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Victrola In Wood Veneers And Finishes

Early Victor and Victrola models were launched in a huge variety of woods and finishes. While the earliest Victor models were solely available in oak, the company also introduced a few models that came with mahogany cabinets.

In 1906, Victrola debuted and became available in choice of light or dark hues of red mahogany. Over time, more and more Victrolas came in various veneers and finishes in order to satisfy varying tastes. These include models in plain and cheap finish, elaborate and costly finish, burled woods, elaborate inlaid sections, rare and exotic finish and other custom “Period” models.

Mahogany Finishes

Among all the finishes on Victrolas, Mahogany is deemed as the most common. It is easily identified with its fairly linear parallel grain pattern. The dark areas of the grain are usually straight and wild with varying width along the grain line. Newly built models had a glass-smooth finish which usually turn dark and rough to touch with age. Majority of the early Victrolas were manufactured in Red Mahogany that came in either light or dark shades. When Victor launched English Brown Mahogany in 1913, it quickly became so popular that by the early 1920s, it was considered even more popular than Red Mahogany.

Oak Finishes

A number of Oak finishes were launched over the years which came in various shades and colors. These include Weathered Oak, Antique Oak, Early English Oak, Driftwood Oak, Gunmetal Oak, Golden Oak, Fumed Oak, and Flemish Oak. Oak can be easily identified with its “tiger-stripe” grain pattern and was more commonly used on the smaller machines as well as on external-horn Victors.

Walnut Finishes

There were two different walnut finishes for the Victrolas. The first is known as American Walnut which became available at no extra cost on cheaper models after 1918. The second is known as Circassian Walnut which was made available as an extra cost option on a number of costly floor models of Victrola.

Other Wood Finishes

A few models had a painted finish while some came in spectacular custom finishes which were very costly. Some examples are the children’s phonographs (VV 1-2) which were cheap and had simple storybook characters; Vernis-Martin which had a rich gold finish with hand-painted decorations; Japanese Lacquer and other ornate design finishes.

There were also a number of aftermarket services that existed in the 1920s which turned a common Victrola into an upgraded version that came with a reworked or a fancy painted finish. Over the years, a number of custom wood veneers and finishes were also made available. These include Mother-Of-Pearl, Teak, Ebony, and Rosewood.


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