Buying A Phonograph
Over the past year or more,
phonographs "are bought at auctions or
flea markets by collectors,
of our society.
A lot of these machines
are bought in as is condition, not working or missing parts.
Some of these
machines are of early 1900 vintage with all brass gears which wear badly.
When the purchasers bought these machines at usually $175 to $200 and took
them home and opened
them up, they often found that a lot of the parts were
either worn out or missing - such as broken springs or governors,
spring box, main springs, gears, shafts, etc.
have been brought to
me recently for repair in such
One I will describe as a sample.
It was missing the whole
spring box, including the spring, box cover with attached gear, ratchet gear
with winding gear, all but one small part of governor, brake, speed control,
crank, case decal and felt.
As well, the reproducer needed new gaskets and
the case needed cleaning up.
After spending 9 or 10 hours locating all the
assembling them in the motor, lubricating the motor, adjusting,
installing a new decal and new gaskets in the reproducer, and freeing
the horn elbow the machine ran and played beautifully.
The charge for all
the parts was only $60 and $10 for labour as I give our members special
Besides this machine, another member brought me two similar machines
with most of the above parts missing also.
Fortunately I was able to sup-
ply and repair these two also.
I was happy to be able to supply the necessary parts for these machines, but
my supply of parts for machines of this
vintage is rapidly being depleted, making it necessary to
parts from part dealers in the United States.
I priced all
the parts I
supplied in the machine
above for $60 in a parts catalogue from a
dealer in the States.
The parts came to $125
US funds, adding $38 to the
rice to $163.
Customs would add
24% or $41 bringing the price to
204 plus postage of $7 or $8 for a total of $212.
Then add the labour to
install all these parts, lubricate and adjust machine and pray that it works.
The reason for this explanation is that I advise collectors to be more
cautious of machines they are buying.
Do they run?
If so, they obviously
have most of their parts
and possibly require only lubricating, adjusting
and cleaning up.
But machines like the ones I've described above, not
and missing vital parts, the purchaser should have opened the case -
in this case the machine had a hinged top board that could easily be opened -
and at a glance the purchaser could have seen that the machine was missing a lot of parts, parts that may or may not be available.
My point is when buying a phonograph at an auction or flea market or
garage sale, if it is not running ask to see the inside of the machine.
Check the motor to see if most of the parts are intact.
possibly it only needs a new spring,
or governor weights and springs or a
small part and the machine can be easily and reasonably repaired.