Like some of you on the forum I also collect antique phonographs and records. I have a 1917 Victor VV-VI that I bought off Ebay several years ago for $150. I played the machine often when I first got it until one of the mainsprings broke. I bought two new springs and installed them but, they seem to be considerably weaker than the original ones. The crank is easier to wind than it used to be. Also, the machine used to be able to play about 5 record sides but, will only play three since I replaced the springs. There is nothing wrong with the motor. Everything is clean, adjusted properly and in good shape. The machine plays very well, it just does not have as much power as it did when I first got it. Also, a spring that I bought for my Edison home model B when the original one broke is noticeably weaker than the original one. Where do you guys buy springs for your phonographs? Who has the strongest ones?
I have been buying mine from Antique Phonograph Supply Co., though their shipping has gotten dodgy over the years. Ron Sitko offers fairly strong springs. He might be a good source. Which motor have you?
I have literally dozens of Victrola motors laying about which have good springs. I could dig a barrel out and send it to you if you like. The Victrola VI used a pair of 6' long springs. I'd reccomend a barrel assembly from , say a Victrola XI, which will contain a pair of 17' springs. Much more "oomph"!
I have had Victor III machines. The one I presently have has not yet broken a spring, but about 1952 I make one Victor III machine out of two. This was when I was in high school. The spring was broken in the center at the inner end. I was able to heat the spring and then cut it off straight and drill a new hole. I just heated the area where I cut and drilled. It worked for several years and then I sold the machine for $15. I wish I hadn't done it. Attached is a picture of the machine. This picture was taken before I was born and was at a cabin in the mountains. Vivian was my mother.
I have one similar to the one in photo. No megaphone. It has two little doors that open for sound to come out. Havnt looked at it in years. It does work. It was my parents.
Jerry Van can answer your questions - that guy is a phonograph genius!
I have had great success with Wyatts Musical Americana in California. They have a website and are very good to give help over the phone. I just had him restore three Victor Exhibition reproducers and he put new needles in an Edison Model K reproducer. I just sent him two Edison Model B reproducers to restore. I had an Edison Fireside with cygnet horn at the Oklahoma Special T's booth at Chickasha and lots of people stopped by to listen to "Little Ford Rambles Right Along" and "Uncle Josh Buys an automobile" Ed
all I have is a graphanola
but I also buy parts from apsco.
I would definitely suggest Ron Sitko and his springs.
Ronald Sitko, ”Cylinder & disc phonographs bought, sold, repaired & parts”
56 Church Hill Road.
Waterford NY 12188
Telephone (518) 371-8549
Give him a call and he'll get you straightened out.
Our local museum has a cylinder collection that they want to transfer to mp3 to play to visitors and put on the website. Does anyone do an electric pickup for Edison cyl machines? 2 minute gold-moulded cylinders.
Jem, I can't give you specifics, but there is an apparatus that will allow you to transfer your cylinders to your computer. Ed
There were such things made years ago. Not sure anyone is producing any now. The basics however were the use of a stereo pick-up cartridge where both channels were wired together. The thought being, that since cylinder recordings use a "hill-and-dale" groove, the stereo pick-up would work, since a "stereo groove" is a combination of hill-and-dale & lateral grooves.
Really though, nothing matches the experience of hearing the records play the way they were intended. 99% of cylinder records are not valuable or rare. I would just play them. Since a museum's charge is to preserve however, you may consider them playing brand new cylinders, available through several sources. Here's one such example:
The issue is preserving the cylinders, museum curators are very precious about their stuff! Had the greatest difficulty even getting agreement to play them just once. And they do have some unusual English music hall stuff, also things like The Airship and The Swallow, & Motoring Up to Date which I just have to hear.
I knew a vintage record specialist (long dead) who built a electric drive machine with a stereo cartridge & got stunning clear sound, especially off blue Amberols. I may experiment with a regular tonearm & cartridge.
IF you do play them, use a new needle each time, this will re-assure the curators/archivists that you are caring for their artifacts. You can also argue that unless played, they aren't interpreted. A careful one-time playing to record them, to me (as a former curator) is reasonable.
As to getting a "clear" recording, the noise is part of the experience! There are computer programs designed to clean up the recording later. "We" had one record at the Lott home (Edison flat)"I'm a Bum!" that I thought was a great novelty song, and I wanted to have a recording of it for the docents to play during tours. It is much simpler to train a docent to turn on a CD player than to learn how to handle and care for an old 'Talking machine.'