GRAMOPHONES and PHONOGRAPHS
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For Help and Information about Gramophones
Victrola Orthophonic Credenza Upright Grand Gramophone
Originally part of the Ian Calderbank Collection of Gramophones.
This Gramophone has been Sold, but the details might be of interest to fellow Collectors.
This framed 10" X 8" picture will be included with the Gramophone
The Orthophonic Victrola Credenza is the American equivalent of the much sought after and very expensive re-entrant HMV Models 202 & 203 manufactured here in the UK.
Many American Collectors believe the Credenza to be the best Acoustic Gramophone in the World.
The Credenza was first shown in November of 1925 (later called the model 8-30). It is probably the most famous of all the Orthophonic Victrola's.
This machine contained the largest horn Victor made, and was always chosen
to demonstrate the Orthophonic principles.
Originally priced at $275, the price was increased to $300 effective January 1,1926 coincident with
the change from two front doors to four. The cabinet is in the Italian Renaissance style which came with a choice of walnut or mahogany veneer. The lid is lowered with the aid of an Air dash-pot.
I am indebted to Robert Baumbach for information found in his definitive book on Victor Gramophones "Look for the Dog".
In the 1920's two of the largest Gramophone manufacturers were Victor in America and HMV here in the UK.
However back in 1907 these two companies hatched a deal; rather than compete against each other, they would each sell their products in different parts of the World. Part of the agreement was that HMV would not sell Gramophones in North America and Victor would not sell Gramophones in the UK.
This rather cosy arrangement was strictly adhered to.
The Credenza is very large and heavy; hence the cost of importation from the USA is very expensive when packing, insured carriage and possible Customs Duty is taken into account.
Therefore when assessing the value of a Credenza which is actually here in the UK; the extra significant cost of importation from America is surely an important factor.
This is a possible explanation as to how my Credenza arrived in the UK :-
In 1926 the way to travel between England and North America was by Ocean going Liner. In the absence of live music the Gramophone on a ship would be used to provide musical entertainment; for instance during the interval when the Dance Band had a "Cigarette" break. The obvious choice for a top quality ships Gramophone would have been the Credenza. The Credenza upon the introduction of electric amplification would have become obsolete and most likely given to the ship's Captain or crew member.
This Gramophone is identified as having been produced by Victor in Montreal Canada.
I purchased the Gramophone over 12 years ago at Auction in a Specialist Sale by a top London Auction House; after the Sale, because of Vendor confidentiality, the Auctioneer could only tell me that the Gramophone formed part of the clearance from a large house in Ringwood England.
Ringwood is only 20 miles from Southampton. In the 1920's Southampton was a UK Port of embarkation for Canada. Hence the Gramophone was probably owned by an English member of a ships crew.
The Walnut Case is in good condition.
There are a few very minor scratches on the lid and on the front lid edge is wear and marks unsurprisingly left by hands that have opened and closed the lid during 85 years; I have tried to show the Case in the photographs.
I had always believed my Gramophone to be of Mahogany and advertised it as such on this webpage.
I am indebted to John Lakey an American who has been Collecting Gramophones for 40 years and owns three Credenza's. He pointed out my Gramophone was almost certainly Walnut. The difference in colour of the two woods is subtle; the mahogany is more plain and straight grain, also confusingly Victor used different woods like birch or maple for the some of the solid trim pieces in their Gramophones.
Dimensions 46" High (117cm) X 31.5" (80cm) Wide X 22" (56cm)Deep.
The hooded Tonearm back-support bracket has been replaced; these were originally made of pot-metal which unfortunately over the decades can deteriorate and break-up.
The part that holds the needle is called the Soundbox or as Americans say "Reproducer".
The Soundbox on this Gramophone is the Model 5 Gold Plated Soundbox which is correct for this Gramophone.
- But the Soundbox is rather special.
I am indebted again to John Lakey for pointing out that most Orthophonic Victrola's (probably > 90%) are equipped with the dreaded pot-metal Soundbox. However, this Credenza is one of the rare examples with a Brass backed Soundbox.
The Pot-metal back on Soundboxes as with back-support bracket which has been replaced on this gramophone are prone to crumbling and breaking up.
The Brass backed Soundbox on this Gramophone is therefore sought after and highly prized by American Collectors.
For information:- "The potmetal Soundboxes have 9 teardrop holes on the front, the brass ones have 7".
The gold-plated fittings are in good condition.
I did not realise hydraulics were so advanced in 1926 until I saw the Credenza with its automatic lid closer.
The gold silk horn cloth is original and in very good condition. - Possibly a bit dusty, the Maid had a day off.
The Gramophone has a 4-spring motor; the springs are somewhat longer than the UK HMV equivalent.
Upon being fully wound - the motor will play for about 20 minutes or four record sides without re-winding.
Old original mainspring grease sometimes becomes hard and gluttonous over the decades. It takes expertise and therefore expense to safely handle a long mainspring with razor sharp edges. During Servicing by a specialist Gramophone Engineer all four mainsprings in this motor were removed from the spring drums, cleaned along their lengths and repacked in modern grease ready for many more decades of use.
Automatic Start / Brake.
Automatic Record speed indicator.
As a general rule the longer the horn on a Gramophone, the better the sound quality.
This Gramophone has an "Orthophonic Horn" which is equivalent to a six foot long horn
To obtain a horn of this length; the horn is "folded", these "folds" have been mathematically designed to prevent sound distortion. The horn in this Gramophone represents the pinnacle of acoustic Gramophone design; it would be totally impractical to have an ordinary Gramophone with a six foot horn.
The huge, but contained horn in this Gramophone explains the excellent sound.
Some early radio owners were so impressed with the sound quality that they wanted to hear radio through this horn rather than an electric speaker. Victor actually produced an adaption to satisfy their needs; it is not on this Gramophone.
The identity plate states "The gift that keeps on giving, the Victor Logo, Victor Talking Machine Co. of Canada Ltd., Montreal, Patented 1925-26, CREDENZA C7117A, other Patents pending".
The original retailers plate states "Layton Bros Ltd., Montreal's Leading Piano & Phonograph House, 550-552 St Catherine's St W., Montreal".
The auto brake assembly states :- Victor Talking Machine Co. Camden N.J. USA.
This Gramophone is in both good physical and mechanical condition, but please bear in mind its age;
most people would be pleased to be in the condition at the age of this gramophone and to play such a good tune.
A facsimile copy of "The Orthophonic Victrola" Owners Guide will accompany the Gramophone
together with 100 Gramophone Needles.
Victrola Orthophonic Credenza Upright Grand Gramophone
The Gramophone base measures 80cm wide X 56cm Deep X 117cm High.
Because of the Gramophones size and weight, it can only be Collected from South Devon
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