This machine, which dates to around 1909, was known in the trade as a "scheme" machine, meaning that it was given away free as a premium. In this case the originator of the scheme was the Great Northern Manufacturing Company of Chicago, which provided the Standard Model A to local merchants. The merchant then offered coupons with every purchase, redeemable toward a free talking machine.The Standard Model A was built up of regular off-the-shelf Columbia components, although its Columbia origins were never publicized.
This example is as nice as you will ever find, with beautiful original golden oak finish and a fantastic, funky red decal. The red horn has great original paint, unlike most of these machines where the paint peeled and weathered.
But more than looking nice, this machine has been mechanically restored to play as nice as it looks. The motor has been taken apart, cleaned, inspected and lubricated
The governor has been polished for smooth running. The mainspring has been pulled, cleaned and re-greased, a big job but important to keep the spring from sticking to itself and making disturbing noises. The turntable drive gear was replaced.These gears often go bad. This one was working but made some thumping, so I replaced it out of caution so you won't have to replace it later.
The reproducer was also rebuilt.
Even though this was advertised as a "free" talking machine it came with a catch, as the customer learned that nothing in life is free. In this case, the Standard Model A played only proprietary records with an oversize spindle of slightly over 1/2 inch, and so the unwary purchaser was locked into buying special records from the local merchant.
The Standard Model A was a good seller, and even today the records are readily available. I don't have any to give you (I gave away my extras was the last Standard A we sold) but I do have some 78s that were drilled to an oversize hole and will play on this machine. At one time some of the collectors were offering an adapter for the turntable, which may still be available.
This machine is good choice if you want a genuine outside horn disc phonograph to decorate a shelf and to occasionally demonstrate. If you're a record collector and intend to listen to a lot of 78rpm records then this isn't the machine for you, you'd be better off purchasing one of our outside horn Victors or Columbias.
We buy, sell, and repair antique phonographs and music boxes.
Pick-up and delivery possible in many parts of the midwest,south, and northeast.