This gorgeous little phonograph was made in 1900 by Pathé Freres, the leading French manufacturer, exclusively for the Parisian firm of J. Girard & Cie. (Shortly afterward Pathé made the same style machine without a wooden cabinet and sold it under their own brand as the "Gaulois," in a variety of colors.) While many French manufacturers copied Columbia designs (see "Ideal No. 3"), this is one of the few that was based on an Edison phonograph. The cast iron body is an obvious copy of the Edison Gem Model A. However, the reproducer carriage, reproducer, and unusual glass horn are uniquely Pathé. As marketed by Girard, this variation of the "Gaulois" was called "Le Menestrel" and came with a very unusual and elaborate wooden case. Shortly later the case was redesigned with a rounded lid as found on most phonographs, and later still "Le Menestrel" was completely redesigned with an elaborate metal case and lid, and sold with an aluminum horn. The earliest "Le Menestrel," as seen here, was painted dark blue and featured a glass horn made of hand-blown crystal. Very few of these extremely fragile horns have survived the past century and they are exceedingly rare today. Whether the material gives a more ringing tone than the usual metal horns is arguable, but its stunning beauty is unrivalled!
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