Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, Universal Talking Machine Company,
makers of the Zonophone, opened a European branch office called the International
Zonophone Company, based in Berlin. Using motors and reproducers manufactured in
the United States by Universal, with cabinets and horns made in Europe, these Zonophones
were produced in a fascinating variety of styles that were sold in England, France,
Italy, and Germany. The red-painted horn interior was something of a hallmark of
This rare version is somewhat reminiscent of the American-made Type C, with the same motor and a similarly-designed cabinet -- except that it was made with a very tall base to accommodate a deep coin-drawer. A large cast iron coin mechanism is mounted on the side, with instructions cast directly into the metal. This particular machine was sold in France, and is marked as having been imported from the International Zonophone Co.
As with the better-known coin-operated Berliner Gramophone, the patron was expected to do much more work than was required by coin-operated cylinder phonographs. Selecting the record, changing the needle, and placing the needle into the groove were all done manually. The motor has a simple yet very ingenious coin-operated modification. When a 10-centime coin is inserted in the slot and the plunger pressed down, the governor is released so that the motor can run. A timing gear allows the machine to run just enough revolutions to play an average 7" record before tripping the governor lock, stopping the machine.
The coin mechanism is cast with instructions in French: "Change the needle / Wind the machine / Insert 10 centimes / And press the button. // International Zonophone Co. / Société Française du Zonophone Américain // Imported".
This German catalog listing shows an alternate variation of the same machine, with coin mechanism on the opposite side and no fancy legs. Although the text of the ad is in German, the instructions on the machine pictured in the engraving are English. These machines were popular throughout Europe.
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