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Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:35 am
by nostalgia
Then comes the inevitable question, was LB ( light blue) the only blue color for the 102, or was it also available in DB ( dark blue)?
(To answer Steve's question, I myself unfortunately don't have any spare black record albums for the 102, I have three 102s and still miss an album for two of them)

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:47 am
by epigramophone
Martin, your post has transposed 102 for 201, but we know what you mean ;) .

Here is my LB201 purchased from the family of the original owner, whose 21st Birthday present it was in 1933.
I also have an R201 in a darker shade of red than my early 202 previously pictured in this thread.

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:50 am
by Inigo
A nice present for a birthday!

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:55 am
by nostalgia
Thank you for showing your LB 201, Roger, and yes I am mixing all these numbers constantly in my head;) I guess there never was a DB 201, and that LB ( light blue was the only blue color). That said, I can hardly understand if the machine that I uploaded photos of can be all LB, at least the record album looks very black to me...

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Mon May 03, 2021 4:05 pm
by nostalgia
I open this thread again, to ask one simple question, that maybe no one can answer, but I try.
Do we know how many Columbia 9000 machines that were manufactured? I got hold of a black 9000 today, and the question again arised in my mind...

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Mon May 03, 2021 5:33 pm
by HMVDevotee
I don't have an answer, but perhaps a way of sorting it out by finding the earliest and latest serial numbers of members' 9000s. I have a red (R)9000a with the number plate showing B/12 (the year, I assume) and the number 62639. So there is a start. I'm sure someone knows the date code scheme.

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 4:03 am
by nostalgia
Do Columbia 9000 machines have unique serial numbers?
My black 9000A machine has Serial No: B/14 103893

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 8:08 am
by Oedipus
The EMI serial number system from 1936 onwards is pretty well meaningless from the historical point of view; numbers were allocated each year in blocks to each model, and the blocks are not necessarily consecutive.
Taking B14 (1950) as an example, some Columbia 9000s were in a block from 15191 - 15990, Model 9001 (sic- perhaps a typo for 9000) 18991-20490, Model 9000 again 23491-23790 and 103451-104150 (black), 23791-24090, 46391-49090 and 104451-104700 (green), 47591-48090 and 104301-104450 (red). Blue were 48091-48590 and 104151-104300.

I may have missed some out. The numbers between these blocks were allocated to other acoustic models ('B' at the beginning is for acoustic grams; A, C, D and E were for different types of mains radio, G was for battery radio, H for television and J for car radio). The serial numbers for each type letter started at 1 every year, so that the Type letter and the year code are a vital part of the serial number.

The serial numbers could only be used to calculate total production by picking out all the blocks (very laborious) and adding them up -- and even then the figures might be inaccurate, because it looks as if the numbers were allocated in advance, and all my not have been used. Presumably, the higher the number within each year, the later in the year that product was made - but even that could be wrong!

At the risk of repetition, the year codes are 1 for 1937 (1936 just has the letter, with only a serial number to follow), 2 for 1938 and so on. The war years were allowed for even when no gramophones were produced, so 1945 is 9.

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Wed May 05, 2021 5:17 am
by nostalgia
Thank you, Oedipus, for sharing your information on this.
Reading your post, and paying particular attention to the sentence: Taking B14 (1950) as an example, some Columbia 9000s were in a block from 15191 - 15990, I understand one does not really know if only Columbia 9000 machines were manufactured in this block ( and maybe also in other exclusive Columbia 9000 blocks), so in total, it is impossible to calculate the total numbers of Columbia 9000 manufactured, even if one knew the number of blocks for the Columbia 9000 for every year during its production run from the early 1940's -1957. ( Source of information concerning the Columbia 9000 production period: HMG book)

Re: Columbia portables..the endless enigma?

Posted: Wed May 05, 2021 10:18 am
by HMVDevotee
In retrospect, all of this uncertainty makes perfect sense. I suspect the serial numbers applied to specific machines were used as a record of parts used or included per unit, for reference for replacement parts if needed in the future. A record of the quantity of units manufactured and sold could be kept without sequential numbering.