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Old 02-08-2018, 07:35 PM
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"Teardrop" '39 RCA Victrola

I got hooked on these small deco bakelite phono "attachments" and just had to add a "teardrop" model to my collection. They were made by RCA and GE. It's a 1939 RCA Victrola R-100 This one, I believe, was a John Vassos creation and a small streamline-modern work of art. It was in sad shape when I got it and needed hours of fixing-up including some new wiring, grommets, re-flocking, polishing, and decal replacement. The old crystal cartridge, naturally, is no good and will be replaced by a ceramic one soon. The simple syncro motor runs fine and, amazingly, the rubber motor "hangers" are still pliable!

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Last edited by Celt; 02-10-2018 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:26 AM
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Excellent!
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Old 02-09-2018, 11:30 AM
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Excellent!
Thank you. Amazing that I invested about 10 hours so far into this simple little phono, but that's the fun of the hobby.
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Old 02-09-2018, 12:10 PM
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Thank you. Amazing that I invested about 10 hours so far into this simple little phono, but that's the fun of the hobby.
You said it, this hobby is definitely not about cost recovery. Looks really nice! Is this one of the ones where you have to give it a push to start the motor?
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Old 02-09-2018, 01:39 PM
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You said it, this hobby is definitely not about cost recovery. Looks really nice! Is this one of the ones where you have to give it a push to start the motor?
Thank you. When cost recovery is what comes to mind the most, then you're not a true collector.
The phono has a very simple synchronized motor that "floats" on 3 metal rods that are inserted into flexible rubber hangers. You just put the record on the platter, put your fingers on the center label and give it a sharp spin. It comes right up to perfect speed. They do easily stop when you grab the record to remove it. If these were complicated with idler wheels I likely would not bother with them.
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Old 02-09-2018, 02:38 PM
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Thank you. When cost recovery is what comes to mind the most, then you're not a true collector.
The phono has a very simple synchronized motor that "floats" on 3 metal rods that are inserted into flexible rubber hangers. You just put the record on the platter, put your fingers on the center label and give it a sharp spin. It comes right up to perfect speed. They do easily stop when you grab the record to remove it. If these were complicated with idler wheels I likely would not bother with them.
Ahh, so you really wouldn't like my Columbia LP attachment then, it's got two idler wheels I had to have rebuilt by VM. It's not really that bad, you just send him the old ones and $30, and a little while later new idlers come in the mail, as if by magic.. It's lots of fun reviving a 70 year old machine and seeing it work!

I really like the simplicity of that player, I hope you have some good 78s for it! 78 collecting is a bizzare world, with 95% junk and a few good ones, with very few sellers who know what they are doing.
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Old 02-09-2018, 04:18 PM
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How was the re-flocking done?

jr
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Old 02-09-2018, 10:21 PM
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Thanks Max - The simplicity of these units is why I like them. This is my third one now!
I have at least a couple of hundred 78's from decades of collecting them. A lot of great popular jazz from the '20's to the '40's. I have some rock and roll too. I will always prefer 78's to any other records.
jr - I want to say flocking is easy, but you have to be careful to follow the directions exactly as stated. I find applying the paint/adhesive in the right amount and getting the flocking on before it dries a little nerve racking, but so far I've had good results. You need to get the platter down to metal and then apply several coats of red/brown primer first. You can get the flocking kits on eBay, but get one with a good amount of flocking so you have enough.
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:22 PM
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I have a similar 'Teardrop', although it came with some interesting modifications... Note that I bought it anyway.

Steel tonearm, for those heavy metal disks. Chunk of wood integrated into cartridge mount, easily pre-dating Grado by four decades.




A few strategic lightening holes, lowering tracking force down to a sedate 16 oz. or so...





Severe abrasion on front edge of "tonearm" makes me think someone dragged it around behind a station wagon at some point.
And perhaps "tone-leg" would be a better match for its heft.
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File Type: jpg IMG_7069.jpg (89.5 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_7070.jpg (92.4 KB, 31 views)

Last edited by Chip Chester; 02-21-2018 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
I have a similar 'Teardrop', although it came with some interesting modifications... Note that I bought it anyway.

Steel tonearm, for those heavy metal disks. Chunk of wood integrated into cartridge mount, easily pre-dating Grado by four decades.




A few strategic lightening holes, lowering tracking force down to a sedate 16 oz. or so...





Severe abrasion on front edge of "tonearm" makes me think someone dragged it around behind a station wagon at some point.
And perhaps "tone-leg" would be a better match for its heft.
Some more common RCA radio-phonos had the bakelite tone arm (I owned one once)...Maybe you can find a sad example to steal a better arm from.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:32 PM
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It's got speed holes!

Makes it go faster.
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Old 02-21-2018, 09:33 PM
Chip Chester Chip Chester is offline
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You may consider me looking for that now...
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:22 AM
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I see these early bakelite phono attachments often come-up for sale with replaced/upgraded tone-arms. They're often more modern looking than the rest of the unit with a clashing color. With models like my R-100 and particularly the GE version with the "locomotive" art-deco tone-arm, this will seriously hurt the units value and desirability.
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:00 AM
Chip Chester Chip Chester is offline
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It looks like the original arm had five holes, about 1/2" in diameter. Then the electric drill was invented, and they went nuts. I bought this about 10 years ago at a standard antique mall. No other similar items around. I think it would be easier to make a new arm out of sheet steel than it would be to repair that one to original look. Yes, even with the compound curves in the original. I do have CNC mill access where I could mill it nice and thin, but out of solid. Might be an interesting project... Could even go aluminum, even though it would still weigh a ton.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Chip Chester View Post
Could even go aluminum, even though it would still weigh a ton.
That's actually not a bad idea at all. There are some metal fabricators who could do it out of sheet stock. If you go aluminum, you could paint it to look identical to the steel arm.

As for weight... couldn't you just put a chunk of lead on the other end? I'm reasonably sure you could adjust it to any weight with a little ingenuity.
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