|The Basic Cylinder Phonographs|
Ever since my childhood, the Edison cylinder phonograph has been an object of awe. I always wanted one, and of course the records to play on it. I eventually realized this goal, buying an Edison "Fireside model-A" Phonograph, circa 1911.
Why choose a Fireside model-A? Well, it is a combination machine which can play both two and four-minute cylinders. And it is not seen as often as the "Standard" and "Home" models.
My machine has both model-C (2-minute) and model-H (4-minute) reproducers, instead of the correct model-K combination reproducer. I have been told that these were cast in pot-metal, and the castings have a habit of expanding and cracking over time. Also, the Fireside horn and support crane are copies I made, using an original as a template. The black witches hat horn supplied with the machine when I bought it is a New Zealand copy.
I have also bought off www.ebay.com.au an Edison 2-minute recorder, and am learning the "lost art" of recording successful wax cylinders. I usually go for "unusual" content, such as Madonna's "American Pie" & Elvis Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes". Makes for an amusing night at our local phonograph society meetings!
The Fireside Model-A Combination Phonograph was intended
as a more economical machine than the Standard or Home.
My actual Fireside Model-A
Cylinders found commonly in Australia are made by Edison, Columbia and some of the English makers (Sterling, Edison-Bell etc). Other makers, common in Europe, are not often seen here.
These cylinders came in two basic running times; 2-minute (wax with some celluloid) and 4-minute (wax & celluloid). Some of the Sterling and Columbia cylinders run longer than the standard two minutes; they are also a bit longer than the norm.
I've recently (2003) bought a Columbia Type Q (second model) pictured below. It's a quaint little machine, which satisfies my want for a "cheap turn-of-the-century" graphophone.
My Columbia Q (Second model)
The Gem was the smallest of the Edison machines.
The Home was one of the "bread and butter" machines.
The Standard was another of Edison's "bread and butter" machines.
Eventually it was decided that the flamboyant external horns used on Edison phonographs were ungainly and unsuited to modern homes. A decision was taken to produce an internal horn phonograph. This change tied in closely with the release of the new improved Blue Amberol 4 minute cylinders.
An Amberola Phonograph
The phonograph pictures on this page are from the book:
Every phonograph collector should have this book!!!