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1909 Edison Phonograph

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Sold for: $4,305.00
Auction: eBay
Date: May 06, 2012
Bids: 52
Image and description by seller: firebottles

I’m listing an eclectic assortment of antique phonographs, including a 1905 Busy Bee Cylinder phonographs that’s still mint in its original box (this beautiful, unused machine looks and works like new and comes with interchangeable mandrels so that it can play all types of 2-minute cylinders); a 1905 Talk-O-Phone front mount disc phonograph with its original Talk-O-Phone reproducer (it’s become hard to find any Talk-O-Phone machines, perhaps because this Ohio-based company spent more time in litigation with its rivals than it did making phonographs); and last but certainly not least a fascinating Radior disc gramophone for vertical cut records (this unique “hill and dale” machine features an upwardly radiating external horn that’s embedded in its motorboard; you’ve got to see it — it’s very neat!). So don’t forget to click “see other items” after you’ve read about this one. You can also click this link to quickly add and then save me to your favorite seller list and Ebay will automatically send you updates when I put similar new listings online. Please note, however, that this software glitches occasionally, and it’s not uncommon for bidders to be notified of new auction listings after those auctions have ended, so it’s always safest to check in Monday morning, as I list items every Sunday night.

Here’s a pristine, 100% original Edison GEM D cylinder phonograph, better known as the Maroon Gem. The Maroon Gem was the only Edison phonograph to feature a colored case, and its iridescent red Fireside horn was the only Edison horn (other than the decorated Standard E) offered in a finish that wasn’t wood-grained or flat black. The Maroon GEM was also the only GEM that featured factory 2 & 4 minute (ie, combination) gearing and a Combination K reproducer, enabling it to play all cylinder records, regardless of their speed or construction.

As you can see in the photographs, the phonograph is in excellent condition throughout. The fragile shellac finish on the metal case is original and still deep red, with minimal wear evident. Case decorations are also original, and they’re bright gold and beautiful. Mechanically, the machine is a great “player.” The motor is strong, the governor works properly, and the machine has no trouble making its way through either 2-minute or 4-minute cylinders.

The cabinet is also in excellent original condition, with its factory finish still intact and and an excellent original decal. No chipping on the handle, no damaged veneer, no corners coming unglued.

The 2-piece morning glory horn is an original red Fireside horn (the correct horn for the Maroon GEM), with its original iridescent paint and its original Edison decal. The paint — actually fruit dye applied to an unprimed tin surface — is in excellent condition for this type of horn; there’s wear evident, of course, but the red is still prominent both inside the horn and outside, and the paint is stable everywhere, something you seldom see on a red Fireside horn. The 2-part GEM crane is an original, with minimal pitting and oxidation.

The phonograph comes with a Combination K reproducer (2-minute and 4-minute), which is the correct reproducer for the GEM D. Changing the reproducer from the 2-minute position to the 4-minute position involves nothing more than rotating the stylus head 90 degrees. Changing the gearing on the phonograph from the 2-minute position from the 4-minute position involves nothing more than pulling the knurled gear pin to the left.

I’ll include with the phonograph an early Gold Moulded Edison 2-minute cylinder and a later Edison Blue Amberol 4-minute cylinder, and if you get tired of listening to them, there are plenty of other titles available on ebay and elsewhere. The phonograph plays Columbia cylinders too, I should note, along with those made by Oxford, Lakeside, etc. In fact, any 2-minute or 4-minute cylinder can be played on this machine — wax or celluloid. And if you’re not already familiar with how to operate an early cylinder phonograph, don’t worry. I’ll provide you with simple, easy to understand set-up instructions, so you’ll be able to use it within minutes after you unpack it and put it together.

That’s about it. I will carefully prep everything for shipping and pack everything carefully and properly. Overseas bidders, please contact me in advance for a shipping quote. Auction participants with no prior feedback history should also contact me before placing a bid.

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