones in dealer's inventories were returned to Hayes during 1925 and fitted with swan-neck (instead of goose-neck) tone arms, folded zinc (instead of cast iron) horns and No 4 (instead of No 2) soundboxes. So it was an exercise in economy, really. I wonder why the situation was so different with Victor?

epigramophone
Victor Monarch
Posts: 4063
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Personal Text: An analogue relic trapped in a digital world.
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.

Re: HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by epigramophone »

bulleid_pacific wrote:The reason the cases look similar is that thousands of unsold pre-electric recording gramophones in dealer's inventories were returned to Hayes during 1925 and fitted with swan-neck (instead of goose-neck) tone arms, folded zinc (instead of cast iron) horns and No 4 (instead of No 2) soundboxes. So it was an exercise in economy, really. I wonder why the situation was so different with Victor?
The reason why Victor never re-fitted their older cabinet machines was that they never adopted the "saxophone" horn design. They went straight from the smaller horns to the Orthophonic, which required a range of new cabinets to house it.

It has been said that HMV only used the saxophone horn because they were reluctant to pay Victor for the rights to the Orthophonic, but eventually they fell into line with their Re-Entrant version. Then they had to completely re-design their cabinets.

Uncle Vanya
Victor IV
Posts: 1269
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:53 pm
Location: Michiana

Re: HMV gramophone price list, October 1925

Post by Uncle Vanya »

epigramophone wrote:
bulleid_pacific wrote:The reason the cases look similar is that thousands of unsold pre-electric recording gramophones in dealer's inventories were returned to Hayes during 1925 and fitted with swan-neck (instead of goose-neck) tone arms, folded zinc (instead of cast iron) horns and No 4 (instead of No 2) soundboxes. So it was an exercise in economy, really. I wonder why the situation was so different with Victor?
The reason why Victor never re-fitted their older cabinet machines was that they never adopted the "saxophone" horn design. They went straight from the smaller horns to the Orthophonic, which required a range of new cabinets to house it.

It has been said that HMV only used the saxophone horn because they were reluctant to pay Victor for the rights to the Orthophonic, but eventually they fell into line with their Re-Entrant version. Then they had to completely re-design their cabinets.
I suspect that Victor may have initially contemplated re-fitting some of the old style machines in their stock with Orthophonic mechanisms. In the spring and summer of 1925 (generally dead seasons in the US talking machine trade) Victor offered all machines in their stock (and in their dealers and jobbers stocks) for 50% of list price. The principals of the firm were both surprised and gratified by the public response. Note that virtually every old style machine was sold out by mid-afternoon, and shortages of machines were reported in some cities in the run-up to Victor Day.

The small, "Western Electric" folded horn, as used in the Consolette appears to have been designed to fit the most popular of the old style cabinets. In years past I have actually transplanted mechanisms with great success (I had a room where a VV-400S looked well, but where an Orthophonic machine would have better suited my needs) With little effort one may install an Orthophonic mechanism in the 230, 330,300,410,405,400, and all of the other late machines with the large horn. If the work is done correctly it is entirely reversible.

Post Reply