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 Post subject: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 6:33 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:30 pm
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This is my grandfather's Edison phonograph, passed down to my dad, and then to me. Unfortunately, I've never lived anywhere with space to display it, and now I'm downsizing even more and probably need to let it go. The story is that my grandfather (born in 1865) purchased this new, and played it in the farmhouse main room while my father was being born in the farmhouse bedroom (in 1925). (Still have the platter called "10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes.") But enough history....

Googling around, I believe that it is an Edison Diamond Disc W&M C33, William and Mary cabinet with “x-bottom", brown mahogany finish, copper parts and wood inlaid border around record storage doors. Sorry I don't have better pics. It's dusty in the pics, but is really in very good shape when it's cleaned up. It has one curvey-tube-needle tonearm mounted on it, and a spare tonearm and a few other parts (see pics). I didn't find a serial number or any other stickers anywhere. It still winds up an plays records. Everything is original, just been moved from home to home. I have about 40 Edison disc records in it.

I'd love to find someone to purchase the entire thing and keep it together, but from reading these forums for a few hours, I get the feeling the whole thing wouldn't be worth more than $150, and finding a buyer willing to pick it up in West Virginia seems unlikely.

Any help would be appreciated:
- Help identifying the model?
- Where to look for other identifying stamps or numbers?
- Names and purposes of the various parts.
- Any ideas of value of the cabinet? Or of the individual parts? Would someone by a tonearm? Or the horn? Or just the records?
- Any suggestions how to look for a collector who might be interested?
- What to do with an antique like this?


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 Post subject: Re: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 6:46 pm 
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Victor V
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 2017
Location: South Carolina
Hello! You came to the right place to talk phonographs. That family provenance on the Edison is amazing and it would be something that I'd never get rid of with a history like that. (Especially as you don't need to so much display a phonograph as to just have it where you can use it some.)

There are people who'd cannibalize it for parts, yes, but I think the condition it is in, plus the family history in it would make it absolutely a crime against history to tear it down for spares. There are plenty of Edison parts out there without having to destroy yours.

If I was in WV I'd be interested but I don't so I can't. There may be, however, some other family members who would like to have it? You could loan, give, or sell it to them. (Edison phonographs like this can be repaired with modern-day parts, such as the Figure 6 diaphragm and the Bruce stylus, and sound as good as new again.)

The extra reproducers & all that are great to find with it.

Not sure what the value of the specific William & Mary model is but it's got to be better than the BC-34. But yours looks pretty great & I'm sure that cleaning it up makes it look amazing. One simply does not find good-looking turntable felt like that any more, same goes with an intact original grill cloth and beautiful inlay.

Surely someone will be interested in re-homing it or you may find a spot in your new house to use it, but this is an amazing antique phonograph and thank you for sharing pictures of it with us! Always nice to see one in this kind of condition.


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 Post subject: Re: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 9:05 pm 
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Victor VI
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:17 am
Posts: 3420
Location: Where there's "hamburger ALL OVER the highway"...
Very nice!

The WMC-33 is, in my humble opinion, one of the best looking of the consoles. If I could find my copy of Frow's book, I could tell you a little more about it. I recall that it was introduced about 1922, and was probably discontinued in 1927, along with a number of older models.

I would strongly recommend not parting it out, though: it's a beautiful, original machine.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2020 9:23 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:51 pm
Posts: 872
Location: USA
Your machine appears to be in nice, original condition. I agree that it would be a shame to part it out.

Unfortunately, these console models (also called "lowboys" by some people) are generally not highly regarded by collectors, hence the low potential value that you discovered in your web search. They take up a lot of floor space, and while somewhat pleasing in appearance, they are fairly mundane.

Good luck.
Best regards ... AZ*


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 Post subject: Re: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 12:45 am 
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Victor III
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Posts: 559
Lucius1958 wrote:
Very nice!

The WMC-33 is, in my humble opinion, one of the best looking of the consoles. If I could find my copy of Frow's book, I could tell you a little more about it. I recall that it was introduced about 1922, and was probably discontinued in 1927, along with a number of older models.

I would strongly recommend not parting it out, though: it's a beautiful, original machine.

- Bill


Since my copy of Frow is at hand, I'll do the honors for you.

The WMC-33 William and Mary Console was introduced on April 13, 1922 at a cost of $325. It has a double spring motor and the large "no. 250" horn, which qualifies it as an "official laboratory model." (The designation was a marketing gimmick for Edison's machines at the top of the regular line.) Originally available only in mahogany, but varnished walnut offered beginning in 1923. "Never a lively seller, it remained available until August 1927 when 218 cabinets were still in stock."

I've never seen one in person, but from pictures I would agree: it's a handsome machine, far more so than average for a console model. I've always liked how it looks, much better than the looks of the upright William and Mary version (one of which I *have* seen). Is there no way to keep it in the family? It appears to be in fine condition, and that history is priceless; most of us collectors would give proverbial eye teeth to have a machine that came down to us that way. There's money value, and there's history/sentimental value, and while your machine may not be terribly exalted in the former, it has the latter beyond all belief.

[edit] Oh, by the way, those 10"/12" selector buttons were an "upgrade" accessory. The extra playback device in one of the photos is an aftermarket adapter to play standard 78 RPM records; the Edison equipment would play only Edison records. Your adapter is missing a little pin that should stick out from that hole visible at the end of the tonearm segment; that would slip into a slot in the bayonet fitting on the Edison machine's pivoting horn, ensuring proper alignment and enabling the rotating collar to secure the adapter in place.


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 Post subject: Re: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 7:07 am 
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Victor II
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:41 am
Posts: 392
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Barney Google wrote:
Any help would be appreciated:
- Help identifying the model?
- Where to look for other identifying stamps or numbers?
- Names and purposes of the various parts.
- Any ideas of value of the cabinet? Or of the individual parts? Would someone by a tonearm? Or the horn? Or just the records?
- Any suggestions how to look for a collector who might be interested?
- What to do with an antique like this?


To add to what others have said:

The serial and model number plate should be to the left of the turntable, but is missing. You can see the two screw holes where it used to be. It's a thin metal plaque 1 ½" tall and about 3 ¾" wide. Perhaps it fell off and is still hidden somewhere in the machine. It would look similar to this one from a different model:
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As previously stated, the reproducer shown attached to the arm in the photos of the turntable is an Edison Disc reproducer, meant for the Edison thick records only. It has a permanent diamond needle. In the photo, it is not pushed all the way into the arm. The pin fits into the slot in the rotating collar, then the collar is turned to lock it into place. The Kentone is an aftermarket reproducer meant for playing regular (thin) 78 records. It uses steel needles (in the dress plackets container and probably the other little tube) meant to be discarded and replaced after every play. Others can correct me if this reproducer appears to swivel for vertical cut records. If so, perhaps a jeweled stylus is in the "Broadcasters" tube?

The Columbia Records object from the Kentucky record store appears to be a record brush to wipe dust from the grooves of records.

I agree with the other sentiments regarding value. Keep it as family history if you can, but if you need to sell it, it would be worth more keeping everything together along with a short note with as much as you know about its history (names, approximate dates, and locations). If you must, the records and Kentone could be sold separately, but I would agree with keeping everything else intact and together (i.e., not "parting out" the machine). As has been said, console cabinets are not highly desirable. However, this model IS a lot more attractive than more common lowboy styles in the Edison line, and in amazing condition as well.

As far as selling, unfortunately, I have nothing to offer other than perhaps listing it in our Yankee Trader section on this forum, or perhaps a consignment shop. In my opinion, eBay and similar venues are more trouble than they're worth, especially with large items like this. I have no experience with selling, so others may want to better advise you on this aspect. Best of luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2020 10:30 pm 
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Victor VI
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:17 am
Posts: 3420
Location: Where there's "hamburger ALL OVER the highway"...
drh wrote:
Lucius1958 wrote:
Very nice!

The WMC-33 is, in my humble opinion, one of the best looking of the consoles. If I could find my copy of Frow's book, I could tell you a little more about it. I recall that it was introduced about 1922, and was probably discontinued in 1927, along with a number of older models.

I would strongly recommend not parting it out, though: it's a beautiful, original machine.

- Bill


Since my copy of Frow is at hand, I'll do the honors for you.

The WMC-33 William and Mary Console was introduced on April 13, 1922 at a cost of $325. It has a double spring motor and the large "no. 250" horn, which qualifies it as an "official laboratory model." (The designation was a marketing gimmick for Edison's machines at the top of the regular line.) Originally available only in mahogany, but varnished walnut offered beginning in 1923. "Never a lively seller, it remained available until August 1927 when 218 cabinets were still in stock."

Oh, by the way, those 10"/12" selector buttons were an "upgrade" accessory.


I'm not sure the buttons were an "upgrade", per se: in 1922, Edison was anticipating the possible release of a 12" series of Diamond Discs, and apparently installed them as standard equipment on most models (I have them on my 1922 BC-34).

The 12" discs were, unfortunately, never put into production (except for the "sampler" records for dealers); it wasn't until the introduction of the 10"/12" Long Play discs that the buttons again became useful. Considering that this machine does not have the extra gearing upgrade that came with the LPs, I might judge this to be an early example.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2020 5:37 am 
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Victor V
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Man who ride on tiger find it very difficult to dismount! Charlie Chan
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:29 am
Posts: 2035
Location: Temecula, CA
I'm a little different than most collectors, because I like console machines. I have a W&M-33, but not quite as nice as yours, a very nice C-450 18th Cent. Adam, and a rare Italian Umbrian IU-19. My W&M-33 is not used currently because I use it as a stand for my Edison Opera cylinder machine. It makes a perfect stand because it holds the Opera very securely as well as giving room for placing cylinders that I'm playing. I would try the Yankee Trader, Craigslist, and even Ebay to sell it. Also try Facebook marketplace. It's way too nice to part out. If you include the records with the machine, I think it would be easier to sell.


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 Post subject: Re: Help learning about my family Edison (W&M C33?)
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2020 6:59 am 
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Victor IV
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"A Phonograph in every home..."
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:02 pm
Posts: 1138
Location: Melbourne, FL (Former New Yorker!)
Amazing that the Original Silk Grill material is still in place... Truly Amazing.

Parting out this machine would be a real crime. Keep it together and sell it as one unit to a real collector if you are thinking of letting it go. Otherwise, Keep and enjoy it.

That's my advice..

:o)

Tony K.

Edison Collector/Restorer


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