The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: Re: Broken Spring
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:18 pm 
Victor III
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Keep'em well oiled
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:51 am
Posts: 688
Location: Madrid, Spain
What to do instead? Stay with the broken spring? That was my very first machine, and I felt really upset that I couldn't use it. Then there was no internet, and i couldn't find any place where a Gramophone spring could be bought at reasonable prices. There were the clock makers, but the price of a new spring was double than the Gramophone! So I had to use what I could get! Need makes one go ahead and invent!
I acquired this machine in 1982, a Diana portable. Don't know the origin, but for other similars I've seen on the web, it could be a second line Italian manufacturer, one of these many European off-brands that made the cases and fitted Thorens motors and soundboxes. The speed control is engraved in Italian: lento-78-presto. That machine costed me 3,000 pesetas (what in 1982 was near $40, really cheap). But even this money I didn't have; happily I found a school mate there who borrowed the money to buy it.
Finally I managed to get it working. Years passed and I could get a new spring from an old record store that still had original supplies, a few rests of a forgotten era. What a place! They still had brand new 78s, at 75c/each! I bought many, but another dealer had already found the store, and while I bought 4 or 5 records at each visit, he bought them by the hundreds! Still I kept going there two or three years, until the stock was exhausted. These people sold me the spring I needed, really cheap. Nice women... they were the daughters and old widow of the original owner. In the sixties, when everybody threw away 78s for scrap, that man thought this was nosense, and stored all them instead. Clever man. Later his family sold all them to people like me. I still remember how fascinating the first time I went there in 1978.. I saw the old style shop, entered and asked shyly... (me, a boy of 15) Do you have 78s? And the smiling women showed me a full stand with maybe 5 shelves full of them, all NOS!!! And when I asked the price I couldn't believe it. They made me very happy three or four years! As soon as i managed to join a few bucks, I went there and spent the whole afternoon browsing mountains of 78s just for picking a few ones... They were really funny and patient with me. I used to go there with a notebook where I copied hundreds of record credits, just to ask my father later at home which records to buy... it was a great time for me...
Still I have the machine. Once in 1984 I decided to scrap the original old green rexine cover and I re-covered it in new flamant red leatherette. It resulted marvelous! Now it is disassembled and waiting for a new cover. It had a terrible tonearm, very elegant, but with one of those universal joints at the base that move in vertical and horizontal, with great air leaks. I always kept that joint packed with vaseline. The tracking was not good, and I'm tempted to reconstruct the motorboard moving the motor, and try to improve that bad tracking.
Anyway, it was my only machine from 1982 to 1996...
The soundbox is a Thorens no.17, And gives an incredible sound! It uses a copper plate spring between the needlebar and the front ring. Seems a bit hard, but it can be tuned with somehow to tune it.
My first 500 78s have resisted that Gramophone for 14 years, and still are good! That's a proof of resistance for these records, isn't it? :D

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