Hi, My name is Björn Gröhn and this is my first post to this forum.
Recently I "inherited" an old Edison standard phonograph from an old friend of the family.
As you can see it is not really complete. Through ebay, I have been successful in finding most of the missing parts, but before I start doing any mistakes, I have one major question:
(Sorry for not knowing the correct words for all parts...) Does the reproducer arm rest on anything, or is the force taken up by the needle itself?
I know that I am missing a screw, but I am really not sure how the design is made. To my understanding, it would be a huge amount of pressure on the needle if both the weight of the reproducer arm and the horn would lay on the needle.
Could somebody explain the design and point out how this works? Maybe somone have some good images or drawings showing this.
I will keep posting pictures of the restoration project. Normally I work mostly with rebuilding antique guitars as a hobby, but since I also work professionally with electronics and acoustics, this machine combines many of my hobbies.
In the future I also plan to build an electrical pickup for digitizing cylinders. But that will be a separate project.
Thanks a lot for the wonderful pictures! They really helped me understand how it was supposed to work.
This evening I have spent fixing the damaged upper wooden frame. All glue joints were loose and one corner was crashed. I will post some pictures later on. I use "Liquid Hide Glue", since it is perfect for repairing musical instruments as violins and guitars. This works excellent for this purpose as well. The joints can be adjusted at least 30 min before settling and the joints are strong without any flexing like modern white PVA glue. It is also possible to open a joint after years with heat, if necassary. That is not possible with epoxy or superglue.
Furthermore I have changed felts on the "on/off lever" and on the brakes. In my machine, the motor was repaired and restored in the 1960's by my old friend Kurt. He personally made a new governor, so this is not original, but it is working perfectly.
However, the phonograph was up and running in the mid 60´s, but ones he was asked to lend the machine to an exhibition - and he did. It took 6 years (!) before he got it back - in a miserable condition. He was really disappointed and he did not find energy to repair it ones again, since it had obviously been dropped into the floor. At that time most of the loose parts were missing like the crank, reproducer, the knurled knob on the carriage, etc etc.
But 50 years later I am now doing a new attempt to get it back to working condition. Right now I am awaiting some major parts from ebay. Though I hope my wife never finds out the price tag on some of the details....
Last Edit: Mar 1, 2010 19:03:30 GMT -5 by klangfix
You mention good success with using heat to separate cabinet joints. I need to remove the top panel on an Edison upright cabinet that has developed a split. I'm thinking the only way I can re-glue and clamp it satisfactorily is to remove the panel first. But, I'm concerned since its likely glued down that I might damage it more trying to remove it.
When you apply heat, do you use a heat gun? What is your technique?
Thanks and I totally understand managing the wife's reactions. Mine just does not appreciate the investment nearly like I do!
It is true that the glue also reacts on moisture. It has also been a tradition among many guitar reapairmen to use steam and heat to loosen a gluejoint. However, I am a member of a Swedish guitar restoration forum were we with great success only use heat to loosen glue joints. In that way you will not damage the surface and the laquers in the same way that you will do with moisture or steam.
If you are afraid of using a heat gun, try a hairdryer instead. You can see one example of using heat here:
I have used a hairdryer in the same way. Here is one of my examples, but this is in Swedish. However, there are a lot of pictures and you should be able to translate it with google translator if you like. :-)
I've seen people burn wood with heat guns. Most of the time, if the one glue joint has already been dammaged, the others are also ready to break free. It's only horse hide glue. When new, it's strong. But, it has a life span, and, rots. That's why I NEVER cary my machines by the handle anymore. Bill Cahill
"I really love those Edison Blue beeswax cylinders!"
That's why I suggest you to use a hairdryer instead of a heat gun. If you use a heat gun, the trick is to every now and then check the surface temperature with your hand. You should hardly be able to burn your fingers when you touch the surface. The distance between the heat gun and the wood should be at least 30cm (around 1 ft) and the power level should not be at maximum. As I said before, the heating time shall be at least 30 minutes, otherwise you will burn the wood. It takes time for heat to travel through the wood, since wood is rather isolating. If you hot feel metal or glass with your hand, you could withstand around 60 degrees centigrade, but with wood you could withstand a slightly higher temperature depending on the isolating properties of wood. Wood is a bad heat sink. :-)
The restoration work is ongoing. I have recently changed the felts on the governor:
As you maybe can see the governor is not the original one, but it is working fine.
The crashed corner of the upper wooden frame is now fixed.
I managed to cut a piece of oak wood with almost identical structure. After that I have colored the wood with different brown colors. In this picture it has no shellack on the surface, so there is still some yellow color tone missing.
Yesterday I received one cylinder, a gearbox and a small reprinted booklet of phonograp recording. I hope that I soon will receive my reproducer.
BTW, I have bought a "C" reproducer. Which cylinder type does it go with? 2 or 4 minutes? Which other reproducer should I try to get if I want to be compatible with both types?
You will need at least a Model H to play 4M records (other 4M reproducers that would fit the carriage eye on your 'Standard' would be the Model R; and, the Model K, and Model S. The Model K and Model S have a rotating mount for two styli for both 2M and 4M). The R and S are scarce and expensive; the K less so. Some complain that the second stylus bar and more complicated linkage on the K and R induces a buzz or rattle not found in single-stylus bar designs like the Model H and Model R. The Models R and S have a larger diaphragm than a Model C or H, but sre designed to fit into the smaller carriage eye. I mention these other reproducers only to be comprehensive in the scope of my answer. A Model H is all you really need.
Having said all that, does your 'Standard' have 2/4M combination gearing?
Hi again, Finally I got the reproducer, the belt and cylinders for 2min and 4 min. I also installed the new 2m/4m gear with very careful adjustments of free play and alignments on every axis. I thought everything should be running well, but it seems that there is not enough power to run everything. When I play a 2 min cylinder it stops after only a few seconds.
I have found one thing that puzzles me, and that is related to my first question in this thread; Is the carriage arm really resting on the knife edge during playback? If so, somebody must have tempered with the feed nut bar mounting. It had an extra washer under one of the screws making it tilt a little bit. In this way there was more pressure on the feed screw and none on the front knife edge. Maybe this makes my machine run to heavy.
I have also examined the bearings of the governor and went through all other bearings with tiny drops of oil. The oil that I am using happens to be a special oil for Hammond tone wheel organs. I thought it would do fine. :-)