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 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:01 pm 
Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1642
I'm pretty sure that started out as one of the "assembled" gramophones produced for the UK market in the late 1920s through the early 1930s. The cabinets were made in the UK, and fitted with imported components, normally Swiss-made. There's a typical example, the "Supergrand," shown in this post -- viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3804&start=90

I'd guess that at some point, the original sound box and tonearm were replaced. I don't know about the motor, but the horn, itself, may be original. I used to own one of these, housed in a simpler, albeit more cheaply made Art-Deco style cabinet, and it came with a horn that looks to be identical to the one inside your cabinet--essentially, half a bifurcated horn.

From the standpoint of sound quality, the one I had actually wasn't too bad. I remember that it had a pretty nice treble and mid-range, much like a good quality portable model, but no match whatsoever for the similar size smaller cabinet name brand models produced by Victor, Columbia, etc..

BTW, is that an Underwood typewriter? If so, I used to have the exact same model. I bought it for $12 in 1972, and it saw me through high school as well as the first year of college. (My nephew now has it, and it still works, but needs a new or refurbished platen, which I understand a do-it-yourselfer can do -- ... er-platen/ )


 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:03 pm 
Victor II
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:41 pm
Posts: 491
I have the Viva Tonal 117b "Table Grand" (like the photo I use as my avatar here on the forum). It is dated 1929 in chalk on the bottom of the cabinet. It has a small version of the bifurcated horn and also has the plano-reflex tonearm and #9 soundbox. It also has a single-spring motor of Garrard manufacture. I have rebuilt the soundbox (the usual: gaskets, isolator, as well as a replacement aluminum diaphragm) and can say the reproduction is very good for such a small machine. Yes to the earlier observation/perception of nice highs and midrange sounds, but essentially it has only an illusion of bass. However, I find the reproduction very pleasant and particularly enjoy the crispness of certain instruments on (electric) jazz recordings. One can make out every note of the banjo accompaniment practically. I have an extra rebuilt #9 soundbox I'll be listing soon in the Yankee Trader. But, I encourage you to try to keep the components intact on your new machine; I don't think you'll be disappointed with the reproduction, once all is together, airtight, and assuming you'll do a rebuild of the soundbox. I admit to being somewhat confused by your horn picture though: Has it been sawn in half or is it just crammed sloppily into the cabinet and all of it cannot be seen? Best of luck!

~ CharlieP
A talking machine might be the closest you'll get to a time machine.

 Post subject: Re: A free Grafonola--or at least I think it is. Help?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:31 am 
Victor IV
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 1935
Location: South Carolina
CharliePhono--Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately the horn has been crudely hacksawed apart from the original bifurcated Columbia horn--there is even a bit of duct tape closing off the amputated side; it's something of a mess crammed into the old cabinet.

OrthoFan--Likely your Art Deco cabinet was an old Alba Gramophone c. 1930. Those are super cute and I always liked the look.

Yes, that is an Underwood typewriter--a Underwood Standard 5, to be exact, made from 1899 to 1933. Mine is made in 1912 and a good portion of it is in the top cabinet of my dresser awaiting reassembly when my new decals get in from the Netherlands. (It needed refinishing--someone redid it in the forties and it was a mess.) What can you expect for $25, though? Typewriters aren't cheap any more.

Estott--My inner Catholic agrees and says cohabitation is always a mortal sin!

A bit more Internet datamining turned up images of a Geisha upright model. The lid stay is identical to the one on my Frankenstein's monster here, a very unique lid support meant to be operated without being touched. Between this and the barley-twist legs I am thinking it's likely a Gilbert product unless the same metal bits were used by many other offbrand makers. In which case, who knows?

I am still planning to construct a better horn for it as the steel one has been hacked to bits by whoever did the conversion, and the reproducer is missing its thumbscrew and rubber isolator entirely and will be restored.

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