Pictures, Video & Text courtesy of Carsten Fischer


Click on pictures above to see this changer in operation.
 If the video does not play full length, right-mouse click "Save target as", save file on your computer, and start movie file there.


Many thanks to Gib Epling of West-Tech Services for providing pictures and video of this fascinating changer.

Movie Sightings

1938 BRINGING UP BABY by Howard Hawks with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant

In this famous screwball comedy, Hepburn plays "I can't give you anything but love" to pacify her angry pet leopard on a portable GI changer.



  The General Industries "Slasher" Changer

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 1931.

Few people had the money or the interest to buy expensive record changer in the midst of the great depression, therefore simplified designs were required, and no one better than General Industries could provide the absolute lowest in record changers.

And again steps on the scene Mr. Homer Capehart, arguably the greatest talent scout for record changers. Not only did he discover the famous
CAPEHART changer, lying forgotten at US Columbia. After his quick ouster from his own Capehart Company, he found the famous Wurlitzer Simplex mechanism, and joined that company as their head of sales. The story goes, while he was approaching Wurlitzer, Capehart also held the rights to the General Industries changer, but Wurlitzer wanted a selective jukebox mechanism, not just a changer.

The General Industries K changer (10" only) or L17 changer (10" or 12") is the most simplistic, cheapest and fastest changer possible. It was very successful and produced from 1932 to at least 1939. Used by major brands, like Philco, Sparton and Scott, as well as sold as a portable player by the Liberty Music Shop of New York, this changer is found in many consoles from the 1930s.

The design is very similar to the contemporary RCA 15U changer, which also played a stack from the top to the bottom, but used a more gentle version of a transfer arm grabbing the spindle hole of the topmost record.

The changer works by having a stack of records sitting on the turntable. When tripped, a knife edged "Slasher" goes under the rim of the top record, and throws it off the spindle. The mechanism is adjusted in a way that the slasher misses the last record. Therefore, the last record on the changer repeats indefinitely,

The linkages you see in the picture is all there is to the whole changer: While all other changers had a geared cam that would run slower than the turntable, here the half circle disc on the spindle is the cam. That means that the whole cycle takes one-half rotation of the spindle, or something less than .5 seconds!

During the cycle, the tone arm is thrown out by the single lever, but a dashpot ensure that the tonearm comes down with a time delay and gently.

It is notable that this is one of the first changers that abandons the "constant VTA" principle, which means that only one record is on the platter at any time. Even though we may think that constant VTA (a term used for stereo LPs) was on the mind of the designers, the challenge was not so much the varying tone arm angle, but that with the heavy pick-ups the top disc may slip and not play correctly. This problem continued through all later drop changers, until the light-weight tonearm became established. It is not rare to find records of the period with a "no slip" velvet ring pasted on the label.

The GI changer (as did the RCA 15U) avoided slippage by having a small tension spring along the spindle, which held the records securely.

Even though the GI "Slasher" changer is very disturbing to watch, it actually works quite reliably, was cheap and available. The record rims may have suffered from the knife edge, but then all other drop changers of the 1930s employed separator knives which would chip records.


Maker General Industries
Model K
Year 1932 - 1939
Owner Gib Epling
Repaired/Serviced by Gib Epling

I am always interested to hear about other machines.

You can reach me at:

 sgimips1 "at" (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
West-Tech Services
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 these pages.
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 fascinating changers with video clips


Also check out Robert Baumbach's great site of Old Record Changers: