Inglewood Craftsman Home

Restoring our 1906 home in Inglewood CA on a budget

Antique Victrola VV-X: 1917 and the 1990s

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I recently found this Victrola at an estate sale and got away with it for just $65. I noticed the plug came out of an awkward spot, and the turntable doesn’t quite work; it turns on and makes a buzzing noise, but doesn’t spin. Curious, I looked up the model number for more information after purchasing the piece.

Apparently, this model was made in 1917. At that point, it only cost $75-$110, so I paid even less than I would have for a brand-new one! I know, I know- inflation, depression, blah blah. The value of $100 in 1917 would be $2024 in today’s dollars. Seems like I got away with a steal.

Anyway, the mechanism has been totally replaced with a plastic one that doesn’t even work. The hand crank on the side is missing, as are the internal parts and original turntable.  The mechanism starts to hum when turned on, but nothing turns. While scouring the Internet for replacement parts, I realized I could actually buy a whole new (old) Victrola for less than it would take to refurbish the old one. For $100 on eBay, I purchased an almost entirely complete model; it’s missing only the crank handle.

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As an added bonus, this new piece was owned by the lead singer of Dishwalla, who was downsizing (apparently for a rock star that means going from two studios to one, according to the original eBay posting, but in real life he told us that he and his wife, who is originally from the UK, are moving from their current home in Santa Barbara to England). You probably remember Dishwalla from the 1995 song “Counting Blue Cars”. Or maybe you don’t. J.R. told us that he’d refinished the cabinet himself, and that it’d been his uncle’s- in the family for over quite some time, as it turns out.

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This Victrola is Dante-approved!

I’ll soon be on the lookout for a new crank handle for this VV-X, which was also made in early 1917, according to this product information page. Oh, and I’ll be selling the old one, maybe without the new-looking non-working turntable inside it. Anyone interested?

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