Antique Phonograph

This is one of three antique phonograph players I spotted recently that were part of the decor at a restaurant in Jeddah. All three are in immaculate condition, which makes me wonder if they are actually replicas or the genuine thing. One of them has a round wood base, plus the RCA logo image of the cute dog listening to the music. Each also had a vinyl record on the spinner, but I didn’t have a chance to take a closer look, so I’m not sure if they were 33s or LPs. At any rate, they make for a gorgeous display. I thought it was rather strange though to have such a display, when many people in the Kingdom believe that music is forbidden in Islam.


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
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10 Responses to Antique Phonograph

  1. suzy says:

    where can i find one in jeddah?

  2. Devin says:

    I’m quite sure that this phonograph was made recently. That is, it is not an antique, nor is it a ‘reproduction’ of an antique. A ‘reproduction,’ per se, is a recent copy of an actual antique. There are no antique phonographs like this one. In the antique business this sort of thing is known as a “fake.” This one and the one that you described with the round base were probably made in India within the last 10 years. As for the records — these machines (the recent Indian creations as well as genuine antique phonographs) were designed to play 78rpm records. The terms “33” and “LP” refer to the same item. The machine above uses a thick needle and plays at 78rpm — it would destroy a 33-1/3rpm LP record. The records that you saw on those players were most likely a 10-inch shellac 78rpm. They are not made of vinyl — 33 and 45 rpms are. In the US 78s were produced from the late 1890s through about 1960. The long-playing (LP) 33-1/3rpm microgroove record went into production in 1948. They are still produced today on a limited basis.

    I hope I don’t come across as a snotty know-it-all — I don’t mean to. I’m aware that most people don’t know this stuff.

    • Thank you so much, Devin. I really appreciate your expert opinion. I certainly don’t know anything about it, just that I think it’s beautiful and charming. I don’t see things like this very often, so I guess I just naturally assume that it would be antique, when in fact it very well may not be. Not snotty at all!

  3. Carver says:

    That’s a beautiful old phonograph. The base is so elegant, and looks like an ornate box.

  4. Hi Geogypsy – All the contradictions make it a very difficult place to understand!

    Hi Jacob – The three of them were all pretty ornate. I also have seen two antique phonographs inside homes here too. They were both obviously used quite a bit but still in great condition!

    Hi Jerry – The Arab culture is very artistic and appreciative of art. However some religious clerics have interpreted parts of the religion to say that music is forbidden, while others have said No, it is fine. Still others have said that only certain musical instruments are ok to play or listen to. Reciting of the Koran is often sung – a man’s voice singing the Koran is permitted. Female voices are not supposed to be heard by unrelated men! It is all very confusing and very difficult to understand – and many things here are very contradictory.

  5. Jerry M says:

    (Aren’t Koranic recitations a form of chant?)

  6. Jerry M says:

    I hope someone here can enlighten me.

    Given the love of poetry in Arab culture and the fact the poetry in traditional cultures in usually accompanied with some kind of musical instrument, how can there be a ban on music? (Aren’t Koranic recitations certainly are a form of chant?)

  7. Jerry M says:

    I’ve seen ornate phonographs but usually they were free standing. I could be wrong but this looks like it might be a reproduction.

  8. Jacob says:

    I do remember those phonographs, but I’ve never seen anything this ornate. Fascinating!

  9. Geogypsy says:

    It’s a beautiful phonograph. And yet another contradiction. What a world you live in Susie.

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