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Needles


Victor needles are typically made of steel, and there is one important rule: USE A STEEL NEEDLE ONLY ONCE and then throw it away. They will ruin your records if used more than once. There is a strong abrasive in the old 78 RPM records which, by design, wears the needle, and consequently, saves the record from wearing out. (Needles are cheaper than records!). However, if you reuse a worn needle, you will quickly cut into the groove surfaces and ruin the record. This was true in 1910, and it is still true today. Steel needles are readily available from many sources, including the service companies listed in the SUPPLIERS section. They are usually available in loud and soft tone versions. Call them for prices and availability.

Years ago, some needles were produced from Fiber or Tungsten materials. Victor manufactured a multi-play "Tungstone" needle in the late 'teens and early 20's. These needles lasted for many playings without the need for constant replacement of the needle. These still show up at auctions and on Ebay in their original small tin containers. They consist of a steel shank with a small "point" protruding from one end. This point is made of a tungsten alloy, which is much softer than the grooves of records. A Tungstone needle may be used to play as many records as you wish until it ceases working (at which time it is worn out and should no longer be visible as a small protrusion from the shank).

In addition, soft wood-like fiber needles were also available from Victor in the heyday of the Victrola, giving a very subdued sound. These dulled very quickly, but could be resharpened by using a small "chisel" cutter kit. To my knowledge, only steel needles are being manufactured at present. There are no current manufacturers of either fiber of Tungstone needles.

 

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