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Inspiring photographs


Tinfoilphono

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Tinfoilphono

George's post about seeing a photograph and yearning to have an equivalent machine and horn posted here prompted me to remember a similar story from my past.

 

In the early 1960s my parents gave me a new copy of "From Tinfoil to Stereo" by Oliver Read and Walter Welch. I later found Welch's address and wrote to him. We exchanged several letters, in one of which he sent me a photo of himself with some phonographs. It had been taken at the same time as the photo used for the inside back dust cover flap but was a different pose.welch.thumb.png.79a02a500021b1344dfa4814d0ccf161.png

 

That Graphophone Grand with a huge horn absolutely mesmerized me. I wanted one so badly it hurt.... (Well, I was only 13.) It took me 40 years to finally acquire a stunningly beautiful GG. I found a huge horn, though slightly less enormous than Welch's. But, tragically, there is absolutely no place in my house to display the machine with the horn. Too bad -- it not only looks amazing, it sounds incredible.

 

The only photo I have of it with the exhibition horn is so old it was taken on 35mm film. I really need to pull the horn out, spend a few hours cleaning and polishing, and take a new digital photo.

 

gghorn.jpg.833957e93429155a3d4ea528983393fe.jpg

 

Maybe when I move into a nursing home there will be room to set this up in a corner.

 

 

Edited by Tinfoilphono
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Nice topic, Rene!

 

I always thought it was too bad that the 2nd Edition of From Tinfoil to Stereo did not include the image of Welch and that Type GG.  It was indeed a mesmerizing image for kids like us who saw it (although I was 19 when I saw my first copy of the book).  It took me 44 years to find my GG, and like you, it will be among the last (if not the last) to go.

 

The memories evoked by your topic took me back to the early 1970s again, when I first acquired a copy of V.K. Chew's little book, Talking Machines (1967):

 

Chew002.thumb.jpg.7834bcd307c85b25a1008e6f8b732f3e.jpg

 

In it was the first image I ever saw of the fabulous Multiplex Grand Graphophone:

 

Chew001.jpg.27d295218ac42aaee12716dc94aed7b4.jpg

 

I was unaware at the time that there had been an earlier version of the Type MG which appeared in 1900, and that the machine pictured was actually the 1904 (and final) version.  Still, that massive mechanism with three horns suspended from it was (is) too cool for words.  Sadly, no complete Multiplex Grand is known to exist.  But that doesn't prevent a fellow from pining for one!

 

When I finally brought home a Type GG many years later, it never occurred to me that three horns could somehow be attached to it.  After all, it wouldn't be historically accurate to have three horns on a GG.  Or would it?

 

The following year, I was fortunate enough to acquire something that had not been known to exist until late 2017 when one appeared in a small auction in Pennsylvania.  A Hawthorne & Sheble "Clover Leaf" Horn.  In the early 1990s I had discovered ads for this accessory in The Phonoscope, but I never really expected to see one:

 

phonoscope13hunt_0659.thumb.jpg.f0a5798321746d9849a7745b91e1dd1a.jpg

 

phonoscope13hunt_0656.jpg.7d40a40521b58684c57d2cff318b1280.jpg

 

Once this crazy artifact was at my house, those old images of the Multiplex Grand began spinning round in my head.  But this wasn't a Multiplex Grand, and I'm not one for sacrificing historical integrity on the altar of wishful thinking.  But a couple of friends pointed out that the GG and the "Clover Leaf" Horn didn't need to pretend they were anything other than what they were: a legitimate pairing of known products from 1899.  They were right, of course, and that's how I display them now:

 

GG.thumb.JPG.dd6a1b8acda2a78a5fc878aa71df8241.JPG

 

GG2.thumb.JPG.9ad96f54f77935027aa79703d53512b8.JPG

 

Members of the Antique Phonograph Society can read about the complete historical background of the Type GG (and the provenance  of this example) in the September 2017 issue of The Antique Phonograph.  An article on the "Clover Leaf" Horn is available in the December 2018 issue.

 

I don't expect to ever see, much less acquire, a complete Multiplex Grand, but I'm very happy to have come so close to that image in Chew's book that haunted me so many years ago.

 

George P.

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Wow some truly amazing photos here.  What a topic!  

 

I share your pain about the storage though Rene.  Sadly the 42" all brass horn I was boasting about on my Triumph is back where it usually is, laid on top of a wardrobe and the Triumph is displayed with an all brass 14" horn, all  that my tiny office room can handle.

 

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That cloverleaf setup of your GG is nothing less than stunning! Aside from a few geeks nobody would even notice the difference to the Multiplex Grand, so you definitely have the closest to the real thing that anyone will ever see. 
 

Thanks for sharing 

Andreas

 

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Tinfoilphono

I am not a fan of the word "awesome" as it is commonly used, but that GG / Clover setup is awesome in the literal sense of the term. I don't think I'd ever tire of looking at that.

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Thanks for the kind words, fellows.  I feel extremely fortunate.  There's a lot to look at upstairs, but the GG/Cloverleaf is what usually rivets me the longest.  I guess it's pointless for me to post anything else!

 

Thanks for a great topic, Rene - - how about some more "inspirational pictures" from others?

 

George P.

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Tinfoilphono

One more, which I've written about in The Antique Phonograph. When my parents gave me my copy of "From Tinfoil to Stereo" for Christmas in 1962, I saw this stunning machine on page 21:

 

ftfs.jpg.15f6def2cfd3264126f58276c539a615.jpg

 

I was totally enchanted.  The only tinfoil phonograph I had ever seen (in photos, of course) was the original 'Kruesi' prototype. The ornate design of this one blew me away. I dreamed of owning it, but I knew well that it was an unobtainable goal. This was, after all, author Oliver Read's personal machine.

 

Fifty years later the unimaginable actually happened: it was offered to me. I wasn't about to let this get away....

 

DSCN7582.thumb.jpg.7339fe8dfd4aa53d5ff9c6ca70e01893.jpg

 

 

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I was thinking of you and this machine when writing above about Tinfoil to Stereo, Rene!  What a story! 

 

Sometimes dreams do come true...

 

George P.

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