Photo: Juanita Gaudreault
Meet the Phonograph Collector
When my husband Allan reached a certain age and was contemplating retirement, I was worried about how he would keep himself busy, as he is the type who needs to be active. After visiting a friend who is into collecting phonographs, Allan became interested and the rest is history.
He joined the Canadian Antique Phonograph Society (CAPS) in 2011 and his collection of phonographs continues to grow. He loves scouring garage sales, flea markets and auctions—anywhere he might be able to find and salvage a machine that is destined for a landfill due to its sad state of disrepair. (Check out these handy tips for getting the most out of garage sale season.)
Allan spends a lot of time taking the old machines apart, refinishing the wood on the cabinets and bringing them back to their original state.
One part of the restoration that is particularly time-consuming is repairing the wind-up mechanism. Luckily, he has a good friend from CAPS known as the “gramophone doctor,” who supplies many of the original parts and services the motors.
Over the years, Allan has managed to restore more than 50 phonographs. Just recently, he restored an Edison Diamond Disc phonograph, as well as a tabletop model for a museum in Osoyoos, British Columbia. Allan has also donated some phonographs to various museums in our area, and given others as prizes for fundraisers.
At the moment, he probably has about 30 machines on display. He also has an extensive collection of vinyl records including 78s, 45s, Diamond Disc records and Edison cylinder records.
Allan finds it very rewarding to bring these phonographs back to life for people to once again enjoy and appreciate.
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