1920s: West 108th Street and Broadway
This neighborhood as muse never fails to delight me.
In my noodlings, I found this picture of the southwest corner of 108th Street and Broadway, circa 1910-20, with Emanuel Blout's Victor Talking Machine store firmly anchoring the corner. One could easily spend a whole day off of work (ahem) doing a deep dive into the lore of the Victor and Victrola, and investigating the robust collectors network, too.
There's a charming, if wonky, FAQ on the Victor-Victrola Page where I learned the difference between the two: "A 'Victor' is a phonograph with the horn mounted externally. A 'Victrola' has an internal horn, often with doors in front that open and close to control the volume. Both are products of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Victors were made in the 1901 until the early 20's. Victrolas were made from 1906 up through 1929, when RCA bought the company and became 'RCA Victor'."
If you have one taking space up in your home, values can be anywhere from $500-3000 and on up to $10,000 for the rarest of the rare.
Don't get me started on the demise of vinyl and rise of streaming music. For today, I just want to think about my phonograph fetish and imagine walking into E. Blout's to browse his beautiful machines. Scroll down for my lagniappe for anyone wondering how it sounds (if you are reading this in an email click the blog post title to stream the video).