The Columbia A is the earliest Graphophone most collectors are likely to encounter. The first version, with a Washington point of origin on the decal, was introduced in 1896; this second version, with a New York point of origin, was introduced in 1897. At this time spring motor machines were starting to be widely available -- anything earlier would most likely have been battery powered.
This example has a nice original finish golden oak case with a large, colorful banner decal. I haven't totally rebuilt the mechanism, but I did take apart some of the upperworks and re-lubricate the mandrel shaft bearings, as well as re-belt the machine.
The mainsprings on the Columbia A were not enclosed in a barrel in the style of most later machines, but were exposed, allowing them to contact the case if the machine unwound too much. This motor is fitted with the rarely seen, optional second mainspring, which is nice but does seem to introduce some extra resistance in winding.
The Columbia floating reproducer on this machine is of a slightly later style and a little larger than the reproducer that originally came with a Columbia A. Columbia audio quality was never as good as Edison, but I had a new stylus installed on this reproducer and it is working satisfactorily. (You can have the reproducer I received with this machine instead, but I guarantee that you will not be happy with the sound.)
The ten inch Japanned tin horn is a replica of the horn that was standard on a Columbia A.
Other miscellaneous notes: the crank is a high quality reproduction and one of the lid latch clips is missing from the lid.
The Columbia A isn't a rare machine, but it is certainly much more scarce than most cylinder phonographs you are likely to encounter. It's a good example of early technology toward the very beginning of the phonograph era. It's an interesting choice if you are looking for a great, funky looking working example of an antique phonograph to sit in your home. If your intention is to play a lot of cylinder records I would suggest instead one of our rebuilt Edison models -- you will find them easier to work with and of better sound quality.
Price includes 3 original, nice cylinder records.
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