I bought this recently
for a small sum because the seller descibed it has having "something
wrong with the winding".
I don't know much about these
early wind-up gramophones but I imagined I might be able to fix
a broken spring.
When it arrived I put on one
side after trying the winder and finding it didn't engage.
Later I opened the lid and then
decided to remove the chassis and see why the winding handle
didn't seem to want to find the motor winding spring. I happened
to remove the brake and much to my surprise the turntable whizzed
round at seemingly 78rpm! Maybe the thing had broken recently?
Under the chassis I found that
the winder appeared to be at right angles to the winding mechanism.
I puzzled over this for a moment before the penny dropped. The
winding handle pushes downwards to nearly horizontal against
a spring-mounted plate and then is pushed over the winder. As
simple as that. Of course it avoids having the winder sticking
out the side and it minimises the overall size of the equipment.
Obviously the vendor hadn't seen one of these before either!
In fact the winding mechanism is as good as new and operates
really smoothly. As I'd removed the chassis... another bonus...
there must have been about 20 or 30 needles loose inside the
case and most felt sharp so were either new or not had much use.
There was a dent in the metal
front panel and a piece of the mounting wood was adrift. These
were easily dealt with by judicious use of a G-Cramp and a block
of metal. Next I resoldered the metal horn back in place, where
the dent had dislodged it. Then I cleaned and polished the veined
black marble finish and ran a phosphor bronze brush over the
odd patch of rust and tightened the screws holding it all together.
I put the "free" collection of needles in the little
container on the left of the turntable.
It now it looks rather nice.
Next I'll clean up the outer case and fit a replacement leather
handle, as the original has long since disappeared leaving a
strip of springy metal in its place.
How did it sound?
I put an old 78 on the turntable
and it played very loudly. Too loud for those in the room not
wishing to hear it and apart from stuffing a sock into the horn
aperture one can't alter the volume (hence the expression, "put
a sock in it?"). The lid won't close because the record
overhangs the case... so min- volume =max-volume. To play a record
the brake is turned off and the arm moved to switch on the mechanism.
I was surprised to discover it even has an auto-stop to protect
the life of needles. There's even a clamping arrangement to hold
a few records in the lid. Surprisingly I couldn't find a method
of retaining the arm. This seems to have to rest (on it's needle)
in a small well at the side. Can anyone enlighten me on this
point (sorry about the pun)? Maybe the rule is that one removes
the needle when a session has finished?
When was it made? I'd guess
Inside the case, visible only
once the chassis has been removed, is the manufacturer's progress
label. Written on this is, in joined-up writing..."Baker,
26 Mansell Road, Pembroke" and printed... "Op7 Maker
29". Was this the name of the person that assembled the
player or had the owner removed the chassis and written his name
on the label, perhaps to identify it if it were stolen and subsequently
recovered? We'll probably never know... unless Mr or Mrs Baker
The motor and mechanism were
made by Garrard and the Decca has the serial number U70968.