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Display Phonograph?
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Author:  SonnyPhono [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Display Phonograph?

I was at an antique store today and one of the vendors had a booth full of phonograph items. I could tell that he was a collector, and or dealer as his prices and information tags were accurate and knowledgeable. He had a VV-XVII among other nice phonos. But there was something there I haven't seen before and wanted to ask the board for info as I can't stop stewing about it and don't want to miss a rare phonograph if I have a chance to buy one.

It was a mahogany table top that appeared to be some off brand from the late teens or twenties at first glance. But as I approached, I noticed both the left and right sides of the phonograph were glass allowing for a full view of the motor and internal horn. The lid lifted off four pegs, one at each corner, and was made of some sort of thin metal. It was panted brown to match the cabinet and from my experience, appeared to be original paint from that period of time. I didn't recognize the style of speed control, brake, or tonearm. There was no identification anywhere on the machine including the reproducer which was plain. The white gaskets looked yellowed and crackled as they would look if never replaced.

The tag read, "This was a display phonograph used to demonstrate how they work while showing the internal workings. There are not very many around." The price was just under that and was selling for $165. I thought it was interesting, especially after checking the cabinet for originality and age, finding it to be original from what I can tell.

Does anyone have any information or thoughts? The more I think about it, the more I am second guessing my decision to come home to do research without it. Thanks for the help!

Author:  brianu [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Display Phonograph?

photo? that would certainly help.

Author:  SonnyPhono [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Display Phonograph?

I will try to stop by again tomorrow and get a photo of it. Brian, you seem very knowledgeable about phonographs...ever seen or heard of one made for demonstration purposes?

Author:  brianu [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Display Phonograph?

I've seen the small banks and similarly sized salesman samples and advertising pieces. I also know of a few machines specifically made with glass on the sides for viewing of the motor - not certain of the models, but zonophone made at least one like that. another manufacturer I think was kurtzman or kurtzweil or something like that - I'd have the check my books (that one was particularly interesting because it was a large floor model with glass you could look through to see the motor. but I've never seen or heard of one like what you described - although I certainly haven't seen and heard everything either.

Author:  SonnyPhono [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Display Phonograph?

Thanks for the info, Brian. I will try to get a picture of it and post it. I really don't think it's a reproduction or something that somebody built in a garage. Hopefully a picture will help to I.D. this one.

Author:  JohnM [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Display Phonograph?

Brian,

It was Kurtzmann Piano Co. of Buffalo, NY that made three models of glass-sided and/or glass-topped uprights. Even the Kurtzmann turntables are glass.

Author:  brianu [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Display Phonograph?

JohnM wrote:
Brian,

It was Kurtzmann Piano Co. of Buffalo, NY that made three models of glass-sided and/or glass-topped uprights. Even the Kurtzmann turntables are glass.



kurtzmann, that's it. thanks john. now I've got to find some photos.

Author:  phonogfp [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Display Phonograph?

Victor made some Victrola XVIs with beveled glass panels in the lids and cabinet sides for dealer displays, but I've never seen one - only period photographs.

I'm not grasping the logic of a small off-brand manufacturer going to this expense. A Victrola XVI was $200 in mahogany, while an off-brand table model might cost a tenth of that. Pending the photos, I'd suspect a handyman - possibly a very talented one - simply jazzed up a cheap machine whose veneer was peeling.

George P.

Author:  SonnyPhono [ Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Display Phonograph?

I wish I had taken pictures. I am just going to bite the bullet and go first thing in the morning to pick it up. The motor was in good shape and worked properly when cranked. It would be a conversation piece either way. I will post pictures when I get them. But I feel you are probably right in that an off-brand phonograph company wouldn't produce such a machine. We'll see! :)

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