Spotter’s Guide to the Edison Standard Phonograph
By Martin Kauper
(Revised July 3, 2016)
The Edison Standard Phonograph was a real breakthrough in the “middle income” market of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Introduced in early 1898, it proved to be a durable machine with good performance that sold well. As tastes and customer demands changed, the model types changed as well. They were made in great quantities and are often the first choice for entry-level cylinder machine collectors today. The Edison Company discontinued open horn phonographs (including the Standard) in late 1913.
In talking with collectors of phonographs, I often find that the Edison Standard was their first cylinder player. This is hardly a surprise in that Standards are plentiful and still relatively cheap. Certainly, I was no exception and proceeded to collect the different versions of the Standard. I read whatever I could and obtained a copy of the wonderful book The Edison Cylinder Phonograph Companion by George Frow. It filled in many gaps but early on in my restoration efforts, I felt a need to better identify feature changes and relate them to serial numbers.
Somewhere around 2006 I started a project called “The Edison Standard Data Project”. It is an excel data sheet that attempts to document those changes and correlate them with the serial numbers on existing machines. Obviously, many of these machines have been repaired or altered in the last 100+ years, so the data project is more about spotting trends rather than single anomalies. I find that the more examples I record, the more surprising features emerge. I decided that, to have any value to the collecting/restoring world, the data sheet should be available to everybody for free. (Please see the link at the end of the article for downloading.) One integral part of the Data Project is the concept of typical configuration for each iteration of Standard model types. With this, one can then identify departures from the norm.
One must keep an open mind about factory configurations. For example; almost anything could be special ordered from the factory for a higher price. The case could be upgraded to mahogany rather than the normal oak, or the bedplate could be ordered finished in nickel rather than the black enamel, to mention just two options. (These seem to be quite rare. It is probable that anyone with the extra money for those upgrades would likely buy one of the higher priced models anyway.)
Necessarily, this project focuses much on the Patent plate. I have identified nine versions of the U.S. Patent plate, which carries the dates of applicable patents. It sometimes also carries model type and serial numbers. Please see the related “Edison Standard Patent Plate Notes” for descriptions and pictures.
Initially serial numbers were stamped into a raised boss on the bedplate casting and not in the patent plate at all. After the first two plate styles, it was determined that the plate should receive the serial number as well. Until somewhere in the 384,000 area, an “S” preceded the serial number (denoting “Standard”). After that, the newer plates identified the machine as “Edison Standard Phonograph” making the single letter code unnecessary.The numbering seems to start at “1” and continue up to the end (in the 820,000s). Serial numbers for late Model B, and then C, D, E & F seem to be in allotted blocks of the same single progression of numbers. Many times, in the later machines, the model type appears to have been changed by overstamping the old model type with an “X” and stamping the new one next to it.
The following are descriptions of the various distinct model types of Standards:
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “A” – 2 CLIP
This is the earliest version of the Edison Standard. According to Frow, they were introduced in February 1898. I call it the “2 clip” Model A for the obvious reason that the lid is held on by 2 suitcase type latches on either end. Other names you will hear for this and the next version of this machine are “Square Top” or “Suitcase” Standard.
The early models had a bead around the bottom edge of the lid, which at one point, moved to the top edge of the bottom case. (There are transitional models that have no bead either on the lid or bottom case). At first, the top edge of the lid was lightly chamfered or routed with a decorative profile. This almost certainly was eliminated due to structural weakness. More often, one will find the top edges simply rounded. The bottom board, had a small ogee style profile cut into its edges. The tops and bottoms of these cases very often have some splitting or checking due to shrinkage or drying of the oak stock. The cases were without decals (not including those placed by local dealers). The lid handle is a simple turning with one bead at either end and no scoring in the middle (as in later models). Unlike later models, the bedplate and motor simply sat on a lip in the case without the benefit of mounting screws.
The very first versions of the machine had no gear guard on the top left side. Since these were to be exposed, possibly that is the reason one tends to find the set-screws are nickel-plated on the early models. It appears that the very early models did not have End Bearing Stop Screws (or what I’ve been also calling “tension screws,” “capture screws,” or “grub screws”), on the ends of the bearings. The bedplate had simple gold lining around the edges with “grass tufts” at the corners. The serial number was carried on a cast-in raised boss on the right rear of the bedplate. These numbers carry the prefix “s” (presumably for “standard”) and sometimes can be confused for a “3” or a “5”.
The nickeled patent plate is found under the mandrel and on most of these models will carry the last patent date of June 20, 1893. This plate was first used on the Edison Home. (An interesting sidelight here: the plates appear to have been originally stamped “June 30” and then the die was altered to read “June 20”.) Toward the end of the “2 clip” era, the patent plate was changed to show the last date as May 31, 1898. The mandrel pulley is cast with “dished” sides. The straight edge is relatively thin, with a block on the right that acts as a clipping-point for the end gate. The crank on the “2 clip” & “4 clip” machines was a rather under-engineered casting which is often missing on machines found today. (Often, one will find a crank from the “Standard Model ‘A’ – New Style” used on these machines.)
The reproducer carrier arm utilized two clips to hold the reproducer in place. On the very early incarnations of this model, each clip was held on by one small screw. To the right of these clips is an adjusting screw for “fine-tuning” the positioning of the reproducer. The reproducer carrier arm utilized a lever-lift with a roller to the rear for sliding along the straight edge. On the rear of the arm casting is an enlarged area to accept the Shaver attachment (which never worked very well due to the motor being somewhat under powered). There is evidence that not all machines were shipped with a shaver and at least one is known that has no holes drilled for one.
Originally, the reproducer would have been the “Standard Speaker” which had both a reproducing stylus and a recording cutter. This is very rarely found today. The optional “Automatic” reproducer was a much-improved model and soon replaced the “Standard Speaker” as standard equipment. The “Automatic” is also fairly hard to come by, and one generally sees the later “Model C” reproducer on these machines today
The motor on these early machines features a smaller single spring barrel than in the rest of the Standard machines from 1901 onwards. As compared to later models, the gear cluster has a slightly different shape to its castings and features brass gears. The brake lever presses on one side of the governor’s yoke. The belt drive pulley is a dished casting. Very few parts of the motor are interchangeable with later models.
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “A” – 4 CLIP
The second version of the Edison Standard is what I call the “4 clip”. Again, the obvious reason for the name is that the lid is held on by 4 suitcase type latches, (ie: two on the front and two on the rear). Other names you will hear for this and the previous version of this machine are “Square Top” or “Suitcase” Standard.
Most of the 4-clip models had a bead around the top edge of the bottom case. The base board profile is markedly different than the earlier model. It has a larger, simplified curve, rather than the “ogee” shape. There may be transitional models with elements of the earlier model
These cases were easy to swap out, (since they didn’t have screws holding the works to the case), so one is likely to find variation between case type and topworks on that head as well. The tops and bottoms of these cases very often have some splitting or checking due to shrinkage or drying of the oak stock. The cases were without decals (again, unless placed by local dealers). The lid handle is a simple turning with one bead at either end and no scoring in the middle (as in later models). Unlike later models, the bedplate and motor simply sat on a lip in the case without the benefit of mounting screws.
The bedplate had simple gold lining around the edges with “grass tufts” at the corners. Initially, the serial number was carried on a raised boss at the right rear of the bedplate. Toward the end of the “4 clip” era, the boss was dropped and the serial number was stamped into a redesigned nickel patent plate (type3). The patent plate (both type 2 and 3) is found under the mandrel and carries the last patent date of May 31, 1898. The straight edge was thickened and will often be found with the serial number punched into it as well. On some transitional machines, one will find the serial number on the raised boss, the type 3 patent plate and the straight edge.
Initially, the mandrel was nickel plated in a matte finish. A few very late examples (carrying the type 3 patent plate) have surfaced with a groove on the left side of the mandrel near the pulley. These are finished with a highly polished nickel plate.
The block on the right that acts as a clipping-point for the end gate was machined at an angle at one point during production. At some point during production, the “dished” mandrel pulley gave way to the more familiar-looking solid sided, nickel-plated pulley. The crank on the “2 clip” & “4 clip” machines was a rather under engineered casting which is often missing on machines found today. Often, one will find a crank from the “Standard Model ‘A’ – New Style” used on these machines. (Actually, it has come to light that at least one later 4 Clip machine has the early style motor but with the larger diameter winding shaft that can only accommodate the later “S-curve” crank often associated with the “New style” Model A. Obviously, this will bear further research.)
The reproducer carrier arm utilized two clips to hold the reproducer in place. To the right of these clips is an adjusting screw for “fine-tuning” the positioning of the reproducer. The reproducer carrier arm utilized a lever-lift with a roller to the rear for sliding along the straight edge. On the rear of the arm casting is an enlarged area to accept the Shaver attachment. There is evidence that not all machines were shipped with a shaver. Originally, the reproducer would have been the “Automatic”. Today one often sees these machines with the slightly later “Model B” or “Model C” reproducers.
The motor on these early machines features a smaller single spring barrel than in the rest of the Standard machines from 1901 onwards. The gear cluster has a slightly different shape to its castings and features brass gears that do not appear on the post 1901 models. The brake lever presses on one side of the governor’s yoke. Very few parts of the motor are interchangeable with later models.
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “A” – NEW STYLE CASE
The last version of the Edison Standard Model ‘A’, is what I call the “New Style”. In 1901, the Edison Company re-designed its existing models. No doubt, this was an effort to make the machines look less like coffee grinders and be more appropriate for the parlor. One might also hear this referred to as the “green oak Standard”.
This model was a complete re-design of the Standard. The case & domed lid with its green oak finish more closely resembled sewing machine cases. The lid moulding started as two smoothed curves and then morphed into the more familiar profile with the beaded top edge. This is something i realized rather late in the game, so my early notes don’t reflect what kind of moulding the cases had. The transition was fairly gradual (with examples as early as serial number 111099) and was mostly accomplished by the 160,000s. The front of the case carried the varnish transfer (decal) generally known as “the banner decal”. The bedplate was supported by a wooden frame and attached by 4 (and later 3) screws.
The bedplate still had the simple gold lining around the edges with “grass tufts” at the corners. The patent plate was enlarged and redesigned to hold the stamped serial number, (the raised boss on the right rear was eliminated). As before, the serial numbers carry the prefix “s” (presumably for “standard”) and sometimes can be confused for a “3” or a “5”. The last patent date changed from May 31, 1898 around 165,000. (There are exceptions to this; some that could be attributed to difficulty in reading the serial number.)
The serial number punched into the straight edge was dropped at some point early in production. The slotted crank was re-designed, strengthened, and given an ‘S’ curve. The winding shaft itself was a bigger diameter.
The reproducer carrier arm with two clips was replaced early on with a similar one that utilized a positioning pin and a set screw to hold the reproducer in place. Reproducers from then onwards had a notch at top to fit the positioning pin. The reproducer carrier arm lever lift was replaced by the lift pin (with the button head) by about serial # 105182. As on the earlier models: on the rear of the carrier arm casting is an enlarged area to accept the Shaver attachment (which never worked very well). There is evidence that not all machines were shipped with a shaver and at least one is known that has no holes drilled for one. The swing arm was redesigned for this model and angled down toward the front of the machine.
The mainspring was enlarged on this model and the barrel was given open spokes. The gear cluster was altered and given all steel gears. The brake was re-designed with a separate pad so as to not disturb the governor yoke.
Collectors in the UK will sometimes see machines fitted with a knurled nut/clamp endgate locking device, usually with a lever lift carrier arm that has been modified to use a lift pin with a button head. This was most likely due to the patent litigation between Edison-Bell and the National Phonograph Company. The serial numbers seen so far are sprinkled in between 94,303 to 107,827.
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “B” – TALL CASE
The Edison Standard Model ‘B’ is the most commonly found model of the Standard line. (There were over 370,000 of them if all of the serial numbers were used.) It is often called the Tall Standard because it was slightly taller than the previous model.
The increase of height in the cabinet was to accommodate the new spring-suspended motor. Changes in esthetics in home decorating dictated a change from the “green oak” finish of the previous model to the darker (and less green) “antique oak” finish of this model. Perhaps it wasn’t the public’s change of tastes so much as it was the Edison Company’s growing sensitivity to them.
At the outset of production, the front of the case still carried the varnish transfer (decal) generally known as “the banner decal”. This changed rather early on to the small “Edison” script decal, which would remain for the rest of the Standards (and most other models) to the end of production. The bedplate was attached to the wooden frame by 5 screws, but certain early machines have been noted with only 3. One late production ICS model B has been noted in a Late style case, however, after-the-fact replacement is always a possibility.
Generally, the bedplate had the same simple gold lining around the edges with “grass tufts” at the corners. The lining changed to the more elaborate stenciling (used on the subsequent models) at the very end of the model B’s production. Late in production the Thomas A. Edison signature on the front of the bedplate went from the “first style” signature to the “second style” (simplified design that appears to be a decal rather than a silk screen).
The patent plate remained under the mandrel until late in production when it moved to the rear of the bedplate under the feedscrew, (just before # 632850). The last patent date changed from Nov. 17, 1903 to Oct. 3, 1905 somewhere before # 400323. Except for the machines made for the International Correspondence School, the Speed adjusting screw was moved from on top to below the bedplate. By this time cylinder speeds had been standardized at 160 rpm and frequent adjustment was no longer necessary. Ironically, speed adjustment marks appeared on the back carrier arm rod to make speed adjustment easier. (It was supposed to take 60 seconds for the arm to travel from one mark to the other at 160 rpm.)
The reproducer carrier arm was simplified and lost the shaving device. The Model B motor received a new suspension system using steel springs. It was very effective in quieting the machinery. Previously, the motors on the model A machines were simply bolted to the bedplate with rubber washers to act as vibration dampers. It was not all that effective in isolating vibration and those models’ motors (even with new rubber) are all quite a bit louder than the motors in the Model B and later models.
The mainspring barrel was slightly redesigned with only a single inspection hole in the side. The re-designed motor necessitated a slightly taller case to hold it (hence the name “Tall Standard”).
In 1908, with the introduction of the 4 minute wax Amberol records, 2&4 minute gear upgrades were introduced for the earlier 2 minute only machines. The upgrades are easily recognized on the Model A & B by the sloping-up gear guard on the topworks.
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “C” – TALL/LATE CASE
In 1907, the Edison company was under increasing pressure from lawsuits brought by former business associates. Many of these involved dispute of patented devices on phonographs and records. Since this was happening in the State of New York, the company was forced to create a dispute-free model specifically for sale in that state. This model was known as the Model “C”. The most notable difference is the absence of the swing-arm endgate. The result of this redesign was far reaching in that every Edison cylinder player after the model C would lack an end gate. The Model C is found less frequently as it was produced in smaller numbers for the state of New York only. The version of the Model C that is more frequently found has the ICS modifications (which were sold everywhere). The International Correspondence Schools (ICS) used the home recording feature, which was only available in 2 minute configuration until 1912.
The case was initially the same as the Tall style Model “B”. It carried the “Edison” script on the front and was used into 1908. This was replaced by the Late style case that was developed for the Model “D” combination (2&4 minute) machine. (See case description of Model “D”.)
Initially, the bedplate had the same simple gold lining around the edges with “grass tufts” at the corners. The lining changed to the more elaborate stenciling about the time the Late style case appeared in 1908.
The patent plate was located at the rear of the bedplate under the feedscrew. Variously, the model type was located at the top of the plate or as a suffix to the serial number (probably using up Model B plates after Model Bs ceased production).
The Speed adjusting screw is located below the bedplate, however, machines made for ICS use had the speed control on top. (ICS cylinders ran at 90 rpm, while entertainment cylinders ran at 160 rpm.) Speed adjustment test marks still appeared on the back carrier arm rod. The ICS machines also came equipped with a repeater device which moved the reproducer back a few seconds for quick review. The reproducer carrier arm casting is slightly different for this model with a lever lift (usually on the left side) and grooves on the bottom that mesh with the repeater. The carrier arm also usually sports a roller on the back (similar to the 2 & 4 clip model A).
The normal New York State version uses the usual button lift. As stated before, the end-gate was eliminated. The mandrel shaft was supported by a bushing (to the left of the mandrel itself). This bushing was usually made of potmetal which tends to swell and degrade over time. Very often the shafts are seized due to this problem. Usually today’s restorer will use a brass or steel roller-bearing to replace the decayed original.
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “D” – TALL/LATE CASE
1908 was a year of change for Edison. The cylinder format was losing ground to the 78 rpm disc. One of the drawbacks of the cylinder was the short playing time of the 2 minute wax cylinder. The Edison company fought back for market share with the introduction of the 4 minute wax Amberol. Thus, the Model D – Combination Type Standard was introduced in the 3rd quarter of 1908 to play both the earlier 2 minute and the new 4 minute records.
The very first few Model D machines were found in the “Tall” style cases, but most are found in “Late Style” cases.
The “Late” case had wider molding at the bottom that made it appear to be shorter than the “Tall” style. In fact the case was shorter in that the base board was eliminated. Instead, the case had a thin cover on the bottom. Usually a bracket is found on the bottom front of the case for the horn crane foot. The top left front of the case is slotted and notched for the horn crane brace.The lid went through a couple of changes throughout production. Initially, the corners of the molding on the lid were butt-jointed, but later on were “finger-jointed”. Sometime after that the clips on either end were changed from the “4 screw” type to the “3 screw” type. Most of the Model D lids had a “Change of Reproducers” instruction sheet glued inside.
A small block is often found nailed on the inside left, presumably to hold the gear cover in place during transportation. The finish was generally the darker “Antique Oak” but is sometimes found in “Golden Oak”.
As with the Model C machine, the Model D mandrel has no endgate and the mandrel shaft is supported by a center bushing or bearing. Most originals are potmetal and subject to swelling (usually not found on functioning machines today). The speed is changed from 2 to 4 minutes by pulling a knurled knob on the left side of the top gear cluster. Sometimes a “4 minute 2” transfer (decal) is present on the bedplate near the gear cover. These are often damaged and may have been added at the factory after the other decorations were covered in shellac.
The bedplates of the very early Model Ds are found with the simple gold lining and “grass tufts” at the corners as found on most of the Model Bs. The lining quickly changed to the more elaborate stenciling. The patent plate was located at the rear of the bedplate under the feedscrew. Variously, the model type was located at the top or bottom of the plate or as a suffix to the serial number (probably using up Model B plates after Model Bs ceased production). The model used the 31” black Standard 10 panel straight horn.
When the Cygnet #10 horn was introduced, some models were sold as Model “D2”. These will often have a cygnet horn crane bracket mounted to the rear of the case.
The reproducer carrier was initially the angled carrier arm, much like the Model B (but with a different half-nut to mesh with the different feedscrew. Two reproducers were provided with the Model D: the 2 minute Model C and the 4 minute Model H. Often the Model H is coated with green shellac on the tube plate for ready identification. Later, when the celluloid Blue Amberols were introduced, some owners replaced the carrier arms with the horizontal type for the Diamond B reproducer. The horizontal carrier arms are found in two configurations the non-adjustable type (cast in a single piece), and the adjustable type.
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “E” – LATE CASE
The Model E Standard was introduced in 1911. It was created at the instigation of Edison dealer Babson Brothers of Chicago. It was felt that a special 4 minute-only machine was needed for mail order sale. As an added feature, the 31” straight Standard horn was painted with a slightly transparent blue shellac and hand-painted chrysanthemums. Although pretty, the finish wasn’t very durable and very often these horns are found with severe paint loss.
The case was the same Late style of the Model D.
The moldings on the lid are generally found with “finger-jointed” corners. The lid clips on either end often are the “3 screw” type.
This model seems to be based on existing stocks of unsold Model D and the “Change of Reproducers” instruction sheet glued inside the lid is often pasted over with a piece of paper with a large “E” on it. A small block is often found nailed on the inside left, presumably to hold the gear cover in place during transportation.
As with the Model C & D machines, the Model E mandrel has no endgate and the mandrel shaft is supported by a center bushing or bearing. Again, most are potmetal and subject to swelling. The knurled knob for the speed change is present but usually found reversed on the shaft so as to “snug-up” to the casting. The “4-2 minute” sliding gear was replaced by a similar, but thinner gear. The small gear on the mandrel shaft is also different from the one on the Model D, having only the one gear for 4 minute use.
The patent plate was located at the rear of the bedplate under the feedscrew. The model type was located at the top or bottom of the plate. 1911 was the year that saw Edison producing phonographs under “Thomas A. Edison, Inc.” rather than the previous “National Phonograph Company”. Sometimes one will see very late patent plates reflecting the name change. (Reserve stocks of the previous type must have been quite high if rarity of the last type is any indication.) They were probably added so late that they were used only for re-purposed or remanufactured machines. They are found sprinkled through the last 15,000 machines.
The reproducer carrier was special to this machine. The carrier arm was angled, much like the Model D, but had a larger holder for the Model N reproducer (also special for this machine).
As with the Model D, when the celluloid Blue Amberols were introduced, some carrier arms were replaced with the horizontal type for the Diamond B reproducer. The horizontal carrier arms are found in two configurations the non-adjustable type (cast in a single piece), and the adjustable type.
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “F” – LATE CASE
The Model F Standard was introduced in late 1911. It is really a re-purposed Standard Model D with a special carrier arm to hold the Model S 2&4 minute reproducer. The #10 Cygnet horn was standard equipment with this model.
The case was the same Late style of the Model D.
The lids’ mouldings are generally found with “finger-jointed” corners. The lid clips on either end are the “3 screw” type. A small block is often found nailed on the inside left, presumably to hold the gear cover in place during transportation.
As with the Model C, D & E machines, the Model F mandrel has no endgate and the mandrel shaft is supported by a center bushing or bearing. Again, most are potmetal and subject to swelling. As with the Model D, the speed is changed from 2 to 4 minutes by pulling a knurled knob on the left side of the top gear cluster.
Sometimes a “4 minute 2” transfer (decal) is present on the bedplate near the gear cover. These are often damaged and may have been added after the other decorations were covered with shellac.
The patent plate was located at the rear of the bedplate under the feedscrew. The model type was located at the top or bottom of the plate (with the bottom being the most common.) 1911 was the year that saw Edison producing phonographs under “Thomas A. Edison, Inc.” rather than the previous “National Phonograph Company”. Sometimes one will see very late patent plates reflecting the name change. (Reserve stocks of the previous type must have been quite high if rarity of the last type is any indication.) There was much “re-purposing” of machines in stock, so many times one will find on the patent plate, the old model type will be X’d out and the new model type stamped to the right. (Perhaps the very late style plates replaced re-purposed plates when the machine was re-purposed once again.)
The small horizontal reproducer carrier was special to this machine to hold the Model S reproducer.
EDISON STANDARD MODEL “G” (?) – LATE CASE
The Model G Standard is a legendary machine. Some believe that it exists and others do not. The Model G is listed in the “Edison Cylinder Phonograph Companion” by George Frow, using material from a previous edition titled, “The Edison Cylinder Phonographs, 1877-1929” co-authored with Albert F. Sefl. The illustrating photograph in the book is the same case used for the Model F with a different carrier arm and reproducer (at the very least).
Mr. Sefl explained to me that the condition of his Model G case was so bad as to make the swap necessary for the book’s illustration. Unfortunately, the swap was not noted at the time and the machine is currently unavailable for study or photography. As of this writing, I still have not recorded an example of a Model G that is labeled as such. It is clear that Edison did have a genuine Model G designation.
It is possible that the Model type was used as a machine configuration reference and may seldom have been labeled as such on the Patent Plate. By the time of its introduction (Oct. 1912), there were many unsold machines in stock. (I base that idea on the reconfigured machines that show up in the later part of the data sheet.) It has been described as a 4 minute-only machine, featuring a Cygnet horn and a horizontal reproducer carrier arm. It came equipped either with a Model N or a Diamond B reproducer. This would seem a logical choice for unsold stocks of Model E Standards during the time of the introduction of the Blue Amberol record.
I’ve run across two contemporary mentions of the Model G. One is in the Edison Amberola Monthly (Jan-Feb 1920) referring to a Standard Model G in its listing of replacement main springs. The other is in the Parts of Edison Cylinder Phonographs dated September 1, 1913 showing the Standard Model G on page 10. Interestingly, the Model E is not mentioned at all. This might be further proof that the “Gs” were simply reconfigured “Es.”
Until such time an actual Model G patent plate shows up (or documentation such as a sales slip showing a Model E serial number being listed as a Model G) I can only list the model type based on the evidence on hand. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to update this with actual examples of the Model G.
Using Frow’s and Sefl’s description, it would have:
The case would be the same Late style of the Model D.
The motor and top works would be the same configuration of the Model E (4 minute only). The carrier arm would be the large horizontal type using the Diamond B reproducer. The horn would be the Cygnet #10 or Cygnet Music Master.
Edison Standard School Machines and the End of the Road
The Edison Standard appeared over the years configured for Correspondence School use. The most notable was the International Correspondence Schools (I.C.S.) of Scranton, PA. Their chief use was for language courses, but they were also used for teaching music as well.
Typically, these machines have top mounted speed adjustment screws. This was necessary in that entertainment records ran at 160 rpm while language records ran at 90 rpm (for longer duration). The I.C.S. machines also had a repeater that would set the reproducer back a few threads to repeat phrases. Lastly, the I.C.S. machines had a small white celluloid tag on front. Please refer to the illustration for the Model C machine for a typical configuration.
The earliest ones seem to be based on the Model A New Style machine. I have noted them as “I.C.S.” machines but realized rather late that many of these are (or were) probably labeled as International Textbook Company (I.T.C.) instead. These early entries bear further investigation. (I’m still learning as I go.)
The I.C.S. configuration turned out to be a great way for the Edison company to dispose of obsolete models. The highest serial numbers on my Excel sheet are all I.C.S. machines. The I.C.S. courses were all based around two minute (100 threads per inch) records until well into 1915. The Models B and C are the most often seen versions. At the very end of production, one sees a few Model D machines fixed to the two minute position for I.C.S. use. Eventually the Standard stockpiles were exhausted, and the once popular model was retired for good.
Luckily for us, many Standard machines survive and are still able to capture our imaginations as they must have when they were the very newest thing. You may download your own copy of The Edison Standard Data Project below; however, you may not want to try printing this file as it is pretty big and may use all your ink and paper. Happy listening!