Saturday, January 11, 2014

Something Old

Before the snowmageddon of 2014 hit St. Louis on January 5th, my Dad and I visited one of our local antique malls and I found what I thought to be an old cabinet in one of the booths.  I am a sucker for a good ol' fashioned piece of furniture, especially one with a price tag of $34. 

At first I thought that it was only a side cabinet, that was until I lifted the lid and was greeted with this...

It only got better, as hiding under the lid was this green velvet turntable, arm with decorative speaker and would you believe the needle was still attached.  Here's the operates on a crank, yes you have to wind it up...sweet!  Now I will not pretend that I know the first thing about this piece of equipment; but I knew that I had come across a gem.

While the door on the front was carefully perched in it's proper location, it's hinges broken, and the screws holding the lid were no where to be found; that didn't scare me.

We loaded it up, took it to my Dad's garage and both spent the next hour Googling everything we could about Columbia Viva-Tonal Phonographs, model 601.  What we learned was quite interesting.

  • It turns out that this phonograph is from the late 1920s.
  • It originally had a decorative "speaker" plate covering that large upper opening.
  • The needles back then were meant to be used once and then replaced.

I joked several times while we were loading this into my car, how wonderful it would be if it actually still played. Would you believe later that evening I got a call saying that it played about 5 seconds of a song.

Once this is cleaned up, will it work, won't it...either way it is a pretty cool piece of music history.

Happy Saturday! 


  1. It's good looking! I know you can still find those kinds of records (non-vinyl) at our local thrift shops.


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