Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

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walser
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Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by walser »

Hi all,

After posting the process of making this rare horn on Facebook, I've been asked several times to make a more detailed post on this forum.

I will post it as time permits.

First chapter: The horn is in its last legs.

All began around one year ago when a friend asked me If I could restore a very derelict horn of a Mecanophone he recently bought. The horn was heavily rusted, had lumps of lead and tin everywhere and was severely corroded to the point of been perforated in many places. And it had wrinkles like a crushed paper sheet everywhere and the lower cone was crushed.

I told him that it was on the very edge of not been salvageable. He suggested me to use bondo and paint over it and I told him that bondo was not an option for me. In any case, my agenda was full for the next several months so I didn't accept the job.

This was the horn:
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-27 at 9.06.32 PM (4).jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-27 at 9.06.32 PM (5).jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-27 at 9.06.32 PM (6).jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-27 at 9.06.32 PM.jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-27 at 9.06.32 PM (1).jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-27 at 9.06.32 PM (2).jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-27 at 9.06.32 PM (3).jpeg
Stay tuned for the following episodes!

Regards,
Pedro Martinez
PedroFono
www.pedrofono.es

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walser
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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by walser »

Second chapter: Things cannot get worse.

A few months later, my friend called again. "Hey Pedro, do you remember the Mecanophone horn? I sent it to another restorer to fix it and make it easier for you to paint it and he told me that he did his best..."

Long story short, this is what arrived to my shop:
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-07 at 2.48.02 PM (5).jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-07 at 2.48.02 PM (6).jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-07 at 2.48.02 PM (4).jpeg
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WhatsApp Image 2021-07-07 at 2.48.02 PM (3).jpeg
Wrinkles everywhere, bondo and primer liberally spread over the rust, several perforations and the cone still crushed making the horn to lean forward like a tired beast.

I was so disgusted with what was done on the poor horn that I left it untouched for 3 months in the corner of the shop.

Stay tuned for the next episode!

Pedro Martinez
PedroFono
www.pedrofono.es

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Inigo
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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by Inigo »

Wow! If at least he had left it untouched... :shock:
But as long as you're posting this, it seems there's hope of something that can be done? We're intrigued :)
Inigo

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walser
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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by walser »

Chapter 3: The horn is definitely dead but he donated its organs.

When I finally decided that it was time to try to restore the horn, I started to do a deep assessment of its condition. Its a very unusual horn because of its shape but also because of the technique used in its construction. The petals are not attached in the usual way:
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And not even soldered like the Spanish HMV horns:
20210830_223548.jpg
But using a very primitive technique like this:
20210830_223522.jpg
Later, I understood why this technique was chosen but I will reveal that later.

Once I started removing the thick layer of bondo and thick primer that was applied directly over the rusted tinfoil, it was literally falling in flakes in many places leaving holes everywhere. Also, someone had tried to hammer the wrinkles without knowing how to do it and the metal was stretched and deformed in large areas. The icing on the cake were the big blobs of tin and lead everywhere and specially abundant in the most difficult areas to reach.

I called my friend and told him the bad news. The horn was beyond repair BUT I had a plan: To make a replica!

We agreed on the price and I started to dismantle the horn in order to make blueprints of each petal and cone. I was quite lucky to manage to find one petal of each shape with almost no holes.
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That's all for today.

Tomorrow I will post the next chapters.

Regards,
Pedro Martinez
PedroFono
www.pedrofono.es

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Steve
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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by Steve »

I will follow this process with great interest!

I'm in awe of your commitment and dedication to the restoration of this very rare and attractive horn.

I'm also impressed with your original Phrynis in the background with your Spanish HMV Model no. 9.

All of these are great and rare machines. What an impressive collection you have there!

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Curt A
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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by Curt A »

El tocadiscos es descompuesto... Call Pedro. ;)

The guy who "restored" that for your friend, should be prosecuted for impersonating a restorer...
"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
Thomas Alva Edison - Comment to his assistant, Samuel Insull.

"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
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Curt A
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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by Curt A »

Since it appears that you might be reproducing these, is it possible to make one that would work with an Edison cygnet horn crane?
"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
Thomas Alva Edison - Comment to his assistant, Samuel Insull.

"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
My Wife

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walser
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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by walser »

Curt A wrote: Mon Aug 30, 2021 7:06 pm Since it appears that you might be reproducing these, is it possible to make one that would work with an Edison cygnet horn crane?
Yes, it is possible. As everything that is done "one off", it will not be cheap.

regards,

Pedro

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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by gramophone-georg »

I can't wait to see this... :D
"He who dies with the most shellac wins"- some nutty record geek

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walser
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Re: Fontanophone /Mecanophone horn replica.

Post by walser »

Chapter 4: A new horn is born

So, after a visit to my favourite metal supplier, I came back to my shop with some shiny tinplate of the exact same thickness as the original. After straightening the old petals, I traced the perimeter of the first one and cut it with my brand new long throat tin scissors only to discover that the blades had a very thin indentations that leaved a serrated edge on the tinplate!!!
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-14 at 8.19.13 PM.jpeg
I dismantled the scissors, grind a new edge on the blades and now they cut the tinplate like butter and leaving a razor sharp edge.
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In a couple of hours, I cut all the petals and made a fancy picture of them.
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Next task was to create the bent edge on the petals to make the surface to solder them. For that, first I looked for the price of the machine to make it and I quickly decided that a home made version was the best option. I made a much simpler version with the blade of a pipe cutter and some pieces of scrap metal. Total cost 10 cents. 10.000 times less than the professional and motorized version.
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Once all the edges were done, I started soldering them. The front edge needs a copper wire core and to be bent around it. For doing that, another tool is needed and again, I made it. They are a recycled parallel jaw plier with some brass tabs soldered to make the "bite" on the tinplate always at the exact same distance.
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20210910_213949.jpg (98.81 KiB) Viewed 364 times
And the horn started to born!
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Time to go dinner. Next chapter very soon.

Regards,

Pedro Martinez Diaz
PedroFono
www.pedrofono.com

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