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 Post subject: Help with Brunswick Model 7-don’t know where to start
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:05 pm 
Victor Jr
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 2:07 pm
Posts: 1
Brand new to this. I inherited Brunswick Model 7 and it needs to be serviced. I don’t even know how to access the motor:(
Not sure where to begin. Thank you in advance!

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 Post subject: Re: Help with Brunswick Model 7-don’t know where to start
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:25 pm 
Victor V
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
Posts: 2271
Location: South Carolina
Hello and welcome aboard. Nice machine to inherit--Brunswick Phonographs are good ones. If you want a machine with that lovely geometric style from the early '20s they are nice to have, and their rugged, sophisticated engineering makes them real keepers for someone who likes listening to vintage music. R.J. Wakeman's book on them is a must. I have a 1922 Brunswick lowboy which unfortunately was abandoned in a last-minute unscheduled move but I'll go back for it one day.

Service items on a windup phonograph really aren't much. You have a spring motor, a reproducer, and joints in the tonearm. On your machine there is an "Ultona" reproducer, which is (at the moment) set in the mode to play 78s. That's good. It should be able to flip over like a stethoscope, clear diaphragm side down, to play Pathé and Edison disc records with a jeweled stylus. Be careful with that--the joints will doubtless need oiling at the least and the pot metal in the tonearms tends to swell up.

Are you mechanically inclined?


Whether you ARE, or AREN'T, these are simple to work on.

Start by lifting up on the edges of the turntable, give it a good pull and it should pop right off. Now turn the crank backwards, or counterclockwise, until it also comes off.

You will need good screwdrivers, so go to a gun store and get some big gunsmithing screwdrivers. Guns are expensive and need these kind of flathead screwdrivers. The screws on guns have the same heads as old phonograph screws because they, phonographs, and typewriters all come from around the same era--pre Philips Head screws in the 1950s.

Drip a little Zoom Spout sewing machine oil on the screw heads, let it sit a second or two, and pop that baby out of there. The screws you want to remove are around the EDGE of the black metal bedplate. Now you can pick up the whole thing and carefully lift the motor clear of the cabinet.

If you aren't looking to get into phonograph rebuilding as a hobby, I'd remove the tonearm and motor and mail them to Ron Sitko or George Vollema for repairing. They'll do a good job at a fair price, and you'll have time to clean the cabinet up while the parts are away. If you do want to fix it, well, make sure it's unwound all the way before you dare try taking it apart--for your sake and the motor's. Ask me how I learned that one!

The Model 7 Brunswick has 2 mainsprings. It should run almost silently when it's restored, and it may run silently now. They are some of the best motors I've ever seen in a phonograph. But getting it apart should be simple. Take lots of pictures, nice detailed ones, and clean the parts in denatured alcohol or kerosene or, for a less pungent scrubbing, try some Kroil. Kroil is super expensive but it's nice. Sewing-machine restorers use Blue Creeper penetrating oil as a parts cleaner. Back in the day they used gasoline. There are lots of things to clean up these motors. On the spindle shaft (turntable goes on top) you will see a gear made of fiber. Don't get solvent on the fiber gear. It will weaken it and the teeth might strip off.

Springs are weird. Here's a movie.

You'll see it looks different than your motor. Victrolas are rather like Ford cars of the same era--quirky but so common that everyone else fell in line. Your Brunswick is more like an old Willys-Knight Sleeve Valve Six. It's even quirkier, but the engineering is superior IF it's maintained right.

Spring barrels are simple. You will probably need springs the same as what goes in a Victor Victrola. Someone here can advise you on the proper definitions but I think it is l7' long, pear shaped holes on either end. If your old springs are good, re-use them. Make sure you put them in the right way. You'll need to strip off the old grease, clean them and the barrels, and reinstall them, packing the spring barrels with grease. I used to use red axle grease but now go to a mixture of plain brown axle grease and STP Oil Additive. Works a treat on the old springs. Ask five collectors, get six answers--but we all agree that spring grease should be nice and slippery due to the pressure that is in there. No "Super Tacky" greases here--because nothing is "Tackier" than, halfway through "Bella figlia dell'amore" from the Rigoletto, the gramophone deciding to make backfiring lawnmower sound effects. I have an old 1914 Victrola that does that sometimes. It just turned l04, going on l05, and I've been using it for three or four years now so it's time to put it in the repair queue. Aggravating beast--and it behaves better if it's played more often. Hint hint, use your gramophone frequently.

THE REPRODUCER is where the music begins. Old phonographs like this one use a needle made of steel, with a round shank, or a bamboo needle, with a triangular shank, to play the records. You are using 78rpm records, right? They don't do well with 45 or LP discs. As you noticed by the lack of power cord and presence of a starting-crank, there's no electricity. For maximum efficiency, you'll need that reproducer working at its original factory specs.

Unfortunately for listeners, very few are capable of that after 90 to 100 years. I have a l908 or l909 Victor Talking Machine that I discovered in its original box, missing two screws and the horn but otherwise a real time-capsule. Once I fixed the broken springs and a damaged gear I tried to play it and the sound was absolutely horrible. So you'll need to try doing this.

Get a screwdriver, calm your nerves, and look at the reproducer from the front. They don't bite. Check around and see if you can find a nice video like:

That's a 6 part series on the Brunswick Ultona. The guy in the video has one with 2 diaphragms. You only have to worry about the 78rpm side on yours.

And most importantly of all, enjoy yourself. It's an easy game if you go about it this way. I did my first one when I was 16 and it still works. Granted, I'm not old enough to drink so it has not been play-tested for super long periods of time.

But nice phonograph and a beautiful thing to remember your relatives by!

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