Victor Victrola Talking Box

Here is the Victrola all polished up. It was quite a bit cheaper to rent a premium SUV drive up to WV, rent a hotel for three nights, and drive back than it was to ship it to myself. Plus I got to evacuate/take a small vacation :smiley:

Edit: here are some more pictures and a video.



Oh, that’s a gorgeous piece! :smile:


picture carefully cropped to remove evidence of the beautiful two year old that reorganizes our house on the floor on a daily/hourly basis lol


ROFL! I do the same thing, and I don’t even have the excuse of a cute two year old! :grin:


Lovely. What do you know about these? I see them from time to time and I’d like to get one myself. I just don’t know what to avoid and what matters less if it’s not perfect.


According to my understanding there is only one product by one company that is actually a “Victrola” shown above. It is a Victor phonograph inside a cabinet and has an internal horn - you open the top doors to open the ‘speaker’ (uses wood slats to disburse the sound - pretty cool). External horn models, though made by Victors, were NOT Victrolas. There were many makes and models (MODEL/RARITY/VALUE schedule) over the early 1900’s.
It only plays 78’s which were single song records designed to play at roughly 78 revolutions per minute (if you play a non-78 or multi-song record on it plays really fast or not at all and you’ll probably damage the record). The 78 records were made out of a compound containing shellac.

I’ll post more when I have more time :slight_smile:



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My grandma had one with what I believe was the original titanium needle (sounded great every time). I now have one with a (replacement) steel needle which sounds terrible. I was looking for titanium needles online, but will probably have to make one from titanium wire.


What is wrong with the sound with a steel needle?

When I had a wind up record player as a child I could get different thickness steel needles. Thicker ones gave more bass. I also had some fibre ones that were very quiet as the volume annoyed my parents. One could also stuff socks into the horn to make it quieter.

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It is not about the volume or bass/treble balance it is about the clarity and longevity of the records played.
The needles on these Victrola’s are really fat, like a thumbtack. A steel needle, if played more than once or twice, gouges the record and it starts to sound garbled and terrible (permanently).
They were originally sold with a titanium needle which was supposed to last “forever”. They switched to steel replacement needles as a type of built-in obsolescence/need to buy replacement parts, and they were cheaper to produce.


Aren’t there also needles out of wood or horn?

You got yourself one of those too? I think ours is defective and may return. The organizational scheme she keeps trying to implement is horribly planned and poorly layed out…


bamboo was a popular option because it created a soft tone and was the only stylus that supposedly lubricated and enhanced the record. Sadly they are no longer manufactured, though you can easily make your own using bamboo skewers Bamboo Needle. Tungsten was used as a replacement to the steel needle and was reusable (typically in a tin with a set of 8 needles) and was called Tungs-tone. you can still buy them today, but they are no longer manufactured.
Steel needles typically won’t damage the records unless a fresh needle is used every time (the 78’s were manufactured with an abrasive that forms the steel needle to the shape of the record grooves. Unfortunately, the steel needle tapers outward very quickly and after a single play can begin to permanently damage the record. You can hand sharpen the steel needles, but new steel needles are fairly low priced (and I have some very ideas of how I would like to use the needles once they are worn)

Might have mis-remembered or been told wrong. Could have been tungsten, not titanium, may not have actually been a conspiracy of forced obsolescence.
Main point (:wink:) is that there are different types of needles, some of which hardly ever need replacing and others that need replacing every time (steel).

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I was just quickly regurgitating information :slight_smile: