Victor Talking Machine for sale, with outside horn model identification
Copyright 2010 Lynn Bilton
SEE ALSO: Our listings of Victor Talking Machines for sale and Victor horn phonographs for sale
JUMP TO: Victor model identification and pictures.
Looking for a Victor Talking Machine for sale?
I have been a dealer of antique talking machines for over 30 years.
As Cal Stewart once opined, "Advice is something the other fellow can't use so he gives it to you." Notwithstanding that, I have some free advice to give you, some tips and tricks before you buy.
After you read it over, I recommend you check out our listings of outside horn Victors and other talking machines for sale. I also have a lot of background material and repair hints in our Beginner's Guides.
I have some pictures of a few of the Victor Talking Machines we have had for sale over the years to help with identification, although my listing is not comprehensive. The A and B carry no identification, but every later model had a metal name plate tacked to the case, with the exception of the Victor Junior, which accepted a decal. An excellent reference book for identification, years, dimensions and such is Robert W. Baumbach's Look for the Dog.
Early and Eldridge Johnson machines
Victor Toy. Introduced 1901. More pictures.
Victor A. Gilding on the motor is not original.More pictures.
Early Johnson C. Note the nickel motorboard and the support arm affixed to the motorboard in Zonophone style. The later Victor C closely resembled the Victor E. More pictures.
Alphabet series, front and rear mounts
Victor E. The front mount version of this little machine was introduced in 1901. The rear mount version with rigid or scissors tone arm, shown above, would date to around 1904. The rigid arms were quickly supplanted by the acoustically superior tapered tone arm. More pictures
Victor M. (Victor Monarch). Sold in both front and rear mount versions.More pictures
Victor MS (Monarch Special). Ten inch turntable. This machine also spans the front-mount rear-mount eras.More pictures.
Victor D. Victor's finest machine beginning around 1904. Twelve inch turntable, triple spring motor. Sold as a rear mount only. If you think this fancy machine looks just like the MS, you're right. The case was made fractionally larger to accomodate the 12" turntable. A plainer version of the D, resembling the Victor V, was introduced around 1906.More pictures.
Victor R (Victor Royal). Oxidized copper bedplate and support arm. More pictures.
Roman numeral series
Victor I. Victor's least expensive machine had just enough oomph to play through a ten inch record. The size of the case was blown up late in the production run, as viewed in the example above, known to collectors as the Big One. However, all versions of the Victor I employed the same motor.More pictures.
Victor II. This is the early version, informally categorized as the Humpback II, due to a wooden hump in the rear panel that pushed back the bracket. Later versions were excised of the both the hump and the striated pillars.
Victor II, later version.
Victor III. This and the Victor II were the most popular offerings in this series, reasonably priced and with enough motive power to play smoothly through a couple of records.
Victor IV. One of only two machines in mahogany, it was a step up from the Victor III in price, but employed the Victor III motor. More pictures.
Victor V. A substantial machine with triple spring motor. More pictures.
Victor VI. Victor's invitation to the luxury buyer -- every piece of hardware was triple gold plated down to the Corinthian columns. The earliest version took an MS type motor with a one piece belled composition horn; later versions took a Victor V type motor with floating turntable, and were equipped with a wooden mahogany horn.More pictures.
Victor P (Victor Premium). Premium didn't mean of highest quality, but rather something given away free with another purchase. The picture above is the first version of the P, introduced around 1902, with oxidized copper arm and bedplate.More pictures.
Victor P3. The tiny, elusive final version of the Victor P.More pictures.
Victor Junior. Victor's least expensive machine when it entered the market around 1909. Some examples are found with a small red petaled horn, rather than the black belled horn depicted above. Note the absence of a tone arm on the Junior: a fitting on the horn connects directly to the support arm.More pictures.
Victor Z. A front-mounted Victor I. More pictures.
Victor O. The peach colored horn is unique to the machine and quite distinctive. More pictures.
Victor MS (Oak IV). Possibly a regional machine, this Victor features an MS nameplate and early MS motor, but the case is almost identical to the mahogany Victor IV. More pictures.
Victor XXV. Sold to educational facilities, this utilitarian instrument is usually refered to as the Schoolhouse Victrola. The earliest version had a fixed lid; later versions had a detachable lid and a folding shelf underneath to store the large wooden horn. More pictures.
Victor Auxetophone. Introduced around 1906, the Auxetophone used compressed air to amplify the sound. A similar model was sold in England as the Parsons Auxetophone. More pictures.
In 1901 Eldridge Johnson, who had been manufacturing Gram-o-phones for recording pioneer Emile Berliner, introduced the first of the Victor talking machines. These outside horn machines continued, at least on a limited scale, until around 1920. There wasn't any such critter as a Victrola until 1906 -- Victrola means a Victor brand internal horn talking machine.
The big split in outside horn talking machines, the split between phylum and genus, so to speak, is between front mounting and rear mounting. Front mounting, the earlier system, placed the entire weight of the horn upon the tone arm, causing premature wear of the record. Rear mounting deployed a larger horn, allowing engineers to ramp up the volume.
How to judge a prospective purchase? You can wind it up and see if it makes beautiful noise, but I have bought more machines than I'd care to acknowledge without ever running the motor, as long as the machine was original, clean and otherwise complete. A broken spring can always be repaired for a modest price.
The factor most affecting the value of a Victor Talking Machine for sale will be the originality of the machine. Prize machines will have nice original finish, original arms, original horns, original paint. It has reached the point where the greater part of a machine can be constructed out of reproduction parts, and these machines are being offered every day by ignorant or unconscionable dealers.
If your outside horn Victor talking machine needs repair, or is missing parts, here is a short list of what may be available or unavailable.
New turntable drive gears.
Governor leads and weights.
Reproduction tone arms and support arms.
Reproduction back brackets.
Reproduction horn elbows.
Reproducer vibrator bars.
Note: Thanks to Norman and Janyne Smith for many of the pictures used in this identification guide.