The Biggest Gramophone in the World - Aeolian Vocalion

All the machines NOT Covered above ie : Continental, Unbranded, Small firms & Any Portable machines (other than By HMV)
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The Biggest Gramophone in the World - Aeolian Vocalion

Post by Gmemg » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:49 pm

I'm sure many readers will recall the 1960's film called :

"Digby - he Biggest Dog in the World"

It was the story of an inventor who managed to enlarge his family pet to gigantic size - little di anyone know that he had previously worked for Aeolian Vocalion !

I certainly didn't when i bought an Aeolian Vocalion cabinet model which looked rather Grand - a friend of mine , an Antiques dealer from Derby said he'd Bid for it, collect it for me, store it and drop it off when he was next near Oxford - he was doing this as a favour as i had found, in an Auction the pair to a picture he had bought a few years ago for MASSIVE MONEY and thus he would make even more on a pair - The Phrase "You don't get anything for a pair- not in this game" is from "Play your cards right NOT the Antiques business as he is likely to get more than THREE times the value of the single picture so he OWED me a favour !

Anyway he moaned at me some weeks ago when he collected it - i just dismissed to as having to do some work , then he moaned about it taking up a lot of room in his store and last night said his men were off to London and would be dropping it off at "the Preceptory "on the way , alas i forgot about it when i went on my daily drive up to a barn full of records i have been sorting through over the last few weeks - i had to take a Patio heater up there as it is SO cold at the moment and records store cold like nothing else , i am afraid of frost bite ! to - day i felt me ears going NUMB after 4 hours of sorting and then realised that i had dropped a record and it had smashed - i couldn't hear it as it had got so cold i had gone temporarily deaf !

I loaded to - days haul and sat for 1/2 an hour warming up and came home only to see their lorry on the Preceptory Drive - when i saw this machine i was (to say the least) somewhat astonished !

it is the BIGGEST gramophone in the world - over 36" square - can you imagine that ? just mark out that on the carpet in your Drawing rooms at home and then imagine that space covered by a Large lump of Mahogany in the Sheraton style !

This monster has several unique features - it has (Like a Spider) 8 legs , the Lid which is 4 panelled slides back on runners and then folds and is held vertically , the internal horn is the full length of the cabinet 36" and MUST be the biggest and longest internal horn in any Cabinet ever made ! it has a volume control as all Aeolian Vocalions do BUT it appears they had only one length of Bownden cable and so it emerges well back from the front of the cabinet which is elegantly inlayed and MUST have cost a fortune when new

Sadly i 've had to clear some of the rooms in the house which are finally being finished so my storage is full of some very rare and interesting machine as well as some needing restoration AND a lot of records which were stored in the house and my other storage here is reserved for all the records coming from the barn - as many as 200,000 SO it had to be fitted in - especially when i realised i couldn't get it into the house - it won;t easily go though the front door and to get it round the back i would have to load it back on a lorry and drive it along the main roads !

SO here are a few pictures taken with the stable doors open and the security floodlights on

The Front

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The Interior with the lid folded back - the panelled door (felt Backed) is hinged over the tonearm/ works)

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With the flap open and the motorboard removed you see the beginning of the 36" long horn & the volume mechanism

Image 3


In case you don't believe me - here is a measurement of the horn - 36"

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The Lid/ Flap over the tonearm/ Works presumably to shield any noise from the record playing as you can't easily shut the lid !

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The graduola Mechanism emerges at the front of the motor compartment as they didn't have a longer cable i assume !

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The Lid slides over the whole machine - the two runners are either side of the middle whilst the outer edges have brown felt to assist the slide !

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The magnificent Veneer work on the case is extraordinary - and it's all the way round

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The Winding side

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The back showing the access panel for the motor & Volume controls

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The End of the Lid Rails & the machine number

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The Lid "resting" on the back of the case

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SO what or who would have had this monster ? well, i soppose some VERY Grand house might have had it or some sort of Grand Public Building ? most Masonic Lodges i know could have got it in ! but few "ordinary" people would have had room for it and would have wanted a 36" log horn at all so most odd

As one of the 2 blokes who delivered it said as we failed to get it into the front hall of "the Preceptory" :

"i think you've gone too far this time
"

He might have a point - but where would you find a cabinet gramophone with a bigger horn ?
Estott : "An Ancient Half - Mad Uncle "

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Money. Greed. Naivety. Falsehoods. Exploitation. Welcome to the wonderful world of gramophones!

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