My 1934 Console Phonograph

Thomas Edison

Thomas A. Edison

Edison Console

The Edison Console Phonograph

Edison Console

Builder's Plate - 1934

Edison Console

This is an Edison console phonograph my father bought in 1981. I was in high school. It is a spring-driven phonograph that has to be "wound up". The crank is on the right. According to the manufacturing plate, this Edison player was built in 1934.

Put your mouse over the platter to hear it play.

Two heads: the upper for RCA/Victor recordings and the lower was for Edison discs


Put your mouse over the picture to play the record.

The Edison phonograph came with two needle heads. The gold colored one on the bottom is for the original (and older) Edison records, the silver one for the newer, more common disks. Edison disks were cut in an up-and-down motion. The sound for an Edison is reproduced by a diamond needle that rides along the bumps in the bottom of the groove. The needle is attached to a thin diaphragm that vibrates within a long horn. to a horizontal diaphragm. Later, common records were cut with a side-to-side motion instead of up-and-down. Both techniques use a physical connection between a diamond chip, or a very sharp steel needle. rare easuily identified; they are about ¼ inch thick. The grooves are cut on the bottom, and a diamond needle mounted on the bottom of the head, moves up and down in the groove. The needle is connected to a diaphragm in the head, which produces the sound. The silver colored head is the modern and more common head. It plays the regular 78 rpm records cut with a lateral groove.

The push-buttons on the left labeled 12 and 14 are to set the needle starting position according to whether you're playing a 12- or 14-inch disc. Unfortunately, whatever they were hooked to is no longer there. The three levers at the bottom of the platter start and stop the mechanism and trim the speed of rotation.

Here's a bit of trivia: How many grooves does the average Edison disc have?

Edison Console

Here's a real piece of engineering. I can't for the life of me figure out how all those gears make the platter spin and the needle move in sychronation (the needle head doesn't pivot like a modern tonearm, the whole folded horn assembly tracks the record). The volume control is interesting. The lever at the front left of the platter slides the big felt ball in and out of the throat of the horn. The picture on the right shows storage for the Edison records.

Just like all records, Edison discs have two grooves, one on each side, that starts at the edge and spirals to the center.