Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Record Players and Victrolas

This Newcomb record player seemed to be in every classroom across the US in the 60s, 70s, and   80s.  They had a lid and folded up for easy storage.   Did you have one of these plaid beige record players in a box? Do you still have one? (I'd like to add another to my collection.)

Another popular record player in the classrooms was the Caliphone record player, also a portable record player in a box.  Below is my new Caliphone 1440 which I bought from Ebay which turns but which does not play since it does not have a needle...yet. I'm about to go shopping for Caliphone needle (once I find out if it's hard to install).

My collection of vintage educational technology started when I brought in the typewriter that I had used in high school.  Most of the people in my office had never touched such a thing. My next big step forward was in 2011 when I bought this victrola.  

I haven't taken the victrola into the office, I keep it at home. Partially because while it is old and genuine, I'm not entirely sure that it counts as something used in education.

 I think Victrolas were more for home entertainment than in schools.

The machine came with one particularly beat-up old 78 rpm record: it had a cigarette burn on it only the first third played. But it  was the army fight song.

Over hill, over dale...Or is it ...

Over Here, Over there, we will hit, the dusty trail, and those cassions, go rolling along.

Since then, I've bought a set of more interesting records and built a collection of record players.

Edison Gold Molded Records

The recording of human voice was started by Thomas Edison who initially used wax cylinder to record the vibrations that constitute the human voice.  In 1917, Edison went into business selling Edison Gold Molded Records where the recording was on a cylinder. It's not really a record player since the "records" are rolls.  

Edison Gold Molded Records
Edison Gold Molded Records
Here's a little more info from the  University of California website:

The "Gold-Moulded" process, developed in 1902, significantly ameliorated these limitations (ed: uneven quality, limited number of quality copies etc). The process involved creating a metal mould (sic) from a wax master; a brown wax blank could then be put inside the resulting mould and subjected to a preestablished and precisely calibrated level of heat. As the blank expanded, the grooves would be pressed into the blank, and after cooling, the newly moulded cylinder could be removed from the mould. The "gold" from its namesake is derived from the trace levels of the metal that were applied as a conductive agent in creating the initial mould from the wax master. With Edison Gold-Moulded cylinders, playback speed was standardized at 160 revolutions per minute (RPM). The number of grooves on gold-moulded cylinders remained the same as for brown wax cylinders, at 100 TPI, or threads per inch.

In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, low cost and cute little record players were everywhere. Kids got their record players for birthdays and Christmas. Then, a new record for every occasion.