Were the needles so flimsy in the early days that you constantly needed new ones? Or why did this item needed a compartment for new needles?
The needles not only broke easily but they would often go missing or wear out so having a compartment for needles were necessary.
Although aluminum, in which this streamlined phonograph is encased, is taken for granted today as a lightweight, inexpensive material that has many applications, it was only in 1886 that an American, Charles Martin Hall, discovered an electrolytic process that made its commercial production possible. Over the next forty years, aluminum evolved from a laboratory curiosity to an industrial staple.
Was this a working phonograph?
Yes, it was, although the battery has been removed. This phonograph was designed by John Vassos circa 1935. It's a great example of modern design. The lid of the case has room to store records!
Was this portable?
Yes, it was battery operated! I'm not sure the exact type of battery was used but the space for it was large and rectangular.
It must have been very fun and useful at picnics!
I agree! It was the original bluetooth speaker!
This is a battery-powered phonograph for playing recorded music! The grill at the front is the speaker and the lid of the aluminum case has room to store records! The bakelite handle is made from an early type of plastic that is designed to look like tortoiseshell.
This is a record player?
Yes! This portable electronic phonograph was battery powered. Designed and manufactured around 1935, the phonograph even has a space at the top to store records!
Tell me more.
This portable phonograph, created in 1935, looks rather complicated and futuristic. It was made of aluminum, at the time an innovation in metal technology that was admired for its lightness. The lid also included a black plastic imitation leather case where records could be kept!
How was this portable phonograph powered?
There would have been a rectangular, removable battery in the case to power the phonograph.
¡Este es un fonógrafo con batería para tocar música grabada! ¡La parrilla en la parte delantera es el altavoz y la tapa de la caja de aluminio tiene espacio para guardar discos! El mango de baquelita está hecho de un tipo de plástico que está diseñado para parecerse a la concha de tortuga.
Why was aluminum chosen instead of wood or Bakelite? Was the choice of aluminum purely aesthetic, or did it have a purpose-specific function over and above basic “durability “ desired in a portable appliance?
To star with, aluminum is particularly light, and would have been a good choice for a portable device like this. It was also very affordable during this time, and could be made to be durable. There was also an interest in a machine aesthetic at the time, which the metal surface plays into. Americans were interested in forms that reminded them of new technological innovations, and manufacturers were happy to comply, as it meant that they could produce objects cheaply using materials like stamped sheet metal to make the forms that the public wanted to see!
Was this commercial product produced as a demonstration of futurism for something like the 1939 World's Fair?
While this phonograph was not in the 1939 World's Fair, the designer, John Vassos, did design other objects to be included in the World's Fair, such as a futuristic TV cabinet in transparent Lucite plastic, as well as new entertainment systems that combined radio, television, and record player housed inside a single cabinet to be shown at the event.