A full service for a typical portable (or ‘picnic’) gramophone is £100.00. This includes:-
- a complete stripdown of the motor and (if necessary) soundbox
- thoroughly cleaning all the old grease and dust from the working parts and mating surfaces
- re-assembling with fresh, genuine graphite grease, replacing friction leathers and soundbox rubbers as required.
Before it leaves the workshop the machine will be capable of playing one side of a standard 10” 78 (in reasonable condition) with a new needle.
Phonographs and other early machines are more complicated, so the likely cost needs to be estimated individually. E-mail me a few photos (but no more than two at a time as my server tends to reject any more than that), your phone number and a convenient time to ring and I’ll get back to you.
If it turns out that the machine needs a new spring that will, unfortunately, increase the cost by £35.00. There are some simple tests you can do at home to determine whether your spring is broken.
Is my gramophone spring broken?
Put the winding handle in and try turning it. If it just goes round and round without ever getting harder to turn, then the spring is probably broken in the middle. If it winds for a bit, getting slightly harder to turn until there comes a sort of ‘slooping’ noise, following which the handle goes slack again, then the spring is probably broken at the outside edge. Either way, it’s not looking good.
The multiple spring motors typically used in table-top and freestanding cabinet machines cost £120.00 for a full service as detailed above, or £130.00 if they have the floating speed indicator used on some HMV models, as this is nearly always jammed up solid.
For other repairs, please send me a photo of the gramophone or phonograph with its lid open and a photo or two of the problem.
Premium Renovation Service
As well as servicing your machine to put it into full working order and renovating it to stabilise any obvious structural problems, I can now offer a premium renovation service.
Renovating a machine will include work to the casing of the machine as well as carrying out a service and any necessary repairs. This includes re-covering typical portable models in brand new leathercloth (to match the original Rexine) or re-polishing cabinet and table models to produce a museum quality item looking as close as can be achieved to how it did when it was new. This work is undertaken by an expert furniture restorer with 50 years’ experience in antique restoration.
Please enquire about this service, since every item varies according to how much wear it has had, and how perfect a finish you would like.
If you are not sure whether to renovate your machine or not, you are welcome to send me photographs so that we can estimate the likely cost of renovation. Please send photos of:
- the gramophone or phonograph with the lid open
- the casing (all round)
- any damage.
In return I will send you an assessment of what needs to be done and an estimate of the cost.