Thursday, December 17, 2015

The miracle of the rescued Christmas 78: "Hallelujah Chorus"--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1908.

When I placed the needle on Arthur Pryor's 12" 78 of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, the tonearm did a bunny hop over the starting grooves.  Examining the disc closely, I spotted a pronounced lip warp.  Another side for the dead disc pile. (Muted trumpet, descending in "wah wah" half steps.)

Luckily, I thought to Google for a solution to the problem, and I found it at Youtube, where I witnessed a badly warped big band 78 being flattened with a blow dryer and some gentle pressure.  A blow dryer!  I was thinking glass plates and an oven (the conventional remedy).  Something I've never tried, because someone told me the possible fumes/heat combination could be bad news.

So I plugged in Bev's blow dryer and held it over the warped area until it was nice and hot.  Then I placed a small stack of 12' 78s and some books atop the area (light pressure wouldn't do for a thick 1908 12" Victor 78), and I left it overnight.  (The Youtube video had noted that 78s retain heat for some time.)

Next morning, not expecting much in the way of results, I unearthed the disc, took it to the Media Room, and played it.  The needle tracked flawlessly.  No warp!!

I'll have to re-find that video and link to it (Youtube link).  Meanwhile, here's Arthur Pryor's Band, from 1908.  I think you'll agree it was worth the extra trouble:

Hallelujah Chorus--Arthur Pryor's Band, 1908.



Ernie said...

I'd be scared silly to try that, but if it works...

John said...

It really is a Christmas miracle! The sound is amazing. thank you for this treat. And I have a record or two that I might need to try this on.


Lee Hartsfeld said...

Ernie--Well, the disc was beyond hope, so I figured I had nothing to lose. And I already knew that 78s can survive a great deal of heat, so long as they're properly stored. (Many of mine survived several years in our attic.) The main thing was having a solid surface under the disc.

Luckily, the warp was small enough that I could pile stuff on it without the 78 going "snap!"

John--Glad you enjoyed. Yes, the sound is incredible, isn't it? I wasn't expecting that level of detail (and punch) from a 1908 Victor, but I'm not complaining!