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"Phonospace" or "How Do You Display Your Collection?"


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Eleven years ago today (Feb. 1, 2010), I posted something like this on another forum, inviting others to share pictures of their "phonospaces."  There was a lot of participation (as of today, that old thread is 33 pages long!) showing many ways of living with our hobby. 

 

Back in 2004/early 2005, we converted the attic of our 1893 Victorian into a 3rd floor where I could finally display my collection the way I'd always wanted.  Central air, extra duct work, lots of insulation, roof venting, and a 12,000 BTU window air conditioner keeps everything the right temperature and proper humidity.  But the fun part is all that space.  I realize I'm very fortunate, since I collected seriously for 38 years before I had this room - which I affectionately call the "belfry."  (Phonograph horns have bells - - get it?)

 

There are only 4 antique phonographs in our downstairs living space these days, so my wife Barbie is almost as happy with the belfry as I am.

 

Anyone familiar with the thread I posted 11 years ago may recognize a number of phonographs - and some are still sitting in exactly the same places!  However, I'm surprised with the many changes over the past 11 years; a time (retirement) when I expected my collecting to slow down.  Not yet, I guess...

 

I hope others will post photos of their phonospaces as well.  There's no such thing as "not good enough" or "not nice enough" or "not big enough."  None of us started out with large collections, and many of us will dispose of our collections as we enter into "Old Age" (whatever that may be).  Many of us will finish the way we started.  Our collections are merely reflections of our interests at the moment, and the current limitations imposed on us by ourselves or outside forces.  Collections are fluid, and represent only a snapshot of the present.  Please share pictures of your phonospace - no matter how unremarkable you think it may be.  I'll bet there's not another exactly like it anywhere else.

 

Here's a quick tour of the belfry and my collection...

 

George P.

 

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Mainspring

My space is cramped and not finished. I do have some machines in another room upstairs but I have used about every inch I have in a half basement. Obviously, I also have other interests. This started life as a train room but I downsized that collection to just a few N scale trains. I have a dream space in my head but it will likely stay a dream.

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Neilvanstem
14 hours ago, phonogfp said:

Eleven years ago today (Feb. 1, 2010), I posted something like this on another forum, inviting others to share pictures of their "phonospaces."  There was a lot of participation (as of today, that old thread is 33 pages long!) showing many ways of living with our hobby. 

 

Back in 2004/early 2005, we converted the attic of our 1893 Victorian into a 3rd floor where I could finally display my collection the way I'd always wanted.  Central air, extra duct work, lots of insulation, roof venting, and a 12,000 BTU window air conditioner keeps everything the right temperature and proper humidity.  But the fun part is all that space.  I realize I'm very fortunate, since I collected seriously for 38 years before I had this room - which I affectionately call the "belfry."  (Phonograph horns have bells - - get it?)

 

There are only 4 antique phonographs in our downstairs living space these days, so my wife Barbie is almost as happy with the belfry as I am.

 

Anyone familiar with the thread I posted 11 years ago may recognize a number of phonographs - and some are still sitting in exactly the same places!  However, I'm surprised with the many changes over the past 11 years; a time (retirement) when I expected my collecting to slow down.  Not yet, I guess...

 

I hope others will post photos of their phonospaces as well.  There's no such thing as "not good enough" or "not nice enough" or "not big enough."  None of us started out with large collections, and many of us will dispose of our collections as we enter into "Old Age" (whatever that may be).  Many of us will finish the way we started.  Our collections are merely reflections of our interests at the moment, and the current limitations imposed on us by ourselves or outside forces.  Collections are fluid, and represent only a snapshot of the present.  Please share pictures of your phonospace - no matter how unremarkable you think it may be.  I'll bet there's not another exactly like it anywhere else.

 

Here's a quick tour of the belfry and my collection...

 

George P.

 

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Gee and my oh my a feast for the eyes. Just wonderful space. I totally enjoyed this feast!! 

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George, thanks for sharing updated pictures of phone heaven 🙂. We all need a shining example to strive for, even if we may never reach it. 😄 

 

Since we moved, my new home office is also my main phono room with some other machines scattered around the house. Since work is all virtual now, the first picture shows what people see as my Zoom background in every meeting 🙂 The other two pictures show what is to the right and left of me when I sit at my computer. Working here feels quite comfortable 🙂
 

 

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Here are some images from my collection. About 5 years ago I moved into a smaller house than before and had to crowd quite a lot of "stuff" into a smaller place. I have the entryway to our home, the stairwell to upstairs, and 2 rooms upstairs to house my collection. There are a couple of machines in the living room as well.  Pardon any dust you might notice in the pics.  😉 

 

Perhaps a few too many pictures... oh well I couldn't stop.

 

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10 hours ago, alang said:

George, thanks for sharing updated pictures of phone heaven 🙂. We all need a shining example to strive for, even if we may never reach it. 😄 

 

 

Andreas, I suspect that one person's "shining example" might well be a spouse's or significant other's  idea of "cautionary tale."  But thanks - - I appreciate the compliment!

 

David, Andreas, and Dan - - I envy each of you the vertical walls you have at your disposal.  You can display so much on those walls!  To say nothing of the wonderful things on them!  Thanks for sharing - -

 

George P.

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Tinfoilphono

My collection is much smaller today than it was when the previous thread was published. Yet somehow every square inch of floor and shelf space in the house is still filled with machines.

 

I'm very envious of your gorgeously well-presented and well-lighted display, George. I have always wanted to have my own museum, but I've never had the room to put coherent displays together. Inevitably, my machines are organized more by size than by any inherent meaning. I try to group things where I can, but it's still a very scattershot arrangement. I have machines all around the living and dining rooms, but mostly in my office. The arrangement isn't special, but I still get a lot of enjoyment from what I have.

 

Here are some quick snapshots.

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3 hours ago, Tinfoilphono said:

 

I'm very envious of your gorgeously well-presented and well-lighted display, George.

 

 

Gosh Rene, your collection seems the very definition of "well-presented and well-lighted!"

 

My phonospace currently isn't as well-lighted as it was 11 years ago, and that came about just this past summer.  I'll share this story in case it might help inform others. 

 

During warm weather, when other collectors would visit and we'd spend a few hours upstairs jawboning, those track lights would really build up the heat - - especially on 85-degree days.  The window unit would automatically turn on and make a heroic stand, but sometimes it would hit 80 degrees up there.  I decided to replace all the incandescent bulbs with "warm" light LEDs (2700 degrees) for the summer weather, and then replace the incandescent bulbs in the fall to help heat the room quickly in the winter. 

 

This would have worked fine, except the new LEDs - despite being rated at 50 watt equivalent, were significantly brighter than the 50 watt incandescent bulbs.  I had an electrician install special dimmer switches which work with LEDs.  Now I can dim those LEDs to a perfect level in the summer, but the problem now is that the winter incandescent lights are not as bright as they were with the regular switches.  The dimmers are always slightly dimming the lights - even when adjusted all the way up.  So my winter incandescent lights are a bit dimmer than they used to be.  I don't really notice it in person, but some of the pictures I took 2 days ago for this thread are a bit dark.   

 

Your collection, on the other hand, looks perfectly lighted and beautifully displayed.  Thanks for sharing it.

 

George P.

 

 

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Tinfoilphono

The lighting you see in my collection is simply sunlight, with (in a couple of pictures) an overhead light to fill in the shadows a bit. We're lucky to have a lot of big windows and skylights, and California sun. For sure, it looks better in daytime than at night.

 

LED dimmers are very different from conventional ones. They can't handle the wattage of incandescent lights so it's not a good idea to mix and match. Conversely, using LEDs with a conventional dimmer results in distracting flickering.

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8 hours ago, Tinfoilphono said:

LED dimmers are very different from conventional ones. They can't handle the wattage of incandescent lights so it's not a good idea to mix and match. Conversely, using LEDs with a conventional dimmer results in distracting flickering.

 

My electrician assured me I could use incandescent lights with these dimmer switches, and so far this winter it's been fine.  He said that the dimmers would get warm with the incandescent bulbs, and he was right.  This guy has been an electrician around here for about 40 years, and he had to order these switches from some supply house.  It took about 10 days to get them, and there are cooling fins built into each switch. 

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I'm humbled when encountering the collections of the advanced community members, but use those experiences for inspiration. I thank you all for sharing your lives with the rest of us.

 

Our collection is predominantly spread out between the 2 front rooms (my "audio" room, and our dining room) and small home office of our downstairs. I've had to resort to placing some machines atop others - my Credenza, Edisonic Schubert, and Edison Long Playing Model 1-C - which I'm not very fond of doing, but...you know. My Altec-Lansing Model 17 speakers hold up a Triumph Model A and Graphophone Type BF, too. Our A 100 is the only machine permanently quarantined in our rear "family" room. There's a Diamond Disc Phonograph Model B 19 and a few other items in the barn.

 

Still no Waldo though.

 

-Fran

 

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Fran - you've added some things during the quarantine!  I'm looking forward to seeing your collection in person again soon.  Oh - - and you too of course!😉

 

I feel something soothing and satisfying by sitting in Fran's audio room, surrounded by his carefully curated clutter.  Good conversation and soft background music...  Sharon doesn't know what she's missing!

 

Looking good, Fran!

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Neilvanstem

I never really took photos of whole rooms as it is hard to do but here is one I found while taking a photo of a Perfecta Perophone if I am spelling that correctly. You get a peek into my kitchen. I threw out the table and most chairs to make room for more important stuff like phonographs!

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2 hours ago, phonogfp said:

Fran - you've added some things during the quarantine!  I'm looking forward to seeing your collection in person again soon.  Oh - - and you too of course!😉

 

I feel something soothing and satisfying by sitting in Fran's audio room, surrounded by his carefully curated clutter.  Good conversation and soft background music...  Sharon doesn't know what she's missing!

 

Looking good, Fran!

Thank you George, the feeling is quite mutual. I really miss having you and Nate over here. And that goes double for seeing you and Barbie. I miss the human contact that texts, forums and emails can never replace!

 

I feel like I'm in a cocoon that, when I finally emerge, will erupt into one ugly-butt insect. 😬

 

I know you've added some very interesting items since the last time I visited (when was that anyway?), and I look forward to having a look around the Belfry again, hopefully sooner than later.

 

Cheers,

Fran

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1 hour ago, Neilvanstem said:

I never really took photos of whole rooms as it is hard to do but here is one I found while taking a photo of a Perfecta Perophone if I am spelling that correctly. You get a peek into my kitchen. I threw out the table and most chairs to make room for more important stuff like phonographs!

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Thanks Neil! I for one would enjoy seeing more of your collection posted here. I've seen many of your photos in the past, but it would be great to see you put them all together in one spot. You have an incredible collection. 

 

I'm not trying to make any extra work for you. 😁

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RodPickett

Fran,

 

A great display of antiques too!

 

Aladdin lamps, a convertible table / wall lamp, what is on the buffet?

 

Hope you have some family history on the Singer treadle sewing machine.

 

My grandmother was a seamstress for the Capehart family (Alvin and Suzanna, parents of Homer), circa 1916, Polo Illinois.  She used the same Singer treadle machine until her passing in the 1970’s.  No stinkin electricity for her.  A few years ago, a creative crook tried to sell me an original Edison treadle.  A very close inspection revealed the letters “SINGER” and been carefully reconstructed into “EDISON”.

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6 hours ago, RodPickett said:

Fran,

 

A great display of antiques too!

 

Aladdin lamps, a convertible table / wall lamp, what is on the buffet?

 

Hope you have some family history on the Singer treadle sewing machine.

 

My grandmother was a seamstress for the Capehart family (Alvin and Suzanna, parents of Homer), circa 1916, Polo Illinois.  She used the same Singer treadle machine until her passing in the 1970’s.  No stinkin electricity for her.  A few years ago, a creative crook tried to sell me an original Edison treadle.  A very close inspection revealed the letters “SINGER” and been carefully reconstructed into “EDISON”.

Thanks for the kind words Rod.

 

The Singer was Sharon's great grandmother's, and her grandmother still used it up until her own death in 1986. The slag glass lamp was her grandparent's, presumably her grandfather made it out of bits and pieces. At least the base anyhow. When it came to us in 1986 there were remnants of brown glass bead fringe, but it sat dormant for years in our attic and the little remaining fringe had all been lost. A few years ago I replaced the light socket (the original was missing parts), rewired it and last year added the green bead fringe to the shade. The base is soldered together copper and brass sheet treated with some sort of painted-on hard finish, not the oxidized patina you'd initially expect. Her granddad was a metal finisher during the great depression, so it might have been something he worked with to treat copper based metals. It's one of our most cherished possessions. The American Walnut dining room suite, except for the center large china cabinet, was also her grandparent's. We retain the receipt from them buying it (on credit over 3 months) on March 28, 1930.

 

The set came to us from Sharon's mother's home after we could no longer care for her in her own home because of her advanced alzheimers. 

 

Cheers,

Fran

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That is simply a magnificent collection and it displays well. So how do I display my collection? Well with my wife's permission and she maintains it is just clutter that should be put in storage but she will tolerate it for me . I still love her though 😁 

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My Phonospace is a bit different from most, since it actually doubles as my bedroom. I'm still living at home with my parents, so things are a bit cramped for me. Still, I'm very proud of the collection I've been able to build in the last 8 years. Space might be tight, but I'm well equipped to play just about any early recording (with the exception of Columbia's "Twentieth Century" cylinders). 

 

I've had the honor of spending hours with both George and Fran in both their phonospaces. Both of their collections are incredible, and I've really enjoyed seeing all the other collections here as well. It definitely gives me something to strive for!

 

Nate

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Nate,

 

So we FINALLY get to see your collection!  You indeed should be proud of assembling such a collection in 8 years.  I had forgotten that you have an Edison Concert and an 8-35 Victrola!  But I don't see that Edison Triumph with a repeater...  That was a cute little touch - showing that green Hawthorne & Sheble horn in the mirror - - the horn you KNEW I wanted when you bought it at the Wayne show...!

 

Seriously, thanks for posting.  Your room very much reminds me of my own bedroom, long ago.

 

George P.

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25 minutes ago, phonogfp said:

Nate,

 

So we FINALLY get to see your collection!  You indeed should be proud of assembling such a collection in 8 years.  I had forgotten that you have an Edison Concert and an 8-35 Victrola!  But I don't see that Edison Triumph with a repeater...  That was a cute little touch - showing that green Hawthorne & Sheble horn in the mirror - - the horn you KNEW I wanted when you bought it at the Wayne show...!

 

Seriously, thanks for posting.  Your room very much reminds me of my own bedroom, long ago.

 

George P.

Thanks George!  The Triumph is in a bit of a difficult spot to photograph, that's why I skipped it, but I just added a photo.  I honestly think it is my favorite machine- even though my back hurts just thinking about carrying it across the parking lot at Wayne! What a way to end my first show. 

 

You're right, that horn is a beauty. It's really your own fault, you convinced me I needed to buy it! I just long for the day I can display it properly. 

PXL_20210206_022937604.jpg

Edited by NateO
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Nate, your space is wonderful, and as George said it's nice you've shared it with us. You use the space well, and have a very well curated collection there, pal. I can only imagine where all the disc records are.

 

It'll be nice to see how it grows in the future when you have a space of your own to fill.

 

Thank you for sharing,

Fran

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So many wonderful spaces here!

 

Well let me approach this a little differently.  I made this short video of my tiny cave one evening in lockdown.  It only shows off a few machines in my collection but maybe a few people will get a laugh out of it or see something interesting.

 

 

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