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 Post subject: What Kind Of Crane And Horn Is This!!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:58 am 
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Victor III
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I came across this phonograph setup tonight and thought it was just a common setup. But looking closer at the pictures, I decided to run it by the experts to see what you think.

Image

At first glance, this is obviously a Suitcase Standard model A and is the early style with 2 clips instead of 4. So it isn't an ultra rare machine by any means. It looks to be in nice shape and has two reproducers with it for some reason which is a nice bonus. But the second picture threw me a bit. Here it is:

Image

The horn and crane are the reasons I posted this thread. I don't recall seeing a horn of that shape and size before. It doesn't have a graduating/exponential bell on the end like they normally do. Instead, the end section is linear just as the body of the horn is and the whole thing appears to be unpainted tin or maybe even nickel plated. Also, I haven't seen a crane like the one in the picture either. Is the unusual base of the crane someone's handy work or could this be an elaborate base made by the company that produced it?

Furthermore, if the horn and crane are original, what would they be used for? I can't imagine this in someone's home. Would this be a very early setup for exhibitions and concerts with larger venues. That's the only reason I can come up with for producing a base for a crane in such a decorative manner. If that is the case though, I can't imagine using a Standard for exhibition purposes.

Any ideas?


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 Post subject: Re: What Kind Of Crane And Horn Is This!!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:14 am 
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Victor III
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That's a pretty wacky-looking crane! I have no idea about it's being original or not. Is the horn aluminum? It looks pretty fresh. The shape is real similar to photos I've seen of early recording horns. The Standard itself looks really good. (I'll bet one of those reproducers is really a recorder.) I'd love to see this close up. Thanks for posting this. I'll be curious to see what the others think.

Regards,
Martin


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 Post subject: Re: What Kind Of Crane And Horn Is This!!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:21 am 
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Victor III
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I agree Martin. The horn resembles some of the recording horns I have seen in pictures. But I am not sure about it being aluminum. That was a pretty new and expensive material around the turn of the century. But maybe it is. Hopefully some of the experts will know. Even more interesting is the crane's base. (If it is original.) But I was thinking the same thing you mentioned that maybe one of the reproducers pictured is actually a recorder. But would a Standard be appropriate for recording during this point in phonograph history? (Pre-1900)

I have another reason I don't believe it is a recorder. There was another picture showing many cylinders with the setup and they are in and around what appears to be a carrying case that would be used by a jobber or exhibitioner. Here it is:

Image

So maybe this is an original setup used by an exhibitioner of that period. I am not in the market to buy another phonograph right now, but if that's the case, I may need to reconsider! :)


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 Post subject: Re: What Kind Of Crane And Horn Is This!!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:17 pm 
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Victor III
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Hi Sonny.

The horn looked pretty bright in the first set of photos, so I thought it might be aluminum. (Some of the smaller horns for the Graphophone were aluminum.) This new picture shows the surface not being quite as new looking, so I'll vote for its being tinned steel. The bottom of the crane looks more like the bottom of a plant stand. (Admittedly, an old plant stand.) Maybe it was a replacement for damaged legs of a folding crane?

It's pretty likely that it really is a recorder there. Remember that the Standard was the machine of choice for the International Correspondence Schools. The whole concept was based around the students being able to record their language tests and be graded on the resulting recording. I've recorded with my Standard A with no problems about power. (It does take pretty much a full wind to get through a whole cylinder.) The Standard was originally supplied with the "Standard Speaker" (with combined reproducing and recording stylus) this was almost immediately replaced by the much improved "Automatic" reproducer (which was self-aligning to some degree. The Automatic didn't record, so they came out with a companion Recorder (which looks like the Automatic from the top). Frow mentions the recorder was dropped as Standard equipment in Nov. 1903. After that, one had to kick in an extra $3.

It's certainly not an optimal machine for exhibition in that you'd be winding it a lot more. Perhaps it was purchased for a school band or for a music teacher? (I've got a couple home recordings made a music teacher and his pupils.) It would be interesting to know the machine's actual history. Anyway, it's very exciting to see stuff like this. Thanks for sharing!

Regards,

Martin


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 Post subject: Re: What Kind Of Crane And Horn Is This!!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:25 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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"If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will." - A. Lincoln
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Every Edison Standard of this period included a recorder "free of charge," so there's no reason to doubt that it's a recorder.

I'd like to see a closeup of the horn's hanger, but I suspect it was made by a tinsmith. Many horns from the 1890s were, and should NOT be referred to as "home-made," as they were professional and often high-quality creations. Unless original paint has been removed, the horn appears to be unfinished or waxed block tin. Many talking machine owners must have discovered that their local tinsmith could make a horn to their specifications for less than the dealer charged.

The flat bell of this horn is pretty typical of horns from the mid/late 1890s. (Recording horns generally had no bells.) Berliner Improved Gramophones were supplied with flat-belled horns in 1897, and other talking machine advertising of that period will often show flat-belled horns.

As for the floor crane, I've never seen one like it, and suspect that it was made up from a table pedestal. Without seeing it or a decent photo, it's hard to determine. But there was nothing to prevent a Phonograph owner in the 1890s from fashioning a crane that they felt better harmonized with their furnishings. I can easily imagine this Standard, horn, and crane in someone's home. If you study lots of period photos, you'll see plenty of similar outfits.

The carrying case pictured is similar to thousands of others that were purchased for use in the home to store cylinder records. Jobbers were regional distributors, so I don't understand any connection there. Exhibitors used carrying cases, but they were generally larger to carry enough records for a 90 minute/2 hour show.

The whole outfit looks like it was used in a home, and looks like a nice group to me.

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: What Kind Of Crane And Horn Is This!!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Victor III
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George,

Thanks very much for all of the helpful information. I didn't know that Standards came with a recorder as well. That's great to know. It's good to know that this is probably a home setup for someone and not an exhibitioners setup. I was considering buying it but the price was a little steep at $1500 if I remember correctly. If it was a rare horn and original crane it may have been a little more worth that amount of money.

I will try to get some better pictures at any rate in hopes that maybe I can be educated even more. I do appreciate you kindly offering your expertise on these things. I will post some other photos if I can come up with them.

Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: What Kind Of Crane And Horn Is This!!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:02 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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"If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will." - A. Lincoln
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
Posts: 6547
Location: New York's Finger Lakes
Sonny,

Glad to help when I can. I agree with you - - $1500 is a bit steep for this group, regardless of its condition.

George P.


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