Edison, Diamond Disc Model C-250 Phonograph

An Edison Diamond Disc Model C-250, a mahogany "laboratory" model

p4A ItemID A063651
An Edison Model C-250 upright Diamond Disc Phonograph in mahogany case with lower record compartment containing approximately sixty discs

p4A ItemID C206930

The Edison Diamond Disc Model C-250 Phonograph

Manufacture of the Diamond Disc started around 1912. Edison’s cylinder model phonographs stopped selling and customers were switching over to 78 r.p.m. players. Edison, who was always different, came out with the Diamond Disc models which had a unique format, they played at 80 r.p.m. They also had a diamond for a needle. Needles on 78 r.p.m.s had to be replaced every one or two plays. Edison’s diamond disc were permanant like his cylinder players. The records were much thicker, about a quarter of an inch. This really stopped Edison from capturing much of the market as his records could not be played on 78 players.

The Edison Diamond Disc Model C-250 phonograph is called the “Official Laboratory Model”, but because of its looks and name, collectors call it the “Frankenstien”. It was first introduced in December, 1915 just in time for the holidays. The selling price ranged from $250.00 to $265.00. The metal parts under the lid were all gold plated. The “Chippendale” cabinet was available in both mahogany and oak and had an upper Gothic style grill and lift top. The phonograph was also available in William and Mary, Jacobean, Sheraton, and Hepplewhite style cabinets. Some of the record storage cupboards were fitted with pull-out drawers and some with vertical slots. It was 51″ high by 21″ wide and 22″ deep.

The Edison Diamond Disc was unlike the Victor or Columbia phonographs in that it utilized a diamond needle reproducer (like the Standard Cylinder) which was considered a higher quality reproducer. The Diamond Discs were completely unlike standard disks in their method of recording and could not be played by conventional phonographs, nor could conventional records be played by the diamond reproducer. An attachment was created for machines like this one so that the same unit could be made to play either kind of record. Though the diamond needles lasted for many playings, this format never caught the attention of the market like the steel needle record players.


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