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The VV-IV or "Victrola the Fourth" was Victor's first economical internal-horn tabletop "Victrola" model. Its introduction in the spring of 1911 was concurrent with the launch of a wide lineup of newly-designed machines, which included models such as the VV-X and VV-IX. During its 13 year production run, it became Victor's #3 top-selling model of all time. This little phonograph made a Victrola affordable to buyers who, only a few years earlier, could never dream of owning a talking machine. In addition, it made for a popular Christmas gift for children whose parents had the financial means to purchase this type of  product. Originally selling for just $15.00 new (which equates to $400.00 in today's money), it was a very simple and basic machine, but could produce an impressive sound quality for the era.
The IV underwent several design iterations during its lifespan. A total of more than 590,000 VV-IV machines were produced between 1911 and 1924.
Since there were four basic variations of the VV-IV model, they will be split into major chronological groupings. A detailed breakdown of serial number vs. year produced can be found at the bottom of the page.

Iteration One: "Metal Grille" Cabinet (1911-1912)
The VV-IV phonograph was introduced during the summer of 1911, and featured a very basic single-spring motor, nickel plated hardware and Victor's "No. 15" soundbox, which was similar to the popular "Exhibition" version, but with a shrouded housing which protected the fragile mica diaphragm. This indicates that Victor may have originally intended the IV to be primarily used by younger listeners (e.g. as a gift to children). A small, but well-made, solid oak cabinet was used. These cabinets, as was the case for all VV-IV and VV-VI models, were made by outside suppliers; assembly of the mechanical components was completed at the Victor plant in Camden, NJ.
The first iteration used a stamped metal grille to cover the horn opening, which served to hide the motor and mechanical components inside. Sound was routed directly from the tonearm through a crude wood baffle to the horn opening.
Production of this design iteration likely ended late in the year. While these early versions are not considered to be "rare", they do garner more slightly more collector interest than the later designs. Based on the serial numbers of surviving examples, approximately 12,000 of these machines were made.

Iteration Two:  Cabinet with 5 "slats" in horn opening (1912-1917)
The IV was moderately redesigned in early 1912, with a slightly smaller cabinet and downward-facing wood slats replacing the metal grill in the horn opening. These Victrolas will have an "A", "B", "C", "D", or "E" suffix letter after the serial number, indicating small upgrades to the motor and/or mechanical components.  The 'flat-shank' winding key (crank) as seen at left was replaced with a round-shank version in 1914. Approximately 315,000 copies of this variation were produced. Due to the large volume that were originally produced, later-versions of the VV-IV (and many similar low-cost Victrola models) are typically ignored by collectors today, unless in exceptional original condition. They are simply too basic in design, and far too many were produced to be considered 'collectible' in the current market.

Iteration Three: Hollow-horn opening (1917-1918)
The cabinet was modified again in 1917, and the wood slats were removed. Sound was now directed from the tonearm through a small cast-iron horn "neck" to the horn opening, which no longer used wood slats. These machines will have an "A" suffix after the model number (e.g. VV-IV-A). Approximately 86,000 copies of this variation were produced.

Iteration Four: Cabinet with 3 slats in horn opening (1918-1924)
The final version of the VV-IV was launched in 1920, now with three upward-facing wood slats in the horn opening. Production of this design ran until the spring of 1924. Victor ultimately produced more of these models than could be sold at list price.  Due to this overproduction, it is quite likely that many late-production VV-IV machines were sold during Victor's well-advertised "half-price" sale during the summer of 1925. Per Robert Baumbach's "Victor Data Book", shipping summaries indicate that these models were still being shipped from the factory throughout all of 1926; by that time, it is likely that many were heading to overseas markets.


The survival database currently shows the earliest existent VV-IV to be S/N 751 and the latest to be S/N 629252.

Please note that several large blocks of serial numbers were likely skipped in production; therefore the total number produced and the highest serial number will not be correlated for this model!

Manufacture Date Approximate Serial Number Range Feature Notes
1911 501-20000 Stamped Steel Horn Grille ends around S/N 12000, then replaced by conventional wooden slats.  Flat Crank Shank. Speed control located on rear of motorboard. Early examples use a Victor "No 15" soundbox.
1912 20000-75000 Some machines have an A or B suffix
1913 75000-112000 B suffix until replaced by C suffix very late in year
1914 112000-163500 C, D or E suffix used. Use of round crank shank begins around S/N 160700
1915 163500-215000 E suffix 
1916 215000-290000 E suffix. Some machines use "IV-" as model designation after mid year
1917 290000-380000 E suffix early in year. IV-A* designation used after mid-year (around S/N 328000). Slatless ("hollow") horn opening on late year machines.
1918 380000-434000  Three horn slats return on machines made after mid-year (around S/N 400000)
1919 434000-463000 IV-A* designation discontinued early in year (around S/N 440000)
1920 463000-499000  
1921 499000-520000  
1922 520000-560000  
1923 560000-600000  
1924 600000-630000 Note that many large blocks of serial numbers were likely skipped during production.

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