Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

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JerryVan
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Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by JerryVan »

At the last Stanton auction I purchased a Trademark machine. Looks very nice, complete and largely untouched, (except for a restored horn). It's a later, (I assume), version with the bullet style brake, instead of the side mounted lever type brake. It got me wondering, how many variations were there of the Trademark machine, and in what sequence did they occur? If it's not too exhaustive a thing, can someone/s explain the evolution of the Trademark model through its run? I'd just really like to know where mine fits in. (I'll try to add photos later) But, aside from just identifying where mine fits in, I'd like to know more about them all, as they changed through the years.

Thanks!

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phonogfp
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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by phonogfp »

The Berliner "Improved Gramophone" (often called the "Trademark" by modern collectors) was manufactured from the summer of 1897 until the summer of 1900 (Eldridge Johnson continued manufacture of the machine after this, but it was no longer labeled as a Berliner). Over the course of those three years, the model underwent a number of changes.

Every U.S. Berliner Improved Gramophone bears a serial number stamped on the exposed spring barrel. Numbering began at #1 and petered out around #35,000. The serial number of your machine will probably tell you more about where it fits into the chronology than the following...

The earliest Improved Gramophones were equipped with funnel-type horns, a side-mounted brake whose arm swiveled like the hand of a clock to engage/disengage the rim of the turntable. The very earliest motors had 2-ball governors as well. Cabinets had a light finish. Due to over a century of attrition, neglect, and collector activity, it's virtually impossible to determine when the conventional curved-bell horn appeared.

By #16038, a small guide had been added beside the brake to aid in placing the needle at the edge of the record. The brake design had also been changed to be pressed against the turntable rim by use of a small lever.

By #19791, the finish had been made darker.

By #21794, the bullet brake had appeared and a celluloid tag was added to the traveling arm reading, "Three Points of Caution." The needle guide had been discontinued by this time.

The National Gramophone Co. decal persisted at least until #23276. I'm uncertain when the National Gramo. Corp. decal appeared.

The latest Berliner "Improved Gramophone" I've observed is #34983, and it carries a celluloid plate where the Berliner decal is typically mounted (on occasion, the decal can been seen beneath these plates). These celluloid plates are labeled "Berliner Gramophone Company, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A." with no mention of the National Gramo. Corp. Only the very last Berliners will be found with these celluloid plates on the cabinet.

Hope this helps - -

George P.

cmshapiro
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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by cmshapiro »

Just curious, what is the earliest serial number know to exist?

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phonogfp
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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by phonogfp »

There's one in California numbered in the 30s as I recall. :)

George P.

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Shawn
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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by Shawn »

Here are pictures that represent somewhat "typical" models of the 1897, 1898, and 1899 Berliners. As George has shared, there were variations all along the way. As well, the 1899 has the upgraded seamless horn.

More details on these three machines will be revealed in the September issue of the APS magazine in my article - I Saw It In The Catalog. If you are not a member, you are missing a lot!

Shawn

1897:
1897.png
1898
1898.png
1899
1899.png

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phonogfp
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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by phonogfp »

If anyone is interested, the serial number of the California machine I alluded to earlier is No.29. :)

George P.

JerryVan
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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by JerryVan »

Turns out mine is #29825, with National Gramophone Co. decal. Reproducer J44350. Any thoughts?

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phonogfp
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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by phonogfp »

Thanks for the serial number and decal information - - I'll add that to my file. :)

George P.

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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by Hit of the Week »

phonogfp wrote:Thanks for the serial number and decal information - - I'll add that to my file. :)

George P.
George, In case you are interested, mine is No.30675, reproducer J43548, National Gramophone Co. decal
Interesting that my machine is a little later than Jerry's, but has a bit earlier reproducer than his. Must have "mixed & matched" from the parts bin at the factory!?
Mine is missing the horn......... Which one should I be looking for?

Iowa Dale

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Ripduf1
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Re: Berliner Trademark Evolution Question

Post by Ripduf1 »

Zinc Bell, flat seam, leather elbow all black with pinstripes horn would be most correct. There were some really hard to find options available at that time as well. John
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Horns rolled and straightened

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