The 1930s were the dark age of
the record changer: The general lack of money due to the
great depression, but also a shift away from records towards
the radio led cost saving and design simplification for
record changers that eventually led to the prevailing drop
changer design by the mid-1930s.
As an illustration on how bad
things were, Victor record sales from a high of 38 Million
in 1927 had dropped to an all-time low of 3.1 million in
Electromatic of Chicago seems to
have been an independent company or associated with the
Majestic Radio Company. The Swinging Magazine Changer was
produced from 1931 to at least 1934. It was mostly used in
Majestic Radio consoles, but also turns up (rarely) in Scott
radios. The example above is a rare portable model of the
changer with the original horseshoe magnetic pick-up.
The Electromatic changer uses a
swinging magazine, whereby the bottom record is pulled out
by the turntable spindle and gently deposited on the
turntable. It is much gentler than contemporary drop
changers, as no damaging separator knives are involved, and
the record slides down more than that it drops.
An additional indication of
design simplification is that the Electromatic changer will
not stop after the last record, but just repeat until shut
This design is very similar to the 1931 RCA RE-73 (the
Victor III changer), with the difference that the RCA would
lift and re-deposit the record back into the magazine. Both
changers could only play 10" records in automatic mode
(below is a picture of an RCA RAE-84 Model.)
While drop changers had
been around as early as 1928 (a Sparton proprietary design
with throw-off finger), it took the depression and the need
for cheaper and space saving designs to bring about the drop
changer as the main modus for record changers.
|1931 - 1934
I am always interested
to hear about other machines.
You can reach me at:
sgimips1 "at" yahoo.com (replace "at" with @)
Many thanks to Gib
Epling for providing photos and the video of his machine,
and Fred Rice for providing detail information.
Please check out Gib's
Gib provides expert repair and
rebuilding services for all record players and changers.
Also many thanks to Robert Baumbach for editing and
preparing the video.
Again my great
thanks to Chuck Azzalina for his great help in creating
Pleases check out his
other web pages
with even more fascinating early audio and TV tube
electronics. One level above this page, you can find more
changers with video clips.
MORE VIDEOS and LINKS
Also check out Robert
Baumbach's great site of Old Record Changers: