Introduced in 1912, this rare late machine has always been considered the apex of development of the cylinder phonograph.
With its quiet running direct drive motor and airtight horn assembly, the Edison Opera was indeed Edison's supreme achievement in the acoustic reproduction of sound. The wooden cygnet type horn assembly develops unanticipated fidelity and volume for its size. The moving mandrel with automatic stop was a feature not shared with prior Edison models
The Opera was available in oak or mahogany. Although examples in either wood are very scarce, the mahogany case featured some extra embellishment on the handles and such, and its elegant appearance has traditionally made many collectors prefer it somewhat over the oak.
This example is marked "Concert" rather than "Opera." That's because Edison lost a lawsuit to the U-S Phonograph Company over the use of the word Opera, and so had to change the designation of the machine to the word Concert, an appellation which had been previously employed on an earlier, unrelated model. The name change would date this mahogany Opera to 1913.
This is a good untouched example of a very rare machine. The case and horn both retain original finish. There is some age darkening on the case and lid, and some weathering and one or two minute dings on the lid. The original horn shows typical alligatoring - if you look hard you can still see the original decal under the finish. These wooden bells were prone to split over the years as the wood dried up and shrunk, and this horn is no exception. There are two noticeable splits not along the panels; one running the length of the horn appears to have been re-glued a long time ago. You can see this seam in the photographs, although I couldn't get enough of a close up to show this in good detail; all in all this is a very respectable, original, hard-to-find Opera horn -- I just want to describe it accurately.
This machine is running fine, and the original oxidized copper Diamond A reproducer is really booming out, as you can hear in the sound file. The bedplate is age darkened but not weathered off as you often find on these models. The upper gear cover, often missing, is a reproduction finished to match the bedplate.
A mahogany Opera would typically be the highlight of any collection. If you're a new collector it's a great machine to build a collection around -- it would be hard to do much better.
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