A stunning example of this most beautiful of machines in a long-plate version, dating this has proven to be quite problematic, for despite a rather informative site here the information is often conflicting. The serial number of 544087 indicates it was manufactured between 1875 & 1896, but these dates are far too early for a Model 'E', which ran from 1919 to 1939; the seller and distributor plaques advertise Quitman at the 350-356 Old Street address, dating it 1884-1919, so only the year of 1919 is common between the two ranges, but such a high serial number would be unlikely for the first year. However, Quitman was actually established in 1884, so whilst they might have imported and hoarded stock, only releasing it in small ranges, it would have been uneconomical to do so, especially given the high price of these machines (even in the mid 1950s they cost about 5 weeks' wages). Another very faint possibility is that if a '1' had been left off the front of the serial number, thus placing it in the 1914-1920 date range, and so just overlapping with the 1919 start of the E, but is this missing digit likely? However old this turns out to be, both the machine and the wooden case it came with were looked after incredibly well by the previous owner(s), or perhaps barely used and merely stored away, for there are absolutely no scratches on the ruler scales from the sliding metal plate needed to access the shuttle beneath, and the decal below the inverted 'U' of the forward bobbin holder is not damaged.
A unit with two combs for a richer and more complex sound, it is number 331432 and came with two dozen disks that play a wide variety of tunes.
A very large cylinder (12¾″ long by 2″ diameter) allows lengthy playing for each of the six tunes, though they sound much better with the zither attachment left empty and lifted out of the way.
This is 2349 from a limited edition of 2500 made for The Franklin Mint, playing 10 very short extracts of Vienna waltzes by Johannes Strauss. Although cylinders can easily be changed, the mechanism isn't very complicated as there is no sideways shift, and each tune only lasts half a rotation; as can be seen, there are not many notes anyway. Slight damage to two corners was from the original owner, though all of the marquetry is still in pristine condition.
Purchased new at a significant discount when the retail price was £770, this model 37238 (serial 21617) has a 3/72 movement (3 selections of music with 72 pins across the comb), and plays extracts by Handel (2 Watermusic, 1 Fireworks). Each tune plays for a full rotation before the cylinders shifts sideways ready for the next.
A rather 'heavy' looking Art Deco design, with both the case and particularly the removable glass scale being in mint condition, though the inside is a bit grubby, with all original components and extremely sensitive reception.
This radio (which has the same circuit as its companion A121) was the nearest to being BNIB for such an old device, as it was stored unused for decades by the original owner before being slowly brought back to life through a variac prior to sale; it covers almost the same MW/LW/SW ranges as the Philips.
A Super Sovereign (12V only version) in near-mint condition, with all of the sliding station markers intact, and perfect grilles both front and back; it is number 01974 of about 8000 made, and along with its mains counterpart the RP75MB their only model to cover LW, MW, FM, & SW. It also has an accompanying mains power unit, model VP408, #12265, which though very discoloured still works perfectly.
Two different desk-top models almost dwarfing a smaller hand-held lamp.
Two complete dressing-table sets with different variations of a 'sunburst' design, the second group is particularly dark and bright under UV light; and a bowl and vase with a frosted finish.
A Bohn Contex (possibly an early example before they were branded as "Contex-10") c1957, a pair of Model-Bs from the early 1960s, and a pair of Model As from a decade or so earlier.
Schubert-Rastatt Model ADM, mid 1960s, in mint condition; and another that had a battered case so was removed to show the pinwheel mechanism.
A pair of Canon desktops with Nixie tubes and reed-switch keypads, c1971.
A Felt & Tarrant Comptometer from 1928, whose only signs of wear are crescent-shaped scratches in some of the key-tops from user's nails.
An original toy purchased in 1969 for me by my parents from a shop in the High Street during an early childhood holiday to Royal Tonbridge Wells, this is only slightly tarnished, and still with its thin cardboard box.
The pair of '3D' lenticular / prismatic postcards that were sold during the original showing of the film 2001 - A Space Odyssey, these were rather crudely made to begin with but have been kept in perfect condition; also, front and back pages of the brochure which is also in mint condition.