Columbia BC Restoration Questions

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Rexophone
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Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Rexophone »

I am a new owner of a Columbia BC. I expect I will be asking a lot of perhaps stupid questions as I move through restoration, but here are my first two.

QUESTION 1
I encountered something unexpected on the Higham reproducer. Between the friction shoe and floating bar that supports the stylus arm is a yellowish solid that almost looks like a deteriorated rubber bumper stuck to the friction shoe. The only photos I have found of Higham’s with original parts aren’t quite close enough for me to absolutely determine that this is a foreign object, possibly something that solidified from an ill-conceived cleaning of the amber wheel. But before I removed it I just wanted to be absolutely sure that it is foreign. Please let me know. Pictures of the object included below.

QUESTION 2
As you are aware operation instructions appear on a label on the flip down front door. I was surprised when they stated the motor should not to be started until the stylus has been lowered onto the record. When the record is finished, the motor should be stopped, then the stylus raised. The motor should not be run unless a record is being played.

Since the friction shoe is in constant contact with the rotating amber wheel, but under less tension when the stylus is raised, I assume there might be a fear of slightly reshaping the amber wheel if the Graphophone is run in this state for a period of time. Does anyone think that might be the idea, or have other suggestions? I just thought these instructions were interesting.

I will say, many cylinder machine motors don’t have the umph to start a record and engaged feedscrew from a dead stop. The BC certainly does have the torque needed.

Anyway, let me know if you have any BC suggestions. Many thanks,

Steve
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phonogfp
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by phonogfp »

I can't explain the rationale behind the instructions, but the yellow matter between your friction shoe and the weight is not original. Here are a couple of closeup photos of original parts which will hopefully help:

https://forum.antiquephono.org/topic/50 ... mment-2651

Best of luck with your restoration!

George P.

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Rexophone
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Rexophone »

Thanks George! I really appreciate it.

I have seen all manner of opinions about whether it is possible to get the original amber wheel and friction shoe to work again. Some people say the friction shoe changes shape with age, but I've also heard that it can settle back into shape with repetitive play. One collector believes a light wipe of turpentine on the wheel improves things. There doesn't seem to be much out there definitive if a person wants to try reproducer restoration themselves.

My phonograph makes the distinctive growl of the Higham reproducers when the motor starts, so I know that there is some frictional interaction going on, but right now it only plays at the volume of a typical cylinder machine.

I will remove the yellow thing and see if I can figure out what it is.

I would love to hear the success and failure stories of others with this machine.

I hear it mentioned that the reproducer required a certain amount of adjustment when new to stay operational. Does anyone have any idea where those adjustments might be made? There doesn't seem to be anything readily obvious to me. I have been reading the patent and studying the parts.

Thanks for your advice, and thanks, George, for directing me to those photos.

Steve

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Lucius1958
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Lucius1958 »

Eric Reiss, in The Compleat Talking Machine, has a section on the BC, offering a few tips.

One critical factor is the rubber shoe: after more than a century, the rubber has probably suffered some chemical changes, and ought to be replaced for best performance.

- Bill

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Rexophone
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Rexophone »

Thanks Bill, I hadn't thought to look there. Yes, I'm afraid that could be true. I'm hoping, but will know more with some experimentation. I just got the motor and top works cleaned and lubricated after years of dormancy. I did not want to seriously look at the reproducer until everything else was working as it should.

Steve

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dzavracky
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by dzavracky »

You might try and contact this guy… he made a new wheel and friction shoe for his reproducer.

https://youtu.be/bPUoI32SGDM

David

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Rexophone
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Rexophone »

Thanks, yes, I have been pondering his video and discussion. I figure I will see how far I can go with my original parts, then explore new options if I have to.

Steve

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TinfoilPhono
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by TinfoilPhono »

dzavracky wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:29 am You might try and contact this guy… he made a new wheel and friction shoe for his reproducer.
Reid Welch was a very troubled individual who spent a few years in prison for assault several years ago. Reportedly he died earlier this year.

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Rexophone
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Rexophone »

Wow. I knew he had been in prison. I had not heard he died. That whole story is very sad.

Steve

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dzavracky
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by dzavracky »

TinfoilPhono wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:03 pm
dzavracky wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:29 am You might try and contact this guy… he made a new wheel and friction shoe for his reproducer.
Reid Welch was a very troubled individual who spent a few years in prison for assault several years ago. Reportedly he died earlier this year.

Oh I did not know that. :?

David

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