February 6, 2011

Rare Antique Phono & Radio Collection.

What's this? A lunch box? No, it's an Edison Model B Standard phono graph, introduced in year 1901, it's a highly popular collectors model. Check out the interesting innards below.

There are many type of audiophiles, and their respective sub groups. Big E is a genuinely modern consumer. I am a consumer because everything I buy, I use. If I don't use, I don't buy, and I don't keep. House rules I guess? I do not have a big house, so space is a premium.

Then there's the collectors, who buys equipment for a number of reasons. My good buddy, Jo Ki of the famed LS3/5A speaker is a well known collector, who is also in to all sorts of other British classics, like Quads and Leaks from the sixties era. I know many others are in to all sorts of other hifi collectibles, such as those vintage 70's Jap made Sansui amps, Kenwood tuners and Nakamichi tape decks(but that's so 80s!). Then there are those Philips TDA-1541(and all their varieties) DAC chip based CD player collectors.

Then there are NOS tube/valve collectors of the audio amplifier kind. I even know of a cable collector! Go figure, things that audiophiles collect.

A Sterling Diode tuner with matching head phone set.

One has to tune the diode by rotating the the small handle on the right, until the diode lights up.

The red coil like a ball behind is 19th century crystal!

HS is an avid reader of this blog. He is possibly the rarest breed of collectors in Malaysia. He does not do classics or vintage, but rather he goes all the way back to the days of Thomas Edison, the inventor of the phono graph. That would make a few items of his collection dating back to the 1890's! Now, that's antique, and how can one beat that?

An old antique European radio, with preset for broadcast from major cities!

The back panel of a typical tube/valve radio.

HS not only collects phono graphs from the Edison era, along with the phono graphs, he also has a collection of wax cylinders, to play music. Each wax cylinder contains a simple 2 minute music track, which is usually a piano tune, song or pre recorded speech. HS takes great pains to acquire, re-build and keeps all his collection in working order.

Another Edison phono graph. Note the hand crank!

A post WWII Philips radio for the European market.

With matching record player, and it's a mono too. The sound is sumptuous!

An RCA Victor style phonograph dating back from 1902!

An SAL antique horn, modified to feed off signal from an iPod, talk about a 19th and 21st century marriage of technology! Because the horn is so efficient, the head phone output of the iPod is enough to drive it to very satisfying levels.

HS also has a size able collection of tube/valve radios and diode tuners. Most of the tube/vale radios are from the pre-WWII era, with a few from 50's and 60's thrown in for good measure. Again, all of his radios are working examples.
More diode crystal tuners!

More antique radios.

These are not table salt or MSG canisters! There are Edison phono wax cylinder canister covers.

The content inside the canister. A wax cylinder, which houses 2 minutes of music each!

OOPssss!............ the wax cylinders are really fragile!

This is what's inside the lunch box! An Edison Model B phono graph. Choose your own horn style.

Another compatible horn, but the sound is distinctly different!

With the horn separated, the Edison Model B phono graph will fit in to the wooden lunch box cover. I can understand why it's very popular with folks who like to picnic! The boom box of the 19th century?

Another optional horn to go with any Edison phono graph.

An Edison Fireside model phono graph.

I asked HS where did he source all his collection from, and he said "e-bay! It's so much easier these days with e-bay" Back in the good ol' days, he'd go and hunt the phono graphs from all over Malaysia, mostly in the kampungs(villages) and small towns. "Most of the local examples are usually not working when I got them" he said. So HS puts in the time, money and effort to restore his purchases to working condition. "Since e-bay, I mostly get restored or mint examples from either Europe or the US" he adds.

I asked how much he had "invested" in to his collection? he just smiled and said "don't ask!"

By the way, HS is wondering if there are any like minded enthusiast in to antique hifi just like him around? If one is of the same feather or intends to start on a similar flock of collection, please leave your e-mail contact in the comments section. HS will contact you shortly.

By the way, HS is not only about the past, he is also very much in to the present and looking in to the future of hifi!

We shall look in to his thoroughly modern system soon. Believe me when I tell ya the HS is a unique fella, and if a system reflects it's owner, I am sure you'll be in for a treat!

Stay tuned for more.


Drubb said...

A most marvellous collection indeed. And they all look like fresh from the factory!
The first 'recorded sound' was by a Frenchman, I think, who devised a contraption which made marks on soot-coated glass but it was Edison who thought of a 'playback' system with his cylindrical, wax-coated paper and later on with tinfoil.
Dear Big E, I hope YOU are not responsible for the broken wax cylinder :=). That must have cost HS an arm and a leg. Well, maybe not for someone who doesn't need to ask for its price, but it is priceless as a historic item nonetheless.
HS, congratulations on your magnificent collection. I don't think there are too many people out there who own such treasures all in one place.

Big E said...


I only have three words for you!


Ha! Ha!

HS said...

Thank you for taking the trouble to write about my collection. I hope it would generate some interest among your readers.

Thank you for your compliments. I still hoping you would find time to pay me a visit to view the collection in person. For the record Vintage Radio and Phonograph collection need not be an expensive hobby. Just like HiFi it can be very affordable or could cost an arm and a leg, depending what you go for. Mine is just a modest collection.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...


My hats off to you. Simply amazing.

HS said...

Thanks. My more complete Vintage Audio collection could be viewed from here.


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