The Vitaphone phonograph.
This article is part of the ANTIQUE PHONOGRAPH, GRAMOPHONE AND TALKING MACHINE IDENTIFICATION GUIDES.
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There are two separate, unrelated incarnations of the Vitaphone.
The first, which dates to around 1900, is a quite scarce early disc talking machine, begun by Albert Armstrong.
The second, which dates to around 1914, was begun by H.R.Repp, who had been a salesman for the earlier Vitaphone company. Manufactured in Plainfield, New Jersey, these Vitaphones employed a method of reproduction unique in the annals of phonographic history.
A solid wood tone arm vibrated along with the stylus, and communicated the sound to a diaphram kept under constant tension by a string attached to a coil spring under the motor board. The Vitaphone could be set to play either vertically or laterally cut records by slipping the string over a hook on one of the pillars that supported the reproducer.
There was a whole series of Vitaphones, including an external horn model and models in upright Victrola type cases. Unlike most other horn-in-lid machines the Vitaphone will play whether the lid is up and down, as the sound was communicated to the horn by a complex series of joints.
The early Vitaphone.
Motor of the early Vitaphone
The Vitaphone model 50
Later Vitaphone with vibrating tone arm. Examples have appeared with a small red petaled horn, as well as the wooden horn. Larger image
Tensioner on the string was necessary to amplify the volume.