Yesterday we gave away 15 cubic feet of vinyl LP’s which we rarely ever listen to. One of them was the unmemorable last work of John Lennon’s, Double Fantasy, featuring the amazingly talented genius of Yoko Ono,
SHE’S THE GENIUS ON THE LEFT
which I only purchased because John had been murdered. I might have kept this but for the fact that I get disgusted by any reminder of You Know Oh-No. To cleanse my heart we listened to side 2 of Abbey Road, and thought wistfully of what they might have come up with next, but for their tragic demise. So we mourned the Beatles all over again, but were grateful that at 50 years old, this now ancient LP still has the magic. Among the treasures we discovered while sorting through the collection was another LP, which shall go down in history alongside the opening scenes of the TV show Mission Impossible. From 1973, I give you:
Hear How to TOUCH TYPE
I should mention that just like many Beatles albums, this LP came with bonus goodies, in this case a free Webster XL747 typewriter!
the Webster Guarantee
Now that was almost as good as the poster than came inside the White Album!
Eaton’s 703 portable phonograph
Last year I missed out on a wonderful old German portable phonograph I saw in a thrift shop but didn’t buy. See that post here.
When I saw this old suitcase phonograph the other day I grabbed it. It worked poorly at first but I was able to remove the stuck platter and clean off the old grease, lubricate it and get it going. It has a BSR automatic turntable which was very common, and there are many videos about fixing them. The amplifier, a mono unit with one vacuum tube, puts out a decent sound through a very small speaker. These units generally had ceramic phono cartridges which although not hi-fi were good enough for their purpose. Here is a video demonstration using one of my old LP’s with the Beatles classic No Reply, from Beatles 65, featuring evocative vocals by John Lennon. The sound, although poor by modern standards, is still thrilling and I even enjoyed the 60 cycle hum!
I have no idea who manufactured this unit, but it was sold by Eaton’s, and made in Canada. It could be an Electrohome, or perhaps RCA Victor.
Anyone have 16 rpm records?
The wiring is stereo but only two wires are connected to the amplifier, and the cartridge is mono too. It has a dual needle stylus type ST8, which is still available, and plays 78’s too.
Yesterday I printed a 10 page manual for my guitar amp, downloaded of course since I didn’t have the original. I went to staple it together with my trusty VICTOR stapler, but that failed miserably. Later on I was passing the office junk aisle in a thrift shop (where else) and spotted this old stapler for $4. It looked rugged, my foremost criterion for a stapler, so I purchased it in the hope it would blasted through 10 pages like “butta”. It didn’t disappoint! I began to wonder how old it was. I was shocked to discover, through circuitous web searching, that the basic design dates from 1936!
One other reason to like this stapler is how well it matches old Smith Coronas, dull greyish crinkle paint and all.
Smith Corona Silent Super 1955 – script type
Here’s a US Patent drawing for the same stapler from 1939, filed 1937. This fellow Maynard filed a whole lot of patents, many for staplers, but lots of other stuff. It wouldn’t surprise me if he even designed a typewriter…
Here’s a side view of mine. Dig the background – a vintage George Shearing LP cover. The record itself was awful, but we generally like most of Shearing’s stuff.
The other old item I acquired yesterday was a pink depression glass plate, $2. Someone out there who knows more than I do says this is Federal Windsor button & cane design. Beats me, I like the colour!
pink depression glass plate
Last night I served myself a Peek Frean tea biscuit on this plate, with a beer. Both were delicious!
Today was 50% off at local Sal Army stores. It was also my birthday. After having my right leg adjusted in the morning by my physio, I felt great! Does existence get any more meaningful than this? Suffice to say that it gets even better, because after my haul of half priced treasures I baked a pear upside down cake and filled, yes filled the frig with beer for tonight’s party. I will no doubt brag about how I found a 2016 Classic Car Calendar for 25 cents (it’s hanging on the wall now – this month features the original Corvette) in with the LP’s. The only thing to top that was two packs of Uniball pen refills, 4 in all, for 50 cents. Not to forget a classic LP on the Vocalion label; Manny Albam and his Jazz Greats, playing hits from West Side Story. The surface was very noisy but a good wet coat of record cleaner helped. Wetting the playing surface of old scratchy LP’s reduces the crackles significantly.
If you prefer birds, here are a few pics from yesterday:
And before you go – just another reminder about the free ebook giveaway! My novel is free for a couple more days. Just a few clicks away….
Above we have a Stellar’s Jay, an Angry Sparrow, a Common Merganser, and yet another Pileated Woodpecker. Just in the past few days these big Woody’s seem to have invaded the woods nearby. There were two of them on this tree.
When the price of LP’s hits 25 cents I don’t mind wasting a quarter on a wild purchase. Thus I acquired an LP by Axel Stordahl, The Lure of the Blue Mediterranean, dating from 1959. Available on itunes now:
I really did get it for the jacket/sleeve/cover/inside pages. It’s one of those LP’s that was sold as a concept, complete with a rather long essay, and a photo spread across a substantial number of pages. It sort of reminded me of Magical Mystery Tour, but for my parents generation. Is it possible the Beatles saw this album and copied the idea?
Stordahl was Sinatra’s band leader in the late forties. To my pleasant surprise, the album is good. The orchestra is excellent, and the sings are interesting and varied. Much better than “elevator” music for sure. And, to top it all off, I discovered a reference to a typewriter inside. The author of the essay was a writer named Horace Sutton. It seem he traveled a lot, and carried with him a Hermes portable. That made it worth 25 cents, for sure.
As for the songs, well, they include Night in Tunisia. Dizzy Gillespie, what could be cooler?
1. Majorca. Isle Of Love
2. Isle Of Capri (much better than Sinatra)
3. Tunis, Ports Of Call: Escales
5. Red Sails In The Sunset
7. Autumn In Rome: From Ost By Alessandro Cicognini
9. Palermo, Ports Of Call: Escales
10. Off Shore
11. Riviera Pavanne
12. A Night In Tunisia
he carried a Hermes, and typed on planes
it seems he wasn’t enamored of the French
Beatles For Sale LP
The only LP in history that could surpass this would be another Beatles, but I have my doubts.
my homemade bagels (not for sale really)
These bagels are surpassed by Montreal bagels fresh from the brick oven, barely.
36 years and 99 cents = puzzle solved
Autograph of Luciano Pavarotti c. 1978