Why so glum?

Discussions on Talking Machines of British or European Manufacture
epigramophone
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Why so glum?

Post by epigramophone »

This couple can be justly proud of their gramophone but they don't look very happy about it, despite the lady putting on her best hat for the photo and the gentleman displaying what was probably his favourite record :
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drh
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by drh »

Maybe because they just learned "supply chain disruptions" have caused a shortage of steel needles and a 25% price increase? Should have bought Edison! ;)

Or it could just be because the slow lenses and film emulsions of the day meant photo subjects were required to hold an expression and stand completely still for quite a long time when having portraits taken.

poodling around
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by poodling around »

I know what's happening.

John Bull has arrived out of the blue with the intention of re-possessing the gramophone as they haven't purchased the required number of records.

Hence the, "You what mate ?" expressions.
Last edited by poodling around on Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Inigo
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by Inigo »

Many old photos show serious faces... I still keep old family photos from 1870s to 1900s and the usual face is serious. Maybe you've nailed it, and it was for long exposition time. A relaxed gesture is serious.
Inigo

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Bruce
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by Bruce »

Another explanation is that Victorians rarely smiled in photos due to the poor condition of their teeth. With improvements in dentistry and fluoride in municipal water systems we often forget that as nutrition "improved" in the 19th century so did teeth decay.

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Wolfe
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by Wolfe »

The photographer, who was also a phonograph collector, informed them that their machine that they were so proud of is actually a cheap Indian "crapophone".

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drh
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by drh »

Wolfe wrote: Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:38 pm The photographer, who was also a phonograph collector, informed them that their machine that they were so proud of is actually a cheap Indian "crapophone".
You know, now that you mention it, I wonder if this isn't one of those modern "old fashioned posed photos" that sometimes are offered to attendees at carnivals or museums or history fairs or whatnot? I remember my mother and I posed for one of those at the Smithsonian during a family vacation trip when I was a kid. The concession had a vintage-style costume collection from which clients could select their "look," and the resultant photos were appropriately sepia-toned to look old. The results were fairly convincing. The horn on that machine does look a bit suspicious; the man is holding the record in an awfully cavalier way; and, more to the point, I think that wristwatch on the lady's left arm is all wrong for the period.

Viva-voce
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by Viva-voce »

Another possible anachronism is the record the man is holding. It appears to have an eccentric groove and the label looks like it could be a Victor Scroll.

Interesting photo nevertheless.

Steven

Viva-voce
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by Viva-voce »

I just noticed another interesting detail.
The crank seems to be attached into the motor board rather than the side of the case. That, plus the horn design makes me think it’s a genuine crapophone.

Steven

JerryVan
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Re: Why so glum?

Post by JerryVan »

And, the lady is wearing a Rolex! :shock:

Probably not.

The odd phono may be nothing more than a photographer's prop, and not a real phono at all.

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