Victrola And Its Other Successful Product Launches
In September 1906, Victor launched a new line of talking machines which they named Victrola as a trademark. These internal horn machines are designed with a turntable and an amplifying horn that is completely tucked away inside a wooden cabinet. The design is made for visual aesthetics as opposed to audio fidelity. It was intended to create a phonograph that looks more like a fine piece of furniture as compared to one that resembles a machinery. After its public announcement in August of the same year, the re-designed talking machines soon became a big hit.
Most Victrola phonographs (internal horn) started production at serial number 501 which ran consecutively until the internal horn model was discontinued. Each model was said to have its own serial number for the whole sequential production run.
The name “Victrola” was the exclusive name that Victor gave to this type of phonograph that is designed with a horn found inside the cabinet. Victrolas are made in all sizes and shapes which include models that came in very small tables.
External Horn Victor
This Victor-labeled phonograph is designed with an outside horn and is also referred to simply as “Victor.” The machines with external horn are popular collector items and are usually dated from approximately 1900 up to the early 1920s. In several cases, an old external horn phonograph that has a missing horn will resemble a simple tabletop phonograph. This type is easy to identify since it has no doors or openings on the front part of the cabinet where the sound would exit.
Electrola or Orthophonic
The mid-1920’s was the period when Victor decided to update its product line. New products emerged such as radios, electronic amplification, automatic record changers, etc. There was also an advanced lineup of acoustic wind-up models. There were some phonographs that were installed using very large decorative cabinets. As a result, these models were found to be a bit expensive at the time. Typically, they were referred to as “Orthophonic Victrolas” while the electric counterparts were referred to as “Electrolas.”
Victrola models ranged from small tabletop versions that were priced at $15. However, there were a number of cabinet sizes and designs that were intended to match with the home décor of middle-class consumers which were priced in the $100 to $250 range. Models such as the Queen-style and Chippendale cabinets can reach up to $600. These were made of fine wood that came with gold trim which made them perfect for elegant mansions.
Other Victor products included Radiola (a type of radio that is usually paired with a record player) and certain musical instruments such as the “theremin” which is the first electronic instrument.