When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Discussions on Talking Machines of British or European Manufacture
nostalgia
Victor III
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When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by nostalgia »

In October last year I purchased an oak HMV model 156, and made an agreement with the seller to pick it op, or have it delivered, in spring this year. One week ago, I took a 400 km drive to collect it, since I anyway was out to collect a horn gramophone in a nearby city. I have not seen another model 156 for sale during the last 2 years since I started collecting seriously, and was quite suprised to see another model 156 put up for sale 2 days only after collecting the 156 bought in October last year. I was a bit hesitant this last time, since my storage locker is over crowded, and (wallet close to empty;)) but the price was a not too scary 120 euro, and since it this time was a mahogany model 156, I decided to take pity on it, and drove another 200 km to get it back home, for restoration this summer. For those interested in seeing the horn on this model 156, I can upload some more photos when I will later this spring service the 32 motors found in these machines. From the photos we can see there is a small variation on the two machines, the lid stay and the two slots ( what are they for?), close to the needle boxes found on one of the machines. So far only the mahogany model has been cleaned with Swarfega, and in addition carefully handled with fine steel wool on the doors before adding Howards Restor a Finish, since the machine had some rather deep scratches on the top lid and also on the doors in front. There are still some visible scars on the top lid, and also a water ring,,,but I don't agree with myself if I should leave it or not at this point, since if I use more steel wool, I will now easily break through the old layer of what I presume is cellulose lacquer? And, I am hesitant to over restore these fine cabinets, really.

Adding more curiosities, I have the last two year not yet seen any grey HMV 101 portables for sale in my area, so when two !! machines were put up for sale within a 24 hour time frame locally, I also...again, could not resist the temptation. They were not expensive, and since I already have serviced quite a few 101 machines, this is nice and not too complicated work for the upcoming weeks. I have added some photos. Even if this machine, according to the HMG book, was manufactured during a short period, and also in a small quantity, we can still see some differences on the machines. The winding gear escutcheaon area are different on the two machines, and also the key lock are different on the two machines. I have at the time of writing, not had the time to check with the book who is the newest one of the two, but if memory serves me right the lock on the machine to the left is the newest lock on these 101 portables? Still messy and with parts removed they will be restored, they both have a 59 motor, that is a good motor to service. I was trying to hard to remove some stains on the motorboard on one of the machines, so I will buy some model paint, to try to amend that problem, apart from it, the machines are not too bad looking, even if they are far from perfect copies of this model.
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epigramophone
Victor VI
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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by epigramophone »

The two slots on the motor board of the oak 156 are for holding tins of Tungstyle needles.
There is also one such slot on each of your grey 101's.

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jamiegramo
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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by jamiegramo »

Thanks for posting the 156’s, I like the contrast between the oak and mahogany versions and the mahogany machine looks in particularly good condition.

A bit of nostalgia for me. One of my first machines was a 156 bought from a kindly elderly gentleman down Hatfield for £8 when I was a kid. It sounded very good. The finish was really black Jacobean oak both inside and out and I wonder now if that was a special order or they overstrained it in the factory.

nostalgia
Victor III
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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by nostalgia »

Thanks for telling your story Jamie, I always love to hear such stories, and it always also give an extra boost to post photos of different machines that turn up. Yes, it is nice to see the difference between the two 156 machines, and I will upload some photos also of the horn later on, for reference. Right now the mahogany machine has received some treatment on the cabinet, while the oak version is straight out of the sellers ( dry) basement.

The oak machine has an interesting story, and for those interested, these links will tell about it: http://art-tales.org/william-h-singer-olden-norway/ ( English language link) This second link shows more photos, but are in Norwegian language: https://leksikon.fylkesarkivet.no/artic ... ca78e17e9/ , the links also shows the house ( Singerheimen/ Singer Home) where the Oak model 56 was held until the wife of the American artist died in 1962 and the female housekeeper then inherited the gramophone. The gramophone has been in her family since then, without ever being used much, if at all, according to the seller. I look forward to overhaul it, and will post some new photos of both the machines standing side by side, when they are ready to leave the garage room where I service and repair gramophones:

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jamiegramo
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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by jamiegramo »

The mahogany 156 is probably the older of the two as it doesn’t have the tungsten needle tin holders.

It is curios that your oak 156 has a straight runner between the legs and not the curved runner that is normally found.

I looked at the paintings by William H Singer shown on the website and liked them.

Oedipus
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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by Oedipus »

Re the two 101 portables, yes, the one on the left with a 'wide loop' lid catch and flared winding socket on the motor is a 101G (it probably says GC101G) on the metal label. The two-flap lid catch is a little earlier, with a circular celluloid label, and is probably a 101E or 101F (but the label will just say '101').
When you service the motors, you will find a difference in the winding gear; there were problems with the early 59 motors in keeping the winding gear lubricated, eventually solved by fitting a thick felt washer, acting as sort of wick, under the gear. You may find this in the later machine, which had a 59C or 59D motor.

nostalgia
Victor III
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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by nostalgia »

I am about to complete the restoration of the two HMV 156 machines, but would like some opinions/advice.

1. The dark oak cabinet is so light, I don't know what has happened to it, since it was not manufactured in this color?
We can see the upper front panel under the lid, has a darker color, that corresponds with the color inside the machine
Would you do something to it to darken it? I am about to add Howard's Dark oak Restor -A-Finish, but after testing a bit on the back side, it does not really darken much the color, since the cabinet is so bright.

2. The mahogany machine is getting beautiful, only gentle cleaning with Swarfega and adding Howards Restore -A-Finish and ending with Polish, made this result.
I had to use 00 steel wool on the doors to remove scars, and it was successful. However the lid plate is not perfect, even after using steel wool, that has removed many rings and scars, I dare not go deeper in the veneer, since we know what will happen then, the wood panel under the veneer will shine through. We can see traces of rings from glasses. Would you do something more to the lid plate? Is there something one can do, apart from removing the veneer top plate, something that I don't like the idea of getting into...

I am also attaching a photo of the horn on the 156, in case someone has not seen it, and want to see it.
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JerryVan
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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by JerryVan »

My advice on the mahogany cabinet finish would be to STOP. It looks good as it is.

The oak cabinet, I would lightly sand then stain with a dye stain to get the color correct and even. Then apply varnish/lacquer/shellac, as you prefer, for a finish coat. Howard's Restore-A-Finish is great... if you have a finish to restore. However, in this case, the finish is gone! :shock:

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Steve
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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by Steve »

I'm baffled by the number of 156s for sale at the moment on Ebay and online elsewhere. For a long time there haven't really been many for sale and then all of a sudden there are quite a lot of them. Its a curiosity.

I like the 156 although I don't have one.

I haven't ever seen or used Howard's Restore A Finish so I don't know what if consists of or does. Can you please enlighten me?

I wouldn't rub that lid any further though otherwise you will get through to the veneer. Deep indentations are better left alone and just accepted for what they are.

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Re: When not too often seen HMV's come in pairs..

Post by nostalgia »

Jerry, I have had the same feeling about this oak model 156, I need strip it, and then use a wood dye to add the correct color. The problem I had earlier with HMV cabinets are that light sand papering does not help much, I need get rather deep to remove the coating, if not the new layer of dye will not attach and it all looks horrible. On my cabinets, where I have stripped motor boards, and sometimes the lid, I have used Liberon Dark Oak Spirit Wood Dye. I watched the late Graham Barber using this product in his videos after stripping the lid of a cabinet. He was using a shaving blade to strip the lid, but myself I have now turned to carefully using a grinder, to avoid destroying my hands and fingers on the tedious work. Last summer I also stripped a complete light oak Odeon cabinet the same way, and it worked well. One has to be careful though, as Steve also reminds, to not get through to the veneer.

If someone has a good tip for the upper cover (Shellac/varnish/lacquer) that makes it shine a bit, after using Liberon Spirit Wood Dye, I will be happy to receive it, and it must be a product available in continental Europe. I had a extremely hard time getting Howard's Products into Scandinavia, it was constantly stopped in the customs worldwide because it is flammable, but at one stage I was able to get 4 bottles into Scandinavia ( Dark oak, and two shades of Mahogany, and Golden Oak), and they have saved my restoration work for sure.

Steve, I am here pasting the information taken from the UK supplier of Howard's Products: Restor-A-Finish® is a unique finish penetrating formula that contains a small amount of stain combined with just the right amount of solvent and restoring oils, giving it the ability to permanently restore the existing finish without removing, softening, or stripping it. Restor-A-Finish penetrates faded lacquer, shellac and varnish to bring back the original colour and lustre. It restores the depth of grain, going much deeper than temporary “scratch cover” products. Restor-A-Finish® penetrates and permanently restores most wood finishes without removing any of the existing finish. Restor-A-Finish® works best when applied with a small pad of cloth or for severe white rings or oxidation a super fine (#0000) Steel Wool also available from our website. For carved surfaces, you may use a small paintbrush or soft toothbrush. Never pour Restor-A-Finish® directly onto the finish.

There are 9 colours to choose from if you are not sure of the colour you need please get in touch and we will send you our brochure which has a colour chart so that you can best match the finish you want to restore.

Follow up with Howard Feed-N-Wax or Citrus-Shield paste Wax to help maintain the newly restored finish.
Photos of the product are on the suppliers website: https://www.justpuddingbasins.co.uk/

Update: I am adding a photo of my HMV 145. On the photo it has just received Liberon Wood Dye Dark Oak, on the top lid. This was my first machine, bought back in 1990, but the lid always looked terrible before I decided to strip it last summer, while the rest of the cabinet looked very good. (there is a big lamp in the ceiling with yellow light that makes the lid look a bit yellowish, while it is really impossible to see a color difference from the rest of the cabinet) As we can see the color matches well the rest of the cabinet. However, a top layer has also not been added to the machine, again because I am not sure what product would be best to use. I know it it possible to get shellac in a solution that is said to be easy to add on, since I have no experience adding shellac the original way.

Update 2: I finally found and ordered a product this morning that I will try to use for a top layer, after using the Liberon spirit wood dye on stripped cabinets. I am posting a photo of the bottle, and will also post photos after using it on my cabinets. :geek: It will be very interesting to see how it works.
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