La Voce Del Padrone Italy-specific portable gramophones.

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Marco Gilardetti
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La Voce Del Padrone Italy-specific portable gramophones.

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

As lately a noble interest to dig and better understand the production of European gramophones in general - and of portables more specifically - has risen on this section of the board, I feel almost in duty to write few words to summarize what is known about the production of Italy-specific, original and unique models made by La Voce Del Padrone, HMV's Italian branch.

As mentioned in earlier posts here and there, in the late '30s and early '40s La Voce Del Padrone released a group of models, preminently portables, that were specifically designed for Italy and seemingly had no counterparts in other countries. This happened mainly for two reasons, related to each other.

On one hand, supplies by the mother factory in Hayes, England became very limited while WWII was approaching and the relations between Italy and England were becoming progressively strained. La Voce Del Padrone then begun to seek around parts made by third parties in order to keep the production going. Most of the models that will be described below were made with a mix & match of hardware commonly found on HMV gramophones, as well as motors and tonearms produced by Thorens in Switzerland, which of course was a neutral country and could supply Italian factories.

On the other hand, the fascist government with its "autarchic" campaign (please note that the word "autarchic" as used by the fascist regime had implications which differ by the sctrict meaning of the phylosophical term) prized products which were engineered in Italy and produced with Italian parts and craftmanship, and conversely put import limits and duties on foreign products, which were also depicted as unpatriotic, and as such blemished.

In this scenario, a small serie of models which were Italian-specific sprung up. I would like to stress out once more that - while each collector is free to like them or not, and to consider them desirable/collectable or not - these are absolutely legitimate and absolutely official models, by no means crap-o-phones or frankenphones. They were regularly marketed and advertised. Today, at least in my experience, they are fairly rare and, as a matter of fact, I don't own any of them nor have ever seen one in person (all pictures come from internet sales, or previous posts on this board).

What follows is the list of models that I could track by consulting all the sources that I could think of, and that - to the best of my knowledge - have no correspondence in HMV's standard production:

- 103 and 103A
- 104 and 104A
- 116
- 137
- 139
- 144

I will try to describe each in a separate post, accompanied by drawings and pictures when available.
Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Fri Oct 23, 2020 12:35 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: La Voce Del Padrone Italy-specific portable gramophones.

Post by nostalgia »

That is great, Marco :D
I can't wait to hear more about these portables ! :ugeek:

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La Voce Del Padrone models 103 and 103A.

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

MODELS 103 AND 103A

To the best of my knowledge, there is no real difference between the 103 and 103A model. The first entry that I could find dates back to the 1938 LVDP catalogue, where the model 103 is carefully described. Then the model name changes to 103A in LVDP catalogues for the years 1939 and 1940 (last available catalogue), with no apparent change to the machine itself.

Despite being designated with a lower number, the 103/103A is described as a "de luxe" (and thus more expensive) version of the 104/104A.

The ads describe it as featuring a single spring motor, 25cm turntable, exponential horn, N°1 diaphragm (possibly a typo, as in later years it is described as featuring a N°21), automatic brake, revolving needle holder in the corner. It came with a 12 records holder, which I suppose had to be placed over the turntable much in the 102 style, but is usually not pictured. Hardware was chromed or oxidized. It was covered with black fabric, or red or blue fabric at a slightly higher price. Weight: 5 Kg.
Attachments
LVDP 103 catalogo 1938.jpg
LVDP 104A catalogo 1939.jpg
LVDP 103A catalogo 1940.jpg
LVDP 103A reclame.jpg
LVDP 103A reclame.jpg (85.37 KiB) Viewed 551 times
103A chiuso.jpg
103A chiuso.jpg (43.29 KiB) Viewed 551 times
103A aperto.jpg
103A aperto.jpg (44.95 KiB) Viewed 551 times
103A decalcomania.jpg
103A decalcomania.jpg (76.8 KiB) Viewed 551 times
103A interno.jpg
103A interno.jpg (50.74 KiB) Viewed 551 times
103A testina.jpg
103A testina.jpg (46.28 KiB) Viewed 551 times

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Re: La Voce Del Padrone Italy-specific portable gramophones.

Post by nostalgia »

Vow, this is higly fascinating and interesting stuff !! Thanks a lot for posting this.
And I have to ask out of curiosity, are they hard to find in today's Italy, or are they generally available in antique shops, auctions, flea markets etc.?

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La Voce Del Padrone models 104 and 104A.

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

MODELS 104 AND 104A

Again, to the best of my knowledge, there seems to be no real difference between the 104 and 104A model. The first entry that I could find dates back to the 1937 LVDP catalogue, where the model 104A is carefully described and marketed as "new". In the following year, the name is changed to 104, but then in 1939 and 1940 catalogues it is reverted back to 104A, again with no apparent change to the machine itself.

Despite being designated with a higher number, the 104/104A is a cheaper model than the 103/103A.

The ads describe it as "light and robust", with a "natural and ringing voice". It features a single spring motor, 25cm turntable, exponential horn, diaphragm of "exclusive design", automatic brake, revolving needle holder in the corner, key lock. It also featured a 6 records compartment in the top lid. Hardware was chromed or oxidized. It was covered with black fabric, or red or blue fabric at a slightly higher price. Weight: 5 Kg.
Attachments
LVDP 104 catalogo 1937.jpg
LVDP 104 catalogo 1937.jpg (320.41 KiB) Viewed 548 times
LVDP 104 catalogo 1938.jpg
LVDP 104A catalogo 1939.jpg
LVDP 104A catalogo 1940.jpg
104A reclame.jpg
104A reclame.jpg (76.92 KiB) Viewed 548 times
LVDP 104A aperto.jpg
LVDP 104A aperto.jpg (61.24 KiB) Viewed 548 times
LVDP 104A decalcomania.jpg
LVDP 104A decalcomania.jpg (80.31 KiB) Viewed 548 times
LVDP 104A interno.jpg
LVDP 104A interno.jpg (59.26 KiB) Viewed 548 times
Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Fri Oct 23, 2020 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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La Voce Del Padrone model 116.

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

MODEL 116

Unfortunately I couldn't find this model in any of the available general catalogues (onyl years 1937 to 1940 are kept at the Discoteca Di Stato and are accessible through the internet), nor on any record cover. I ignore if this model was produced earlier or later, or if it was never displayed on a general catalogue.

No pictures are available so far, however there is a videoclip made by a well known collector in which this model is demonstrated:


(Double-click the video above or click this link to go to the video on YouTube.)


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La Voce Del Padrone model 137.

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

MODEL 137

Again there are no pictures or clips or catalogue entries for this model. However, I've found it described with a short note on a LVDP record sleeve, which depicts it as having an elegant, robust and perfect case, new diaphragm N°33A, exponential horn, automatic brake, revolving needles holder in the corner, key lock, record holder (to be placed over the turntable). It was available in black, red or blue.
Attachments
LVDP 137 reclame.jpg
LVDP 137 reclame.jpg (108.86 KiB) Viewed 548 times

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La Voce Del Padrone model 139.

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

MODEL 139

Again no catalogue entries for this model, of which the production years span is thus unknown. I could find a description of it on a LVDP cover, which depicts it as having a robust, practical and well sounding case, new diaphragm N°38E, exponential horn, automatic brake, needle holder cup with cap, 6 records holder in the top lid, two key locks. It was available in black, blue, red or brown "two-tone" (it is unclear if all variants were two-tones, or only some of them).
Attachments
LVDP 139 reclame.jpg
LVDP 139 reclame.jpg (109.98 KiB) Viewed 541 times
LVDP 139 chiuso.jpg
LVDP 139 chiuso.jpg (32.54 KiB) Viewed 541 times
LVDP 139 aperto.jpg
LVDP 139 aperto.jpg (50.08 KiB) Viewed 541 times
LVDP 139 portadischi.jpg
LVDP 139 portadischi.jpg (39.44 KiB) Viewed 541 times
LVDP 139 braccio.jpg
LVDP 139 braccio.jpg (41.73 KiB) Viewed 541 times

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La Voce Del Padrone model 144.

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

MODEL 144

I could find nor catalogue nor commercial entries for this portable, but it has been discussed quite extensively on a thread on this forum. Clearly derivative of the rightly famous HMV 102 model, it features a Thorens 530 motor and other parts probably made by Thorens side by side with some distinctive HMV hardware like the manual brake tab, the key lock and the revolving corner needle holder. The original poster (fellow "HMV130" on this forum, who intially had no idea about this Italian-specific line of gramophones) very cleverly dated it between 1939 and no later than 1945 judging by the motor with which it was equipped, and he also guessed that the oxidized bronze fittings ranked it as a de luxe model. I have to agree in full, and in my opinion the model 144 might have taken the place of the previously available model 103/103A.

The unit was unfortunately found in poor conditions. However, when disassembled, it showed a high quality and very well engineered exponential horn. Also interesting is the automatic brake control lever, which features writings in Italian language.

The original post can be read here. I'm re-uploading the pictures that were provided for that thread below, as there is an 800 pixels limit which inhibits simply linking to them.
Attachments
LVDP 144 aperto.jpg
LVDP 144 decalcomania.jpg
LVDP 144 fianco.jpg
LVDP 144 interruttore freno.jpg
LVDP 144 regolatore velocità.jpg
LVDP 144 mobile.jpg
LVDP 144 motore e tromba.jpg
Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Fri Oct 23, 2020 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: La Voce Del Padrone Italy-specific portable gramophones.

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

nostalgia wrote:Vow, this is higly fascinating and interesting stuff !! Thanks a lot for posting this.
And I have to ask out of curiosity, are they hard to find in today's Italy, or are they generally available in antique shops, auctions, flea markets etc.?
Thank you very much for your kind comments! As I quickly mentioned in one of the first paragraphs, at least in my experience they are all very uncommon, to the point that I've never seen one "live". Usually antique shops never have gramophones for sale here, just boring furniture, and what you usually see at flea markets are obscure off-brand portables with "fantasy" trade marks. While a floor-standing or a tabletop model was absolutely unreachable for a worker, the more I preogress in this hobby the more I'm persuaded that even branded portables were out of reach for the average citizen: all they could afford were off-brands. Today, in the rare occasions in which you spot a gramophone on a stall, it's by many orders of magnitude easier to find British HMV units imported at a point in time by some other collector, than any of these gramophones that were all of our own and made in Italy.

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