[Phono-L] Orthophonic Reproducer Bearings

Mark Lynch markelynch at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 17 20:08:52 PST 2007

Hey Walt,

Not only did five out of four students at my High School have trouble with
fractions but the other half couldn't even count!

Here is the link to the Victor electrodeposited Orthophonic diaphragm we
were talking about. I doubt it was ever put into production as the
Orthophonic era was so brief and likely it was faster to form a diaphragm
between dies. A fascinating idea none the less. 


Wanted: I am in search or a Victor Orthophonic/Electrola horn driver for a
10-51 or later 8-60/9-40. This is the large version with the
electromagnetic field coil not the more common permanent magnet horseshoe
type. Victor refered to it as an "intermediate speaker" and it contains a
large electrically driven orthophonic diaphragm. I can send pictures of the
insides for anyone interested.

I would be most pleased if everyone would keep me in mind. 

Best Wishes,

> [Original Message]
> From: Walt <waltsommers at comcast.net>
> To: Antique Phonograph List <phono-l at oldcrank.org>
> Date: 1/11/2007 10:03:32 PM
> Subject: RE: [Phono-L] Orthophonic Reproducer Bearings
> Mark,
> "Five out of four students" is the same as saying "125% of the
> students"...lol...
> I was reading another Victor patent that had to do with the last
> [production] version of the No.2 reproducer. If I look it up again I will
> get the number for everyone to take a look. In that particular patent,
> Eldridge Johnson set forth several concepts, not all of which were ever
> implemented in production. One of the ideas featured a needle bar balance
> system that used both a spring to establish neutral balance of the needle
> bar as well as bearings to keep the bar in parallel [with the record
> But it is obvious why Victor never implemented the system - there is no
> doubt that the springs could not be so precisely made or installed or
> bearings so accurately set as to not conflict (in some degree) with the
> forces that the bearings would otherwise try to uniformly establish about
> the circumference of the bar ends. The bottom line is that the springs
> always have a tendency to move the bar away from center (probably along
> axes) and work against what the bearings were trying to do. It's just a
> idea...
> So what was Eldridge Johnson's motive for such a bizarre design? I think
> man's engineering skills were such that he certainly knew that the idea,
> although patented and easy enough to build, could not work as well as
> already in use. I often wonder that Victor patented so many ideas just to
> able to elbow-out the competition, whether it was a bad design, or a good
> one... Interestingly, I have never seen a balance spring used by any
> that looked like Eldridge's last No.2 design. On the other hand, the
> setup he proposed is remarkably similar to the later 6-bearing per side
> Columbia designs like you see in the No.9 and other later parts. But then,
> Columbia was one of those companies that not only had enough money to go
> court against Victor, but could pay a lawyer to live in the courtroom if
> necessary...<hmmm....>
> It's not difficult to improve on Victor's old designs, especially
> considering the immense progress in materials engineering, but I, for one,
> would rather strive for originality if only to be original. About a year
> ago, I developed small inserts for the Orthophonic that are made of a
> composite that can be installed in place of the bearings. They work better
> than the bearings, can't rust, and probably have a friction coefficient
> is 100 times less than the steel bearings...but after I proved I could do
> it, I threw them all away...cuz that just ain't no fun.... Just a glance
> modern loudspeaker engineering hints at all sorts of Mylar and titanium
> films that would probably be superior diaphragms for most all reproducers,
> but that ain't no fun either...
> BTW, When you were here xmas eve with Doug you mentioned a Victor patent
> that had to do with an electroplating or electroforming process which was
> ultimately to be used for the production (I think) of diaphragms. Do you
> chance have the reference to that, or remember any keywords for it?
> Walt
> --Original Message-----
> From: phono-l-bounces at oldcrank.org [mailto:phono-l-bounces at oldcrank.org]
> Behalf Of mark lynch
> Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2007 11:24 AM
> To: Antique Phonograph List
> Subject: RE: [Phono-L] Orthophonic Reproducer Bearings
> Thanks Walt, it is amazing how those fractions work...did you know that
> out of four student at my High School had trouble with them?
> For all of us who have dealt with rebuilding Orthophonic soundboxes it
> like Victor had another idea rather than the 1/16" balls to support the
> stylus bar. 
> tor+talking+machine+1931#PPP1,M1
> Like many patented ideas it looks like this one was never put into
> production. Maybe with today's new elastic materials the idea would work
> better that loose-steel-balls (and Desi Arnaz) and be a welcome relief to
> today's repairman. Anyone want to tackle this one?
> Mark
> -----Original Message-----
> >From: Walt <waltsommers at comcast.net>
> >Sent: Jan 10, 2007 5:45 PM
> >To: 'Antique Phonograph List' <phono-l at oldcrank.org>
> >Subject: RE: [Phono-L] Orthophonic Reproducer Bearings
> >
> >.0625" and 1/16" are the same measurement. If you only need a few sets of
> >them give Ron Sitko a call.
> >
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: phono-l-bounces at oldcrank.org [mailto:phono-l-bounces at oldcrank.org]
> >Behalf Of Douglas Houston
> >Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 3:13 PM
> >To: Antique Phonograph List
> >Subject: RE: [Phono-L] Orthophonic Reproducer Bearings
> >
> >I believe that they were 1/16". I bought a box of them from Detroit  Ball
> >Bearing once. Thyey can sell you ything you want in that line. They have
> >much stuff, it seems that if they don't have something, it never was.
> >
> >
> >> [Original Message]
> >> From: Loran Hughes <loranhughes at mac.com>
> >> To: Antique Phonograph List <phono-l at oldcrank.org>
> >> Date: 1/10/2007 12:48:26 AM
> >> Subject: [Phono-L] Orthophonic Reproducer Bearings
> >>
> >> I can't recall off the cuff... can anyone tell me the diameter of the  
> >> bearings for an Orthophonic reproducer?
> >>
> >> Regards,
> >> Loran
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Phono-L mailing list
> >> http://phono-l.oldcrank.org
> >
> >
> >
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