Care of Edison Diamond Reproducers

By Peter Fraser

Purple Line

Q: On my Edison Amberola, it would appear that the needle is worn down to a nub and is not easily replaceable (there is no finger screw like a Victrola).

A: Well, be very careful - before you try anything, here's some facts for you:
  1. You have an Edison Diamond A, B, C or D reproducer - the stylus is a diamond, and isn't meant to be replaced. It can appear to be "worn down" but can still be completely functional. Replacements are available, but are somewhat costly, and should probably be installed by a professional as part of a complete rebuild of the reproducer.

  2. To test the condition of the stylus, play an Edison Blue Amberol record (Blue material with plaster core) that's in good condition. Do you hear any echo? If so, the stylus is probably bad. Do you see any "dust" on the record surface after playing? If so, bad. Now "play" a blank portion of the record, while watching the record surface under bright light. If you see any scribing by the stylus as it runs across the surface, bad!

  3. If you remove the reproducer, be careful not to knock the stylus against anything - the diamond chips easily. For the same reason, don't play poor-condition records.

  4. The diaphragm, made of laminated rice paper, should be attached to the long end of the stylus bar (crucifix-shaped) by a string loop to its center.

  5. You can ONLY play Edison Blue Amberol records on this machine. Anything else will be damaged by it. The records will range in color from light Blue to an almost black dark Blue. The beveled end will state the song artist and title, and will always say "Edison" on it. And, there will ALWAYS be a plaster core inside the record. If one or more of the above isn't there, don't risk it!

  6. Lastly, when the play lever is moved to the "up" position, the stylus should easily clear the record surface. Often they don't, so watch very carefully as you slowly slide the record onto the mandrel. Also, when the record is being played, you should see the weight-retaining pin floating in the approximate center of its u-shaped retaining loop. Look at the thing carefully and you should be able to figure out what I'm saying here.
- Peter Fraser
Purple Line

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