Victrola And Its Various Models
The name “Victrola” applies solely to the internal horn phonographs that were made by the Victor Talking Machine Company. This means that it is not a generic term that can be applied to all old phonographs.
In 1906, the first internal horn phonograph was marketed to the public. It was initially labeled as “The Victor-Victrola.” The release also led to contracting the cabinet supplier Pooley Furniture Company of Philadelphia. Since Victor had no sufficient manufacturing facilities, it needed a company that would help in the production of large cabinets.
The Victor-Victrola was designed to cater to wealthy customers with the initial sale price fixed at the high rate of $200. It should be remembered that the most expensive model of Victor that came with an external horn was priced and sold at half the rate of the Victor-Victrola. Nevertheless, the machine performed well in terms of sales which made Victor believe that immediate success was on the way.
Domed Lid Victrola
Originally, Victrola had a flat-top design which brought a number of issues. Perhaps the most pressing and most awkward issue refers to the need for the user to “reach way down” into the cabinet’s deep opening whenever there’s a need to lift the needle or change a record. Within a year, the company resolved the issue by designing a domed lid model wherein the turntable and the tone arm sit almost flushed on top of the cabinet. There were only several thousand Pooley Victrolas with flat-top design that had been produced which made them a highly sought-after collectors’ item.
Victrola the Sixteenth
The earliest models of Victrola were assigned with the abbreviation of “VTLA” on the dataplate. However, they were soon marketed with the designation of “Victrola the Sixteenth” or VV-XVI. The company experimented further by marketing a more deluxe model which had the designation of “Victrola the Twentieth” (VV-XX). The latter, which had gold plated trim on the cabinet, was sold for the price of $300.
In 1909, Victor introduced a lower priced tabletop model known as “Victrola XII” which was sold at $125. It was the company’s first attempt to create a low-price compact version of Victrola which turned out to be unsuccessful. The reason could be attributed to the compact model’s horn opening which was deemed as too small to provide enough volume in a big room.
The most popular Victrola was the VV-XI floor model which sold more than 850,000 copies during its entire production period of 1910 to 1921. The following models of Victrola were also released in the market:
1910 - Victrola X ($75)
Victrola XI ($100)
Victrola the Fourteenth (VV-XIV, $150)
1911 - VV-IV | VV-VI | VV-VIII | VV-IX
*low priced models with prices that ranged between $15 and $50
VV-X | VV-XI (converted from tabletop to low priced floor models)
Between 1913 – 1917 – VV-XVIII ($300); VV-XVII ($250)