The Columbia BI, also known as the Stirling, was introduced in 1905 at a price of $45. This example most likely dates ca 1905-1908. It featured a double spring motor for extended playing time. The fancy ornamented case distinguished it from lower priced Graphophones, and its ornate appearance still makes it popular with modern collectors.
This BI has two things going for it you may not encounter in all disc Columbias for sale.
One, the cabinet is in gorgeous condition, original golden oak finish, very nice original grand prize and banner decals.
Two, it has been mechanically restored. We have totally disassembled the motor, cleaned, inspected, lubricated and adjusted everything, and put it back together. The mainsprings were pulled and lubricated, a big job, but important to keep the springs from sticking to themselves as they unwind.
You tend to find something needing attention on every machine. When we received this machine it was running erratically, mysteriously speeding up and slowing down. We had to turn a shaft on our lathe to correct this problem. Some previous owner had also misadjusted the backlash on the spindle shaft. The motor is now running properly. There is a little typical rumble from the brass drive gear, rather than the fiber drive gear you sometimes see in these machines; however, the brass drive gear will not strip out on you.
We also disassembled and rebuilt the reproducer for maximum fidelity, because we believe that the machine should not only look good, but it should also sound good.
The nickel plating on the back bracket is very decent. The tone arm appears to have been polished out. The hard-to-find nickel plated horn, approximately 21 inches long with a 19 inch bell, is the proper horn for this machine. It has some typical minor distress and weathering, but is overall in quite decent condition.
A good choice if you want something to represent the ornate esthetics of this era, and also something to reliably play 78rpm records. See it in action on the youtube video below.
We buy, sell, and repair antique phonographs and music boxes.
Pick-up and delivery possible in many parts of the midwest,south, and northeast.