This delightfully plump instrument, with its robust oak cabinet and scalloped flower horn -- the color of which is as deep and inviting as an emerald sea.  Dive right in!  We have developed a special multi-step process to produce this alluring translucent finish which precisely replicates the original factory appearance.  The enlongated horn is not only gorgeous to look at, it produces full-throated sound.

By the way -- who or what the heck was "Aretino"? Aretino (actually Guido d'Arezzo) was an 11th century monk who invented the first three notes of our musical scale.

But why should YOU invest in the Aretino? Because it is a stunning example of ancient technology. Because you want a piece of tunefully functioning old school audio to make your entertainment room come alive. Because you are interested in an out-of-the-ordinary antique with a riveting back story.

Arthur J. O’Neill, Midwest marketing specialist, was a man with a plan. Why else would anyone have designed the "Aretino" machine? Read on. In 1904, O'Neill had founded a Chicago marketing firm called the O’Neill-James Company, which soon began distributing cylinder and disc talking machines.

At that time in Chicago there as a kind of "war of the spindle holes" going on. There were a number of firms offering talking machines that had enlarged spindles so that ONLY one particular brand of record would fit them. 

In fact, it was getting rather crazy, with holes in the records measuring 1/2", 3/4" and even 1 1/2". And all this effort was being expended to keep clients from using "rival brand" records on the talking machines they purchased.

O'Neill decided the only answer was to make a record with a hole SO BIG that it would fit any of the competing instruments. Patent No. 874,985 was issued to Arthur J. O’Neill on December 31, 1907 for his concept of a record with the greatest-of-all-possible holes, with precious little room for any label at all! A virtual doughnut of a record, with a 3” aperture. This was how the “Aretino” record was born. Through the use of adapters, this disc could be used on any other machine being sold in Chicago at that time. It's brilliant, in an inspiredly goofy way.

Here we see the "doughnut" record in place on the turntable.  We are including 4 Aretino 78 rpm discs, and have more available for separate purchase.

Mr. O'Neill did not have his own manufacturing facility, therefore he contracted with Hawthorne & Sheble, noted talking machine manufacturers who ran against the grain in the industry, to supply the Aretino instruments. H&S were ingenious innovators, and the machines were simple and inexpensive, in keeping with O'Neill's notion of a phonograph for "everyman."  

The motor was simple in design, intended to play one record per complete winding. As you can see, we have spotlessly cleaned it.

Hearts have been broken for want of this special "Aretino" crank -- so we are pleased to report this original crank is present and accounted for.

The soundbox is far advanced over anything Victor had to offer.  It uses a (textured) aluminum diaphragm (something Victor wouldn't adopt for another 15 years!).  It also pioneered interchangeable diaphragms, that could be easily popped in and out without turning a single screw.  How does it sound? --- great!

After more than 50 years researching this subject (Tim's very first articles, written in the early 1970s concerned the Aretino and similar instruments sprung from the Chicago area), there are still wonders to be found.  This never-before-seen label is affixed to the bottom of the turntable.  The number pencilled in here is the same as the serial number stamped on the motor. The text suggests it is helping the client make sure the correct (3" spindle) turntable stays with the machine.  However, this little label is really aimed  at the Victor Talking Machine Co. asnd the Columbia Phonograph Co.-- an effort to discourage them from suing!  Victor, for one, thought it had the right to prohibit the use of Victor records on competing machines!  To us today that seems absurd, but Victor had millions to spend on suing the pants off anyone they didn't like.  So, this notice is saying, "Hey Victor, we're not playing Victor records on our machines."

We've spent decades perfecting the exact way to replicate the translucent finish on horns such as employed by Aretino. Incidentally, Aretino horns were always green. We can say that the deep, iridescent finish on this horn precisely matches the way it looked when it left the factory. 

One cannot buy an Aretino without getting some records -- so we are including 4 Aretino discs with this instrument.

Price: $1350.00 US, with 4 records, plus shipping and handling. (NY State residents must pay sales tax, if applicable.)


Telephone: 585-244-5546


               PO Box  747

               Henrietta, NY 14467 USA

Click here for Terms & Conditions of sale

BACK to phonographs for sale