Early VV-X needing life support

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CharliePhono
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Early VV-X needing life support

Post by CharliePhono »

Forum member Emerson commented in the eBay marketplace, etc., section of the TMF the following: Oh Yes You Can---bring it back to completion. The Forum members prove that all the time, offering help with their knowledge and parts availability. AND, You can do it. So, lets hear what is all there when you pick it up---Looking forward to your next post.

Obviously, I am moving this topic to "Machines," as it no longer belongs to the other category. Well, I picked up the old beast a couple of days ago and will say the pictures on FB Marketplace were accurate: This thing has been through a lot in its lifetime. When I got it home, I was remembering a line from the lyrics of "Don't Look At Me That Way," sung by Irene Bourdoni: "My will is strong, but my won't is weak." That would be the case with this machine. I couldn't pass it up. It would be rather like finding, say, a VV-XVIII in the wild, but missing the doors and the feet. Where are you going to find another, unless you find a donor cabinet or are, like our friend with the recently resuscitated Circassian L-door, a master woodworker? My thinking is that would be exceedingly difficult because (cannot be seen in the pic because the machine is filthy and my iPhone very old) I do believe it is fumed or English Oak (I often have difficulty discerning as I've never owned a machine with such a finish).

The good: Crank, reproducer (not in pic), tonearm, turntable, spent needle cup, and a decent nickel bullet brake are all present. The "wall of Troy" fretwork is largely present and reasonably intact.

The missing (notice I didn't say "bad"): Motor board screws, motor board lift knob, horn slats, doors and hinges, base.

I guess someone at some point cared enough about the machine to want to listen to it. As you can see, the horn opening now sports a fine mesh screen covering. Also, someone tried to fabricate an isolator for the reproducer and partially succeeded, except the material was very hard plastic (almost like lucite). The reproducer is also missing the balance springs, but -- I almost forgot -- is the round hole variety. I haven't taken the time to get the exact serial number, and it is very difficult to see, but does start with a 2 followed by three digits, and this machine had a production run of serial numbers 501 to 3000 during the first production year (1910). The first production run machines were the only ones to be offered with the bullet brake. Production of this particular iteration of the VV-X ceased in 1911.

Emerson, my friend, I have no doubt that with the proper tools and facilities I could bring the machine back to life in its entirety. A decent woodworker could probably fabricate a base for it, but the doors are another matter. With all that, I am on the fence about whether to attempt giving this old derelict a new lease on life or simply parting it out. I live very simply in an off-grid environment, a tiny house, and no workshop to speak of. Any work that I've been able to do on my small stable of machines gets done on the coffee table in my living room or, weather permitting, outside on a makeshift work table.

So, what sayest the collective wisdom of the Forum? Maybe someone has a set of doors and hinges, or even possibly a donor cabinet, but I won't hold my breath. In any case, I'm glad I "rescued" the thing, even if it becomes a donor for other machines.
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A talking machine might be the closest you'll get to a time machine.

gramophone-georg
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by gramophone-georg »

I say we need our very own TMF "Celebrity Death Match"! You and this X vs. Russie and Lori:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48560

Got the popcorn ready.
"He who dies with the most shellac wins"- some nutty record geek

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CharliePhono
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by CharliePhono »

gramophone-georg wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:49 pm I say we need our very own TMF "Celebrity Death Match"! You and this X vs. Russie and Lori:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=48560

Got the popcorn ready.
I truly LOL'd at that, George. Russie and Lori own that thread!

Oh yes, and by way of a P.S.: The two-spring motor is there and appears complete (the dastardly variety that hangs within the horn), but either the springs are broken or detached, as there is no tension when winding. I'm gonna vote for broken . . .
Last edited by CharliePhono on Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
A talking machine might be the closest you'll get to a time machine.

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Skihawx
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by Skihawx »

I think it is time to put it out of it's misery.

emerson
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by emerson »

OK, I'll throw my 2-cents in, or should I say I'll put my "X sense" in----BRING IT BACK TO LIFE. You have the majority of it. Put an ad in for the parts and have the patience to wait, they will show up for this 110 year old expensive machine in it's day---let it stay the VICTOR in this brawl. I'll wait to see the pictures when it is done, I have patience. You already have the LUCK---you got the machine, just keep it going.

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CharliePhono
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by CharliePhono »

In the FWIW department, I cleaned the _____ out of the lid, first with Scrubbing Bubbles and then good old pumice-free Goop. This was the result. There is fumed oak and then there is oak with 39 pounds of tobacco goo and gunk. This was the result after vigorously cleaning the wood. Obviously, it isn't fumed, but does appear much darker than the usual Victrola oak finishes. As you can see, even after cleaning, it is very dark. Is this a specialty finish or just really old oak with a darkened hue from plain old age?
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oliver
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by oliver »

Congratulations on your find. I also vote for saving it. As Emerson said, with patience you should be able to find the parts you need.
I own an identical early X (2270 serial #)
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Skihawx
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by Skihawx »

This Mahogany VV-X table model is going to go unloved for only $300.00.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/it ... ff8448273d
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Frisco The Beagle
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by Frisco The Beagle »

I vote for saving it, and there is no rule that says it has to be restored to like new condition in the next month or so. Even if you just get it cleaned up and functional-ish for the time being, you could still enjoy listening to it as you wait to find new or replacement parts. When parting one out you always stand the risk of being left with just a hulk that you can't even give away. Good luck! :coffee:

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CharliePhono
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Re: Early VV-X needing life support

Post by CharliePhono »

Hey Oliver, your machine is really nice and close in number to mine (28**; I still can't make out the last two numbers because of the very dark ID plate).

Frisco, thanks for the upvote on trying to save the machine. As it turns out, a very nice collector in Oregon contacted me about his empty VV-X case in mahogany. So we are going to see what plays out with that. It will either be a completed mahogany model with the parts from mine or mine will end up having some mahogany parts (temporarily). And you're right about being left with a hulk if I part it out. Somehow, I can't see me chucking what's left of it on the burn pile.

I appreciate the encouragement and am indeed going to try to save this poor old thing. As has been pointed out, I have most of it, and it would be a sin to just trash it.
A talking machine might be the closest you'll get to a time machine.

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