Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Discussions on Talking Machines & Accessories
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Raphael
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Raphael »

There's a lot to the crazy story of Reid Welch, most of it not worth repeating here. But I did get an email from him last year, at which time he was pretending to be his ex-partner Ernest Bennett (a true gentleman). Since Ernie had long since died, I knew it was just Reid using Ernie’s computer and email contact list.

Not too long after the video was made I ended up with that BC and eventually sold it to another member of the Forum. He resold it as well and I believe it lives in Virginia now.

Wyatt Marcus and Paul Baker are the two guys to get information from on how to rebuild that Higham reproducer.

Raphael

edisonclassm
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by edisonclassm »

I guess I had better jump in here. BTW Raphael, Reid's partner was Ernie Bennett not Eddie. I had extensive conversations with Reid on the BC machine he restored and he spent countless hours on shaping new components for it with very successful results. Reid is a very intuitively intelligent and skillful technician. In my opinion, the Higham amplifier for the Columbia BC was one of the most brilliantly conceived inventions for phonographs at the time. It is a mechanism that increases diaphragmatic movement therefore exponentializing the sound output. It was very effective and had a very successful production run for Columbia as they sold close to 10,000 machines. I've had very good success in restoring dozens of these machines providing the components are undamaged. I have not had great success in trying to repair machines with damaged components particularly the hard rubber shoes. If they are damaged, it is hard to repair them as the various glues and epoxies have a hard time adhering to the hard rubber material. It's good for awhile but it usually in time falls apart again. Another issue that arises when trying to restore these is the diaphragm. Often collectors take the reproducer cover off the front of the reproducer and unknowingly damage the mica diaphragm because the old gaskets have bonded to the Mica and when they pull the cover off, it delaminates the mica diaphragm rendering it severely damaged. The mica diaphragms in these must ring like a bell when edge dropped on a surface plate and if they don't you will get severely diminished sound output. All in all when these machines work properly they really perform. They could be placed in a very large auditorium and the record being played could be heard throughout.

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Raphael
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Raphael »

edisonclassm wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:46 pm BTW Raphael, Reid's partner was Ernie Bennett not Eddie.
Huh?

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phonospud
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by phonospud »

Paul Baker is the guy you want to contact regarding making any BC or BM working like new. Paul has done years of research, reverse engineering the parts required to make these machines work as they did new. I have been instrumental in assisting Paul with some of this work and know first hand how important and complex it is to get these machines working correctly. No one has the experience and expertise that Paul has regarding these machines. He can be contacted here on the site. edisonclassm is his ID nickname.
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Rexophone
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by Rexophone »

Thank you all. Paul, I will contact you privately as soon as I get back to the reproducer (doing some garage cleaning today). As far as I have seen so far, all of the parts are present and unbroken. Yes, I have worried about that mica diaphragm. I realized that it could easily delaminate so I have not loosened the screws holding it in place-- at least until I understand the correct way of doing it.

Yes, from the video and Reid's posts it looks like all lot of work went into making those reproduction parts on his machine.

Steve

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MTPhono
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Re: Columbia BC Restoration Questions

Post by MTPhono »

I own a Columbia BM (also has a Higham reproducer) that Paul Baker restored and can attest to the quality of his work. The results are amazing.

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