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Silvertone Victrola phonographs are record playing devices produced by Sears, Roebuck & Co from 1915.
Background and Description
Silvertone was the brand name used by Sears, Roebuck and Co for a line of sound equipment from 1915 to 1972. The hand-cranked phonograph was the first item introduced under the Silvertone name, in 1915.
Victrola is a model of wind-up phonograph characterised by a concealed horn, first produced by the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1906. The popularity of this model lead to widespread generic use of the word ‘Victrola’ to imply any machine that played disc records. Therefore items that advertise themselves as ‘Victrolas’ are not necessarily original Victrolas as produced by the Victor Talking Machine Company, as in the case of Silvertone Victrola phonographs which are really simply Silvertone disc playing phonographs.
Silvertone phonographs came in both tabletop and freestanding models, and later, in portable carrying cases.
In the 1920s, Sears began producing Silvertone radios. Some models come with phonograph and radio built in together.
Silvertone phonographs included a small adapter that would allow the machine to play Edison and Pathe records as well as Sears records.
Sears stopped using the Silvertone brand in 1972.
Collecting Silvertone Victrola phonographs
Silvertone Victrola phonographs don’t have the same following as Victor Talking Machines, and are considered less valuable.
The style can vary hugely depending if the model was produced in the early 1920s or the late 1960s. For example, the early models housed in standing cabinets of carved wood are almost incomparable to the late portable battery operated plastic radio-phonographs. Collectors may choose to focus only on tabletop Silvertones, or only on portables ones, or Silvertone phonographs relating to one particular patent date.
Collectors may also collect Silvertone radios, with phonographs built in.
Dates stated on phonographs are likely to be the patent date, rather than the date of manufacture.
Phonographs need care and attention. Do not wind the spring too tightly, and lightly oil the mechanism regularly to keep the phonograph in good working order.
Silvertone Victrola phonographs can be found on auction websites such as eBay, at auctions, second hand and antique and vintage stores, reclamation warehouses, and at events such as flea markets and car boot sales.
Value can change dependent on the condition of the phonograph, its age, and whether it still works.
Silvertone phonographs have sold on eBay and at auction for $30 - $400.
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