VTLA, the first Victrola



Introduced in 1906, this machine marked "VTLA" represents the first internal horn Victrola. Although there were stylistic antecedents such as the German Hymnophon, this elegant piece of furniture marked a watershed departure from the outside horn talking machine. The enclosed horn was acoustically inferior to its predecessors, but --in not the last example of form succeeding over function-- internal horn Victrolas were outselling outside horn machines within a few years.

According to Allen Koenigsberg's Patent History of the Phonograph, several internal horn prototypes were made in various furniture factories in the Philadelphia area before Victor settled upon the design that came to be the VTLA. The winning design was manufactured by the Pooley Furniture Company, leading modern collectors to often refer to this model as the "flat top Pooley."

Flat top VTLAs are quite scarce. Some later Victrolas with domed lid also sported the VTLA nameplate, and shared the L-shaped doors.

What did VTLA stand for? No one is quite sure, but one guess is that the nomenclature represents a condensation of letters in the word Victrola.


The design patent of 1906.

As viewed from the front. So accustomed are we to the domed lid that the appearance looks alien.

Doors open, showing record storage and drawer below.

This unusual decal was used only on the earliest Victrolas.

Even the mahogany horn had a decal.

The turntable and controls were deep sunk under the flat lid.

Victor's best motor, the Victor VI motor with floating turntable.

The motorboard fits snugly into this opening. There were no securing screws.

Bracket was more complex than later models. Note the thumb screw.