Jump to content

? Playing a Columbia 20th Century record on my Graphophone Type BF?


Fran604g

Recommended Posts

Hiya folks,

 

I recently acquired my 1st 20th Century record, and am wondering if there are any special considerations I should be aware of for playing it? Do they wear quicker than other records of the period? Are they more fragile than other cylinder records of the period, r.e.: Do I need to exercise additional care with handling it, etc.? I have this horrifying image in my head of cracking it from end to end when I place it on the mandrel for the first time. 😬

 

Thanks a bunch,

Fran

Edited by Fran604g
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Fran604g changed the title to ? Playing a Columbia 20th Century record on my Graphophone Type BF?

They are very much like 4-minute wax Amberols in terms of hardness and brittleness. Unlike Amberols, they are also prone to mold. So care is definitely called for!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fran, congratulations on the 20th Century Record!  What's the title?

 

My friend Rene and I have somewhat differing opinions.  I have found these cylinders (at least in my experience) to be as robust as a typical Columbia wax cylinder.  The lack of an end gate on the BF removes any possibility of getting tangled up in that, and once you play it a few times I think you'll agree it's a worry-free experience.  I've played my examples only 3-4 times each over the years, so I can't give an anecdotal report on wearing qualities, but the material appears to be the same as the regular Columbia XP records of the period, so that shouldn't be a concern.

 

I'm pleased you have one of these for your nice BF.  20th Century Records are a perfect example of a "might-have-been" product.  Just imagine if the company had produced these in celluloid, and in a "4-minute" variety after assuming Indestructible's output in 1908.  I contributed an essay on this topic to the late Howard Hazelcorn's book on Columbia Cylinder Graphophones. 

 

Have fun!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I became gun-shy after cracking my first 6" cylinder while putting it (carefully) on my own BF 50 years ago..... I have avoided them since. I display (and demonstrate) Vulcan's replica on my BO, with an original box next to it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rene, I don't blame you after that experience - - I'd be a bit rattled too.  As you wrote, "Care is definitely called for," especially when dealing with valuable records.

 

As for demonstration, the Vulcan replica is definitely the way to go in order to save the original(s).  I don't find the repertoire on my original examples particularly enticing so I almost never play them, unless a serious collector would want to listen.  Same thing with 5-inch cylinders. 

 

George P.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you George and Rene. I think I'll err on the side of caution either way. 🙂

 

It's record #85008 - Yankee Land. It's pretty likely others here noted it on eBay last week...and given what I've seen them sell for the past couple of years, I think I did "okay".

 

Cheers,

Fran

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, phonogfp said:

I think you did at least "okay," Fran.  A two-step, and a good title.  ...And three minutes of it!

 

George P.

The next time we get together over here, I'll have to give it a play for us. 

 

Fran

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would just suggest to make sure your reproducer has a good stylus, soft gaskets and is moving freely.  Same for the carriage.  Make sure it's moving freely.  Then you should be fine Fran.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Valecnik said:

I would just suggest to make sure your reproducer has a good stylus, soft gaskets and is moving freely.  Same for the carriage.  Make sure it's moving freely.  Then you should be fine Fran.

 

Great reminders Bruce. Thank you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I have never run across a three minute cylinder for my BF machine but play only two minute wax on it. Nice you found one in okay shape. I have experienced 'fear' when placing my four minute wax on a mandrel. I think twice now one cracked from end to end. It makes one leery!  I suppose it came in original box? Any photos of it box/cylinder? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the pleasure of hearing Fran's Twentieth Century cylinder last week, and I can attest that it's in nice condition - - and a very good tune as well.  A sprightly ragtime two-step!  I'd happily pay the same price for it (but i don't think that's in the cards)!😄

 

George P.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Neilvanstem said:

I have never run across a three minute cylinder for my BF machine but play only two minute wax on it. Nice you found one in okay shape. I have experienced 'fear' when placing my four minute wax on a mandrel. I think twice now one cracked from end to end. It makes one leery!  I suppose it came in original box? Any photos of it box/cylinder? 

Hi Neil. There's no way for me to know if the box is original to the record, but the top certainly is not.  My record is "85008 Yankee Land - Two Step - (Band)".

 

According to the PDF version of Volume Two in Kastlemusick's Pioneer Discography Series, by Kenneth M. Lorenz (1981) that I have saved on my PC, this title was approximately released July, 1905 - the first month's production of "Twentieth Century BC Cylinders". Pretty cool!

 

The top is simply labeled as "O'Reilly".

20201003_143630.jpg

20201003_143638.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...