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 Post subject: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Sun 26, 2021 2:39 am 
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Location: Ironwood, MI
My apology if this is inappropriate to post on an antique radio forum but my hope is that there might be some knowledgeable Victrola/Gramophone/Talking Machine guys amongst us.

I've recently become interested in talking machines and bought a "Carryola" which is simply a portable wind-up 78 RPM talking machine. (With my copy of Eric Reiss's The Compleat Talking Machine he has impressed upon me that mine is neither a "Victrola" nor "Gramophone but is instead properly called a "phonograph" (spelled with a lower case "p" ONLY ). Sigh.

Anyway, here's my question. I have removed the mainspring which was dislodged when I bought it. The spring barrel, spring and all the mechanics have been cleaned with Naptha and relubricated. My problem is that the center post for the spring is worn and doesn't catch the innermost hole of the spring. Does anyone have a solution ? Would my simply drilling, tapping and inserting a flat head screw be acceptable or would that leade to trouble down the road?

I appreciate any help or suggestions.
Attachment:
Center Shaft.JPG
Center Shaft.JPG [ 171.97 KiB | Viewed 462 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Sun 26, 2021 11:12 pm 
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Location: Dallas, TX
You might try to coil the center of the spring into a smaller diameter. The spring ends are usually annealed (softened by heat treatment) to not be as "springy". That way there will be less space for the spring to come loose from the shaft.

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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 2:33 am 
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Location: Ironwood, MI
Thanks Tim. I annealed the end to soften it and it helped by allowing me to "curl" the end around the inner shaft nicely. I think the original spring shaft "catch" was just plain worn away when I got it so tonight I ground off the remains of the "catch," then drilled and tapped a 6-32 hole. Next I Dremeled a 6-32 bolt to flatten its original round head. The bolt when screwed in ends up just flush with the opposite side of the shaft which is perfect. I put it all together and been listening to Artie Shaw which was left in the phonograph when I bought it. (Amazing that with all of the bouncing around that poor ol' phonograph has had that the record still in one piece and even played). Tomorrow I will see what I can do about fixing that bolt so it doesn't work its way out over time; maybe some silver solder or perhaps I can splay it mechanically to lock it in from the back side of my home-rigged "catch".
I appreciate your suggestions and thank you for taking the time to answer my post.


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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 3:37 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Boston, MA USA
Originally a disk player like yours was known as a gramophone, while a phonograph played cylinder records. Over time, however, the term phonograph has expanded in the US to cover any kind of record player, whether cylinder or disk. In the UK your player would still be known as a gramophone.

-David


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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 3:21 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
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Location: Dallas, TX
I worked on a Garrard that had a cross hole in the shaft. It had a pin shaped like a flat head screw without the threads that slipped into the cross hole. The spring had a egg shaped hole that fit over the head of the pin. The wrap of the spring held the pin in.
The end of the spring had broken and I had to re-shape the spring end and make a new hole in it.
That was quite a job.
Attachment:
GarrardSprgE5.jpg
GarrardSprgE5.jpg [ 257.83 KiB | Viewed 391 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 3:26 pm 
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You are correct and it is quite confusing to me because when I describe this device to someone calling it a "phonograph," they assume it is a Garrard or a Technics brand. Even the word "phonograph" is a slippery slope because (according to Eric Reiss's book) "Phonograph"
(capital "P") only meant an Edison device whereas all others were spelled with a lower case "P."
Then the whole gramophone thing is a can of worms too because it was originally only the devices manufactured by Berliner but then it morphed into US made devices.

So my inclination is to refer to my little portable as a "wind up phonograph" but maybe that too
is rife with pitfalls. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 3:34 pm 
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Thanks for the photo and sharing your Garrard experience Tim. I was making my last posting as you were making yours. What impressed me was how nice your spring looks. Mine is pretty tired and discolored so I am giving some thought to seeing if I can find a fresh replacement. When I opened my barrel for the first time the old grease was so dry that the last ten coils were fused together. I broke them apart when I removed it to clean it but I think the whole spring could have been affected because I can only get one disk play per full winding. I'd feel better if my spring looked like yours and I suspect the performance would improve too.


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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 10:47 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
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That was a difficult project. I didn't think I could find a new spring, it wasn't a very popular brand.
It was actually a dual spring motor, the two working in series (mechanically end-to-end). I didn't open the other half of the canister.
The grease wasn't very dried out. Some brands used a graphite powder filled grease which looks drier.
I had to wrestle the end of the spring out of the center, I think I trimmed the end with a Dremel tool at that point. I had thoroughly cleaned it because I knew the end had to be annealed, otherwise it would be too stiff and brittle to curl tighter and because I would have to drill a hole in the end. I might have used the Dremel again to grind a hole in stead of drilling, I know I used it to shape the hole.
The tough thing was that I only wanted to heat the very end of the spring in the center. I had some sort of plate heat shield with a hole in it I think. I forced the end through the hole in the shield and used a torch, the vice grips could not be used because that would cool the end of the spring too fast and damaged the vice grips. Once annealed the center then stayed angled out by itself. Then I made the hole. I had to re-heat it to get the end to get it bent back in place with pliers. Then the center had to be curled tighter. I build a jig out of scrape wood, a socket wrench extension shaft, a socket that I sacrificed by annealing and drilling a hole through so I could insert a cross bolt to engage the end of the spring and a socket wrench.
As long as the wind lasted long enough to play a side I called it good.
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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Wed 29, 2021 9:29 pm 
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Tim, that jig is brilliant. Well done!

You brought up an issue that I was concerned about when I was working on my Carryola. In order for me to anneal only the center end I had to pull it way out of the coil. Once red hot I was concerned it might "freeze" (what a contridiction in terms, eh?) and it would end up like those google-eye glasses kids wear at halloween with the eyes bouncing around on springs. Fortunately that did not happen although I suppose if it had I would have just had to heat it back up and force it into submission like you did.

Your latest reply stated, "As long as the wind lasted long enough to play a side I called it good" I have been wondering about that. In none of my Internet snooping nor the books I have collected dealing with "gramophones" do I find any guidance on how many plays I should expect. I can get one good side on my Carryola's spring...maybe even hit the brake, put on another disk and it will go 1/3 or half-way before it needs a crank-up. I also have a Victrola 4-40 and a Victrola XIV that plays 3 or 4 sides before cranking is needed. I've never had the guts to dig into those two Victrolas. ("If it's not broke, don't fix it"). They are both dual (maybe even three) spring models however I am not confident in my ability at this point to charge into those motors; but I should because I am sure the grease is petrified.


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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Thu 30, 2021 3:01 pm 
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Joined: May Thu 14, 2015 4:15 pm
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Location: Dallas, TX
When the grease in the motor gets sticky and dry the motor will make "thunk" sounds as it plays.
The "thunks" are sections of the spring coming loose from the turns.
As far as I know, Victrolas use the graphite grease. Graphite grease is hard to find now, so I use moly grease.
The Valvoline one is about right.
Attachment:
MolyGreaseE2.jpg
MolyGreaseE2.jpg [ 292.17 KiB | Viewed 304 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Gramophone/phonograph/talking machine Spring Question
PostPosted: Sep Thu 30, 2021 8:37 pm 
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Thanks Tim for those recommendations and I plan to follow up on adding it to my
workshop "pantry."


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