The Victor-Victrola Page
What about needles? Which should I use? I found a bunch of them inside my Victrola.
ANSWER: Victor and Victrolas Victrolas were designed to use steel needles. They were usually available in loud, medium and soft tone versions, which would vary the playing volume. Steel needles should be used only once (one side of one record) to avoid excessive wear of the record, so it is likely that the needles you have found rolling around inside your phonograph have already been used. They should be trashed. Used needles have no value whatsoever, so get rid of them! This would not be the case if the needles are still in a sealed packet; those can be used without issue. New steel needles are still readily available from a number of sources (see our NEEDLES page), and they are not expensive.
Victor manufactured a multi-play Tungstone needle in the late 'teens and early 1920's. These needles lasted for many playings without replacement. They were usually sold in "push-out" cardboard packs or in tins. In addition, soft fiber needles were also available from Victor, giving a very subdued sound. To our knowledge, only steel needles are being manufactured at present. We know of no current manufacturers of either fiber of Tungstone needles.
For Victrola machines, needles should be stored in the little "cups" along the side of the motorboard (picture on left) Loud needles in one cup, soft needles in the other and the center cup is where the used needles should be placed. When the center cup fills-up with used needles, you dump them in the trashcan. The metal needle disposal cup (center position) is often still found in many Victrolas. It is humorous to note that many EBay sellers seem to take great pride in the fact that their phonograph has 5 needles still sitting in the cup, and that this somehow adds "value" to the machine. First, they cost about 2 cents each, and second, they have probably already been used 20 times, and belong in the trash can. The "slots" in the back of the needle cups (on later-vintage machines) were used to hold the Tungstone needle tins.
External-horn Victors do not have needle cups.
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