Page 1 of 1

Gramophone seen in a dream

Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 8:58 am
by Menophanes
This is about a gramophone that does not exist. However, if it did it would certainly belong in this section of the forum, and I hope that will serve as an excuse for describing it here.

A few nights ago I had a very vivid dream in which I was accompanying some [unidentifiable] friends who were browsing in an outdoor antique and second-hand market. Somewhat oddly, the goods were not set out on tables but housed in a row of tall metal filing-cabinets. I opened a drawer in one of these and found it almost entirely filled by what was obviously a portable gramophone of about 1930. Regardless of my friends' lack of interest, I hauled it out, not without difficulty. It seemed very light and for a moment I feared that what I had found was merely an empty case, but it soon proved to be complete and able to run. I saw it so clearly, and it had so many distinctive features, that I felt it would be a shame to let this product of my unconscious imagination fade away in memory. Accordingly I have made a drawing of it in some detail, and this is attached.

The case, which seemed in exceptionally good condition, was somewhat longer (from front to back) than usual and was covered with a black material or paint of a crinkled texture, rather like that often seen on old cameras or field-glasses. The lid opened on a kind of telescopic stay on the left-hand side. The turntable was very small and was covered with rubber, embossed with three concentric ridges, instead of the usual cloth. The name of the British company Edison-Bell was printed inside the lid.

The most peculiar feature, and the one I saw most distinctly, was the sound-box. This had no diaphragm or stylus-bar; instead it consisted entirely of tubing, made of a non-metallic material of a pale brown colour and arranged in the form of a spoked wheel with a large hub. Although I had no record or needle handy, I somehow heard the machine in the dream and it seemed to play acceptably.

In the drawing I have had to cheat in some respects. The tiny turntable is obviously not practical; the weight of the sound-box would tip over even a ten-inch record at once. I have therefore made the turntable deeper than usual and added four curved arms which fold out from under the rim, each tipped with a pad which pivots upwards so that the pad is on exactly the same level as the turntable surface. The brake, again, is an invention; to apply it you pull on the knob at the end of the long rod, and this acts on a short arm under the turntable which swings up, allowing a pad at the end to press against the underside of the table. Finally, I did not 'see' the tone-arm in detail and have therefore fabricated something whose eccentricity matches that of the machine as a whole. It has two joints in it instead of one. To prepare it for playing, you first swing the outer end of the arm through 180° to the right so that the sound-box is now facing downwards; then you turn the box 90° away from you on the second joint until the box is vertical and facing towards the back. The three small sketches at top left show the stages.

I have not shown the crank, since I did not observe it in the dream; I presume it is on the right-hand side as usual.

Edison-Bell did actually make portables in the 1920s, but I do not know of anything particularly innovative about them, except that some had a front panel which folded down to let the sound emerge. 'My' machine did not include this feature.

I wonder if my dream sound-box would actually work. It ought to generate some kind of amplification; any enclosed space will act as a resonator for vibrations propagated within it, and if its walls are thin enough they will themselves respond to and modify the waves within, just as the body of a musical instrument does. However, it may be that the many curves and angles in this design would result in intolerable distortion as the vibrations rebounded from the walls and interfered with each other. I do not suppose the idea has ever been or will ever be tested.

Oliver Mundy.

Re: Gramophone seen in a dream

Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 2:21 pm
by Inigo
You've initiated a very interesting thread... Dreamed phonographs. Ha, ha, ha....
I've sometimes dreamed with gramophones, but i didn't remember them.

What I remember distinctly is a repetitive characteristic of my dreams (psychiatrists be aware...!). It consists of a kind of impediment to make my wishes true. I'll explain it with four examples, and you'll catch it immediately.

1. Gramophones and records.
At times it is that I dream I find a very cheap gramophone or pile of records at a very old antique store, a real bargain, a ridiculous price actually, but I happen not to have enough money to buy them at that very moment.

2. Pianos and organs.
I like playing piano (by ear) very much since a boy. And I've always been very curious and anxious about having a chance to try a huge pipe organ. When I dream I have the chance to play, always happens that the piano or organ is broken somehow, or the keys are so narrow that I can't actually play it, or any other impediment prevents me from playing it.

3. Cars.
I like driving very much, and I do frequently. But I've been always curious about old cars, those marvelous old cars, made of thick metal and wood, which you can see and touch at antique car exhibitions. I love even the smell of them cars, their thick painting, the incredible touch, smell and sound of them...
When I'm driving any old car my dreams, it is always a car of my childhood (1960s), not older. And there is always something broken. I actually drive, but in the continuous feeling that the car is going to stop and break at any moment. One dream I remember vividly was a long trip in a Fiat Seicento, a very old popular car in Spain in my youth. It was at the twilight time, but the car lights didn't give the right lighting, they were skewed pointing at the road border. The car had no seats, and I drove while sitting in a kitchen wooden bench. The wheels had also problems, and the motor, so I drove very slowly. And even the road was a bumpy path lane: instead of asphalt it was compacted red earth.

4. Girls.
Unfailingly in my erotic dreams, when I succeed in getting on with a beautiful and charming girl, and we're excited, looking for a quiet place to stay together alone, it is impossible. There's always people around and we cannot do anything...
Go figure...! What is my problem...?

Re: Gramophone seen in a dream

Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 11:21 pm
by VanEpsFan1914
Neat machine. Sometimes I wonder if that isn't just a form of inventiveness. I've written short stories in my sleep but never wrote them down.

The question is, I wonder what is the point of such a small turntable if it's in a full-sized suitcase?

Once I dreamt of an answering machine the size of a sideboard which worked on a brown-wax cylinder so big that a toothpick worked for a needle, but that's about it for late-night questionable innovations.

Re: Gramophone seen in a dream

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 9:28 pm
by Lucius1958
I've seen a number of machines in my dreams, some more interesting than others...

also weird records (discs with ornate shapes and decoration; tiny cylinders; spools of what looked like waxed thread, etc.)


Re: Gramophone seen in a dream

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 7:11 am
by Menophanes
VanEpsFan1914 wrote:The question is, I wonder what is the point of such a small turntable if it's in a full-sized suitcase?
One could perhaps suppose that the manufacturers had invested heavily in a 'pocket' design, for which of course such a small turntable might be entirely appropriate, but that it failed to sell, and the makers decided to moderate their losses by using up some of the redundant parts in a more conventional type of machine.

However, dreams, even cerebral dreams like mine, do not answer to our ideas of logic!

Oliver Mundy.