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Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?
https://forum.talkingmachine.info/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3560
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Author:  martinola [ Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

Hi all.

As many of you know, I collect data on Edison Standards. I've recently seen a machine on ebay that had been up there before, but this time it was offered with a switched-out case, from another machine that the same seller had on ebay. (The case had some notable modifications so it was easy to distinguish.)

I don't post this because I want to call anybody out on this, rather, I'd like to get an idea from collectors out there if it's a real breach of ethics or just simply me over-reacting? (I'm not going to tell anybody the particulars, because I'm more interested in the subject generally.) So - what do you think?

Martin

Author:  phonophan79 [ Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

Well, when it comes to Standards... Model A, B, C, D and so on... some have the mandrel gate, some don't, some have the banner decal, some don't...

If you switch a case and it remains historically correct, why is it a problem?

If it's incorrectly done, done in ignorance, done in greed (ie: for profit alone)... then perhaps that is the problem.

I mean, my W-19 Diamond Disc phonograph had a gold neck and reproducer when it was supposed to be oxidized... is that unethical?

Author:  gramophoneshane [ Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

I dont think it's unethical exactly, unless (perhaps) it's a extremely rare or expensive machine, provided it remains within original factory specifications.
I'm sure many of us have bought 2 minute only Edisons & upgraded them to 2/4 minute, which I dont view as unethical, even though the machine was 2 minute only for the first 90 or 100 yrs of its life.
Then there are the Victor pot metal tonearm support brackets that are replaced with brand new examples, which I dont see as unethical either.
If I had a pristine machine, except the gold plating was badly worn on the tonearm, I wouldn't think twice about finding a pristine tonearm to replace it with.

Author:  Jerry B. [ Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

A few years ago I bought a mahogany Model B Edison Standard. It had a so so deck and two minute mechanism so I traded for a nicer B mechanism that had been converted to 2&4. I never gave it a second thought. Jerry

Author:  martinola [ Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

Thanks for your answers, guys. Let's up this conversation a bit with two additional concerns:

First, from an ethical standpoint, should a seller feel compelled to state the switch in their description? And, secondly, let's assume that it's a slightly rarer machine. (Maybe something on the level of a Triumph or insert your favorite machine here.) Thanks again for your thoughts!

Martin

Author:  Jerry B. [ Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

A mahogany Standard is pretty unusual and I would feel no need to tell a prospective buyer about switching mechanisms. A "B" mechanism was switched with another "B" mechanism. I didn't drill extra holes or anything. I don't think it's a big deal. I would notice a "D" mechanism in an earlier case and would not like that combination.

Author:  ColoradoPhonograf [ Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

Hello,
This is a good topic to discuss. I have to agree with Jerry and some of the other responses. I don't think it is an issue if it is an authentic switch of parts or factory upgrades such as 2/4 gearing.

I once bought a mahogany Edison Home model B case that had a model D mechanism and it bothered me. I found a nice model B bedplate/motor/upper works that was appropriate to the machine and it's history. Later on I did sell it but did not disclose the switch because I had actually had put it back to it's authentic status. If there were serial numbers stamped into the wooden case that did not match the numbers on the rest of the machine, then I would make note of it as a seller.

I know a collector who buys machines and will not change the horn that came with it for any reason. It may be a nice Standard or Home with a 14" witches hat horn and if you suggest a simple clamp on crane and a larger Edison floral horn for fuller sound.....he's against that because it wasn't the way he found it. I think it is a bit naive or narrow minded not to have the machine represent the options that were available at the time it was sold from the same manufacturer. To each their own !

Modifications such as having a bedplate nickle plated and suggesting it came from the factory that way just to make a common machine jump in value is an ethics violation that should be looked down on. That kind of "restoration" should always be disclosed but most likely won't be. I do think any kind of refinishing to the cabinets should be disclosed as a courtesy.

Thanks,
ColoradoPhonograf

Author:  Valecnik [ Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

My preference is to leave things the way I got them. I may switch horns etcetera for awhile when they are on display but when it comes time to sell I'll usually put the machine back in the configuration I found it. I don't think there's anything wrong with for example upgrading to a cleaner case if you have a machine with a nice bedplate and poor case for example but normally I wouldn't do it. If I found something obviously incorrect, A model Triumph case with E model works or something like that, I might try to switch it back.

I would not put two/four minute gearing on a two minute machine or drill holes for a cygnet in a case that did not already have them. If I wanted one in that configuration, I'd just wait for a nice one to come along in the configuration I wanted. If others decide differently, I don't think it's a huge sin though, except drilling the holes :?

Of course I'd not do anything that's historically incorrect and where there are serial numbers, especially matching serial numbers on case & mechanism for example I think it's a mistake to switch them and the owner is probably reducing the value of the machine should he decide to sell.

Author:  phonogfp [ Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

ColoradoPhonograf wrote:
Hello,
This is a good topic to discuss. I have to agree with Jerry and some of the other responses. I don't think it is an issue if it is an authentic switch of parts or factory upgrades such as 2/4 gearing.

I once bought a mahogany Edison Home model B case that had a model D mechanism and it bothered me.



I agree. One thing though, regarding a model B cabinet with model D mechanism: I once had a Standard Model D (serial No.676769) and it was untouched - - and in a low molding cabinet (like a model B). Has anyone else encountered an un-messed-with model D in the earlier-style cabinet? I maintain they exist.

George P.

Author:  Lenoirstreetguy [ Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is Switching Cases Without Disclosure Unethical?

Valecnik wrote:
.

I would not put two/four minute gearing on a two minute machine or drill holes for a cygnet in a case that did not already have them. If I wanted one in that configuration, I'd just wait for a nice one to come along in the configuration I wanted. If others decide differently, I don't think it's a huge sin though, except drilling the holes :?

Of course I'd not do anything that's historically incorrect and where there are serial numbers, especially matching serial numbers on case & mechanism for example I think it's a mistake to switch them and the owner is probably reducing the value of the machine should he decide to sell.


I have to agree: I really like to be able to do an " antiques roadshow" thing with my machines: it's fun to know that the upgrades were done in " the period" and not last week. Then one can construct the history of the machine...and when and possibly why they did the upgrades. And as George implies, if the cases have been switched it is hard to decide just which variations came from West Orange and which didn't.

Jim

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