Columbia invented the 5" diameter cylinder (known as the "Grand") in 1898. The purpose was to increase the volume and fidelity of the cylinder record, and it demonstrably achieved this goal. Edison, and everyone else in the industry, instantly hopped on the band wagon and the "Grand" format was soon firmly established. The machines which Edison produced were typically utilitarian in design. However, Columbia's agenda was more aesthetic. Columbia's cabinetry reinforced the importance of the instrument and the significance of the technological achievement.
By 1902, the Grand records were firmly established. It was then that Columbia created its legacy instrument, the Type AD. The engineering separtment through everything it had into the design. The result is a machine that purrs like a kitten. Then number of these instruments which survive may practically be counted on one hand. A fair case can be made for this being the rarest of all Graphophones. Note that it was two belts! This was a first -- and it was brilliant! Gone is the clicking and clacking of the upper communicating gears. This machine can also play both Grand and regular-size 2-minute cylinder records, through use of a removable Grand mandrel. The gleaming nickel is 118 years old, yet shines like new. The mechanical works are spotlessly clean.
Throughout its history, Columbia recycled the designated names of its machines -- exactly what car companies have done through the years. The "Home Grand" designation began several years earlier, applied to a much smaller instrument. Columbia reused the name a few times for different machines. Note the fine condition of the original decal. The little gold dot above the banner in the vicinity of the "G" in Graphophone was used to center the decal at the factory. Frequently, these tiny dots have been worn off, its presence here is a testament to the superior condition of this machine.
Details of the outrageously ornate cabinet -- ORIGINAL FACTORY FINISH. Few other antique phonographs could boast this caliber of baroque cabinetry.
This detail shows the switch by which the works go from regular-size to Grand-size record. This component displays damaskeening, which was a decorative finish reserved for the finest quality watches and technical instruments.
Columbia, ever the technical innovator, employed die-castings to construct the reproducer carriage. By this we refer to the configuration that supports the horn and reproducer, sometimes loosely referred to as the "trunnion." Die-casting technology was cutting-edge at the time. What was unknown was that these die-castings would have a tendency to "swell" over long periods of time. We have replaced any swollen components with historically precise replicas, thereby insuring that the instrument functions today as reliably as it did when new. As always, our engineering work is flawlessly true to the original.
Yes -- you're not dreaming! This is the entirely-nickel-plated motor. It is mesmirizing to watch it run -- and it runs smooooooothly! The tandem arrangement by which the springs are wound and the power released is worthy of Jules Verne. We cut no corners at phonophan. To insure that the motor was the titantic powerhouse it was meant to be, we replaced all six mainsprings with springs manufactured to exact historical specifications. No kidding -- that was a complicated job that took all day!
The Type AD is the rarest of the rare. Sold with an original Columbia aluminum horn (shown) and one of our friend Paul Morris' fine replica 5" cylinders, which use original, antique recordings.
Price: $6850.00 US, including one custom hand-made replica 5" cylinder record and original horn, plus shipping and handling. (NY State residents must pay sales tax, if applicable.)
We have other 5" diameter cylinder records available to the buyer, if interested.
PO Box 747
Henrietta, NY 14467 USA
Click here for Terms & Conditions of sale
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