Period Victrola Models: Louis XV
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Period Victrolas were semi-custom models featuring Victor's best designs, veneers and craftsmanship. These expensive, special-order phonographs were first introduced as upright-only styles in late 1917, and were continued through 1924. Production volumes were very limited, and manufacture was totally curtailed during World War I. These machines used names of period furniture designers or styles, typically dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, along with a designator number to indicate slight variations in design. For example, the Adam Period Victrolas (named after architect James Adam) were originally sold in 6 design variations, starting with "Adam No. 0" through "Adam No. 5". The serial number (serialization for each model variation began at 501) follows the model designation. Some variations were discontinued or changed during the production run. In 1920, Victor introduced "console" style Period Victrolas as an addition to the upright Period product line, with similar nomenclature. The console models are much larger overall, with a horizontal design theme, as opposed to the vertically designed upright machines. Console models are typically designed as a "Type 500" or "501" on the dataplate. As with the standard Victrola models, Period Victrolas were produced in both hand-wound and electric (VE) versions. Prices ranged from $300 to well over $750 depending on finish and model. It is estimated that no more than 50 of each design variation (e.g. Adam No. 5) were produced for each, and it is possible that not all variations which appeared in the catalogs were actually produced. These are amongst the rarest and most valuable Victrolas; however, the simpler examples will not typically command top prices, as they are often very similar in design to standard production models. These Victrolas did not sell well, and were highly discounted in the middle 1920's. Surviving documentation implies that most were actually sold when prices were reduced.
Louis XV. The Louis XV was one of the most expensive Period Models, with "Bombe" swelling surfaces and complex 3-dimensional curves. It was named after King Louis XV of France (1715-1774), and utilized a strong French Influence in the design. Only one model variation (No. 0) is known to have been produced as an upright design. This model came standard in a mahogany finish, with antique gold mounts, at a price of $750.00. The example shown in the photograph (right) was produced with an optional Vernis-Martin finish, and is estimated to have sold for well over $1000.00 new, making it one of the most expensive upright Period Models sold.
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