Yes, this is a coin-operated Graphophone from 1900. It looks so fresh because we have painstakingly restored it. It appears AND operates now as it did over a century ago.
The American Graphophone Co. knew how to attract the attention of potential customers -- plenty of glass to allow he fascinating mechanical works to be observed. What seems like a pittance to us -- one small nickel -- was a considerable sum to our forebears. But the lure of this charmer was so great that nickels poured in!
The churning of the cogs can even be observed from the rear.
At the heart of the instrument was the indomitable Graphophone Type B (Eagle), tricked up with purposeful appurtenances to make it play ONLY after a nickel was dropped. It automatically plays through a conventional 2-minute cylinder record, and then returns itself to the starting position, only to be unleashed if another nickel is inserted. These machines were frequently taken home by the owners, after discontinuing their use in business establishments. At that point, components were sometimes removed to make the instruments playable without the necessity of a coin. Therefore, one encounters many "neutered" coin-ops. We've had to add some historically accurate components to complete this machine and make it fully functional. And each of these few parts was a hand-crafted, historically perfect replica. We scrupulously cleaned, polished, oiled and adjusted everything.
GREAT old-fashioned details.
An important comment about the reproducer. There was only one very special type of reproducer employed on Columbia coin-ops of this vintage. You see it here. Note the special collar at the very bottom -- this fixed to the carriage with a small screw, to prevent the reproducer flying off as the mechanism returned to its starting position. Since any similar Columbia reproducer might be substituted, the fact that the original is still present is notable.
One component of these instruments that was always knocked off and lost is the sign. Unfortunately, the signboard, which fixes to the cabinet with two small pegs, was particularly vulnerable. Ours is a perfect reproduction -- handmade in proper quarter-sawn oak. The paper sign is of the correct style, and we have carefully AGED it to make it unobtrusive. Nothing is so jarring on an ancient coin-op than a bright white modern sign in today's typeface.
The above comments may also apply to the decal. The decal you see here is an exact and historically accurate recreation of the special decal Columbia used on the BS. It was handmade using a laser printer by an enthusiast who has devoted years to perfecting infinitesimally small batches of historically correct decals. Up until a few years ago, the proper decal was not available, and the decals that were out in the marketplace were glaringly wrong and obtrusive. Our documentary decal is so precise and so finely-rendered, that it is virtually the same as an original.
Price: $4550. with replica nickel-plated horn, and one cylinder record, plus s/h (NY State residents must add sales tax if applicable).
US Post: PHONOPHAN
PO Box 747
Henrietta, NY 14467 USA
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