Discussions on Talking Machines of British or European Manufacture
Interesting cabinet construction. Looking at the bottom view that Jamie posted, we can see that the base is made from one piece of wood, with the center cut out. (Versus a base made of 4 pieces of wood with joints at each corner) The question then becomes, was the cutout piece then used to produce the top of the cabinet? Given the tapered sides of the cabinet, it's entirely possible that the dimensions of the top board could be reduced enough to incorporate the "drop" from the cabinet base. It would be a big cost savings and, at the same time, add a nice styling feature, (i.e. the sloped sides).
Sorry, I can't throw much light on this, except to say that it was not uncommon for HMV to make variations on the UK models for export markets, so it comes as no surprise. The serial number incidentally, is 881, not 188. I don't see much point in trying to 'improve' its horn; the form in which it left the factory is the one of historic interest, and if you want a better sound, buy a 103!
I was looking for the continuity of grain as well, but couldn't really determine a pattern from the photo. The two pieces would not necessarily have to come from the same board. To do so would add unnecessary complication, for no real purpose.