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HomeBusiness & CommunityNotes from the museums: The Victrola

Notes from the museums: The Victrola

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There were several inventors who followed up on the Edison invention of the phonograph. Edison’s Amberola used cylinders for playing recorded voices. By 1906, Eldridge Johnson, one of the many competitors working on the recording idea, had designed the Victrola for the Victor ( or Consolidated) Talking Machine Company. The Victrola is now a generic name for the type of machine that played hard disk, 78 rpm records.

The “Victrola” in the dining room of the May-Stringer is actually a Sears Roebuck product named the Silvertone Tru Phonic. The lovely wood case with scroll work makes it a piece of furniture. The top opens to the green, felt-covered turntable that currently displays the record of tenor Frank Evans singing “Little Marian Parker.” The record was made in 1928 on the Oriole Label. Two doors open to the speaker under the turntable. The doors were used for volume control depending on how wide they were opened. The bottom doors open to shelves for record storage.

The Victrola brand is still in use today, but I’m sure the early, hand-cranked models are much better looking than the new models that plug into the wall!

The Museum Schedules
The May-Stringer tours on Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am – 3 pm – 352-799-0129
The 1885 Depot tours on Friday – Saturday from noon – 3 pm – 352-799-4766
The Countryman One Room Schoolhouse is open on Saturdays from noon – 3 pm – 352-515-3054

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