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My "New" Victor Type R


DCBrown
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I have always wanted to pick up a seriously old phonograph and this time I think I did:

 

Victor Type R
Serial 34034  

 

Condition:
Now here is where is gets good. 
I have never seen such an old machine (120 Years) which is in so incredible new condition! 
And it looks to have never been restored either!

 

I have a couple questions:

 

1) Most Type Rs I have encontered have an oak traveling rod. Mine is copper.
 Whats the story there?

 

2) Is it common to find such machines in excellent condition?

 

 

IMG_0540[1].JPG

IMG_0546[1].jpg

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Your Royal is equipped with a Jones/Gibson arm.  (This is commonly called a "Gibson arm" by modern collectors.)  These traveling arms appeared late in the era of front-mounted Victors, and they are not as common as the earlier wooden variety.  You'll notice mention of the Rigid Arm on  the metal plate attached to a cabinet alongside the support arm.  The rigid arm was the first incarnation of Victor's back-mounted horn equipment.  The rigid arm was in production only from October 1902 to April 1903, and this corresponds to the time when the Gibson traveling arm appeared.

 

Gibsonarm.thumb.jpg.5f81c667fa14bb5e0e05791cc007bbfd.jpg

 

Your Royal looks like a nice, clean example.  Finding machines in this condition - especially outside the hands of a collector - doesn't happen as often as it used to! 

 

Is the machine's sound box an Exhibition or an Exhibition Jr.?  I would expect the former by the time your Royal was manufactured.

 

Congratulations on a nice acquisition - -

 

George P.

 

 

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Tinfoilphono

That's a great find! It's definitely not common to find machines in such excellent original condition. And the traveling arm makes it even more special.

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I love front mount machines and the Victor R is a favorite...  Congratulations on a great find.

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On 10/26/2022 at 2:50 PM, phonogfp said:

That Exhibition has been rebuilt, so it should play well.

 

George P.

 

Yes, it plays extremely well. Come to think of it, the Mega-Collector I bought it from said he had had the reproducer rebuilt. And is it loud! What's the accepted way on this phonograph to reduce the volume by, say, 50%?

 

Thanks!

VictorR180.jpg

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3 hours ago, DCBrown said:

 

What's the accepted way on this phonograph to reduce the volume by, say, 50%?

 

 

Back in the old days, they'd simply "put a sock in it."

 

George P.

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Beautiful Model R! Congratulations! To reduce volume, my first step would be to try a soft tone needle (or extra soft tone if available). If it's still too loud, yes, put a sock in it 😉

 

Andreas

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  • 2 weeks later...
phono-phan

Your R is very nice.  It looks like it has the larger horn option.  The standard R would have a zinc horn bell. 

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I believe that by the time this late Royal was manufactured, the horns were all-steel or equipped with a brass bell.  This 1904 catalog offers both:

 

Royal001.thumb.jpg.fbc038f13dc76f7c28bb4cf6f15a939d.jpg

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1 hour ago, phono-phan said:

Thanks for the information.  Doesn't this horn look larger than the standard size?

 

I don't think a smaller horn would fit on the traveling arm!

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My Type R will NOT play 10" records. Is that to be expected? I suppose because its a 7" single spring unit.

 

Perhaps it needs an oiling? 

 

Basically, my Type R, being a 7" single spring unit - was never DESIGNED to play 10" records but is there a simple way to up the torque a little bit so that it will?

 

Thanks! 

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7 hours ago, DCBrown said:

My Type R will NOT play 10" records. Is that to be expected? I suppose because its a 7" single spring unit.

 

Perhaps it needs an oiling? 

 

Basically, my Type R, being a 7" single spring unit - was never DESIGNED to play 10" records but is there a simple way to up the torque a little bit so that it will?

 

Thanks! 

 

Eldridge Johnson introduced 10" records in January 1901.  The Royal didn't appear until late 1901/early 1902.  The Royal should be able to play a 10" record unless its mainspring has lost some of its strength.  If the motor has not been lubricated recently, that's definitely a good starting point.

 

George P.

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Seeing as how my Victor Royal is in such excellent condition, I am curious what you all think about replacing some parts to make it a little bit better or should I just leave it alone? 

 

Example:

 

Rubber Feet - 120 year old rubber, very hard to the touch causing it to tend to slip on a table surface, and different thicknesses causing the unit to have a slight list.

Replace?

 

Decal on side of horn missing.

Replace?

 

I am reminded of the Antiques Road Show episode in which a couple brought in an old table. The appraiser looked at it and said "I see you refinished it  nice job" The man of the couple inquired as o its value and the appaiser said between $25K and $30K. The owner asked how their refinish job affected the value and the appraiser said " Well you lost about $300K by refinishng it. It would have been worth about $330K if you had left the finish original"

 

I do not want this to be me ....  🙂

 

Thanks!

 

Edited by DCBrown
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Replacing the rubber feet will not affect value.  You can carefully remove them and put them inside the cabinet if you wish.  That way, they can always be be returned to their original positions - although I don't know why anyone would want to do this.

 

Despite the catalog illustration, not all Royals (or other front-mount Victors) had decals on the horn.  If the horn paint is original and in good condition, I wouldn't add a decal.

 

The worst thing I've seen done to a few Royals is when their owners mistakenly attempted to improve the appearance of the oxidized bronze finish on the support arms and motor plates.  Polishing those pieces ruins them.  I wouldn't go beyond waxing them, and only if necessary.

 

George P.

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Tinfoilphono

I highly recommend Renaissance Wax for preservation and (mild) luster. It was developed by the British Museum and is suitable for all sorts of materials, from paper to leather to metal. It is easily removed with mineral spirits (reversibility being a core tenet of museum conservation). It is expensive but you need very little for an application, so it lasts a surprisingly long time. 

 

That said, I always suggest doing a test on a small hidden area whenever possible, just in case. Although it is considered suitable for most materials, it can sometimes react. Not often, but that's something I'd rather avoid. I've used it for many years on many artifacts.

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