EDISON STANDARD PATENT PLATE NOTES
by Martin Kauper

Over the last few years I’ve noted different types of patent plates used on different models of the Edison Standard. Configurations of the plate changed as needs arose for more information. This is especially true with the introduction of the Model C Standard and after.

My understanding of the prosaic patent plate is still evolving. I became aware of differences over the course of time. (After all, don’t your eyes glaze-over when confronted with the early “legal-lingo”?) So, yet-unidentified variations and sub-categories are still quite possible. I have numbered the discreet types of plates in what I consider to be their rough chronological order. This becomes complicated for the later years when so many machines were re-purposed and re-configured at the factory.

Speaking sequentially (in serial numbers), the first plates with Model Type windows (used in Plate type 7 and up) appeared at the top of the plate in the very earliest Model C & D machines. Before that, (and even after), plates had no model type window and model type was expressed as a “D” or “C” following the serial number (probably to use up existing stock). In contrast, the Model B didn’t use the plates with a model type window and carried no extra mark apart from the serial number.

The final plate style is seldom seen and probably mostly used on reconfigured, unsold machines. It refers to “Thomas A. Edison, Inc.” as the manufacturer and has a last patent date of Aug. 29, 1905.

Some plates (Types 7 to 9) are found with an “x” punched over one model type and a new model type punched next to it. This is yet another example of machine re-configuration and the Edison works’ policy of wasting nothing.

Standard model modifications
Type 8 plate with change from Model D to Model F. Courtesy of Alistair Sandilands

The following are examples of each type of Patent Plate:

TYPE 1:

Nickel-plated. Mounted under mandrel. Has no serial number. (Serial numbers were punched into raised boss on bedplate.) Last Patent date: Jun. 20, 1893. (The “20” appears to be a corrected “30” on most plates.) This plate was first used on the Edison Home. The June 30 typo appears to be uncorrected on the very earliest Home models but seems to have been corrected by the time the Standard was introduced. Size: 2 ½ ” x 1 ¼”.
Found mainly on 2 Clip Model A machines.

fig2_TYPE_1

**************************************************************************************

TYPE 2:

Nickel-plated Brass. Mounted under mandrel. Has no serial number. (Serial numbers were punched into raised boss on bedplate.) Last Patent date: May 31, 1898. Size: 3 ¼ ” x 1 ¼”. Found mainly on 4 Clip Model A machines. Also found on the Edison Home.

fig3_TYPE_2

**************************************************************************************

TYPE 3:

Nickel-plated Brass. Mounted under mandrel. This is the first plate with the serial number stamped into it and the machine type (Standard) is expressed as an “S” prefix. Last Patent date: May 31, 1898. Size: 4 ” x 1 ¾ ”. Found on late 4 Clip Model A machines. Also found on the Edison Home with an “H” prefix to the serial number.

Standard_type_three_plate
Courtesy of Alistair Sandilands

**************************************************************************************

TYPE 4:

Brass, finished with Black Japan enamel background with silver highlights. Plates are often found with silver worn off. Mounted under mandrel. Has serial number stamped into plate with machine type (Standard) expressed as an “S” prefix to the serial number. Last Patent date: May 31, 1898. Size: 4 ”x 1 ½”. Found on New style Model A machines up to around serial # 163610. Also found on the Edison Home with an “H” prefix to the serial number.

fig5_TYPE_4

**************************************************************************************

TYPE 5:

Brass, finished with Black Japan enamel background with silver highlights (highlights are nickel starting with the Model B machines). Plates are often found with silver worn off. Mounted under mandrel. Has serial number stamped into plate with machine type (Standard) expressed as an “S” prefix to the serial number. Last Patent date: Nov. 17, 1903. Size: 4 ”x 1 ¾ ”. Found on New style Model A and Tall style Model B machines up to around serial # 400000. Also found on the Edison Home with an “H” prefix to the serial number.

fig6_TYPE_5

**************************************************************************************

TYPE 6:

Brass, finished with Black Japan enamel background with nickel highlights. Mounted under mandrel until around serial #621061 when it was moved to rear of bedplate under the feedscrew. Has serial number stamped into it. Machine type “Edison Standard Phonograph” added at top.

Up to the type 6 plate, the previous plates were generic and could be used with other Edison machines such as the Home. The machine type on those plates were indicated by a prefix letter such as: “S” for Standard or “H” for Home. This type 6 plate eliminated the need for a prefix letter as it already referenced the machine type.

Last Patent date: Oct. 3, 1905. Size: 4 ”x 1 ½”. Found on Model B up to around 619431, and then interspersed on some early Model C & D machines with model type expressed as a suffix letter to the serial number, (and very late Model B machines up to around serial # 724560).

fig7_TYPE_6

**************************************************************************************

TYPE 7:

Brass, finished with Black Japan enamel background with nickel highlights. Mounted at rear of bedplate under the feedscrew. Has serial number stamped into it. Last Patent date: Oct. 3, 1905. Model type window added at top of plate under “Edison Standard Phonograph”. Size: 4” x 1 3/4”. Mostly found on Model C and E machines up to the end of production.

fig8_TYPE_7

**************************************************************************************

TYPE 8:

Brass, finished with Black Japan enamel background with nickel highlights. Mounted at rear of bedplate under the feedscrew. Has serial number stamped into it. Last Patent date: Oct. 3, 1905. Model type window was moved to bottom of plate. The words “Combination Type” added under “Edison Standard Phonograph” at top of plate.
Size: 4 ”x 1 7/8 ”. Mostly found on Model D and F machines up to the end of production.

fig9_TYPE_8

**************************************************************************************

TYPE 9:

Brass, finished with Black Japan enamel background with nickel highlights. Mounted at rear of bedplate under the feedscrew. Has serial number stamped into it. Last Patent date: Aug. 29, 1905. Manufacturer name changed to “Thomas A. Edison, Inc.”. Model type window located under “Edison Standard Phonograph” at top of plate. Size: 4”x 1¾”. Spotted occasionally on Model C, D and E machines beginning about 784999 up to the end of production.

fig10_TYPE_9
Courtesy of Scott Colgrove

**************************************************************************************

EDISON – BELL plate examples:

Collectors in the UK and Europe are likely to also run across one of these plates affixed to their Standard. On Squaretop Standards they most likely will be found on the right side of the bedplate, mounted parallel to the endgate. They have been seen on New style Model A machines mounted on the front of the case, on top front of the bedplate frame and also on top of lid. I haven’t seen many examples of these, so other variations are quite possible.

fig11_E_B_verA
found with serial number 9862. Courtesy of Alistair Sandilands.

fig12_E_B_verB
found with serial number 12906. Courtesy of Alistair Sandilands.