Return to Part 2 of RECORD CHANGERS.

Advance to Part 4 of RECORD CHANGERS.


The next year, 1951, stuff started getting sorted out. Engineers took to the task and came up with some remarkably sound solutions:

  • Garrard (UK) produced their RC-80, a rim-push-type changer with 3 speeds and adjustable to 3 record sizes. It used the same pusher shelf Garrard used for years, and an index arm told it when there were no records left (but the shelf set the record size). It also had a fat slicer spindle that replaced the standard spindle for playing 45s. They went right from single-speed to this 3-speed unit. This record changer, like their previous record changers, had no safety drive in the mechanism that swings the arm out. If the arm is blocked during the change cycle, damage can occur. Also, it was impossible to pick up the arm and put it on the rest post after the changer placed it on the record. It would not let the arm move out past the rim of the record. That's why many early Garrards had a manual control that released control of the arm to the user. All early Garrards also required you to remove the spindle to remove the records from the turntable.

    Within two years, Garrard had other versions of the RC-80 ready, the RC-75 budget changer, and the RC-90 audiophile changer.

  • Webster (US) introduced its 100, an overarm changer with an index arm. It could take 12", 10", and 7" records in the same stack, provided the larger records were put on before the smaller records. Early versions required "spider" inserts for 45s, but later versions had a large-hole slicer spindle that fit over the standard pusher spindle (and was operated by it). Unlike the Garrard RC-80, the Webster allowed the user to move the arm at any time.

    Within two years, this overarm changer completely eclipsed all Webster changers using a side shelf, because it was so much easier to use. The side shelf changers quickly disappeared from the Webster line (and most other lines), leaving Garrard as the only major producer of record changers with side-shelf record dropping. (Garrard made them until they quit making changers.)

  • Collaro (UK) introduced their 53 "Sentinel" series, a 3-speed overarm changer with a drop sensor for telling the difference between 10" and 12" records, and a switch for selecting either 12"-10" records, or 7" records. It had their striking velocity trip (this is still usable today, even with very low tracking forces).

    Collaro also had a cheaper non-intermix version.

  • Philips (Netherlands) also produced an overarm changer with a drop sensor for 12" records, and a switch, but the switch selected what size (7" or 10") the changer used if the drop sensor was not struck. It also had a repeat button that could prevent the next record from dropping (but it repeated any 12" record as 10" or 7" - the size selected on the switch). See it at Recordchangers.
  • Thorens (Switzerland) came out with a strange overarm changer that activated the pusher spindle from inside the overarm. It could intermix 10" and 12" records, with a switch selecting 12"-10", or 7" operation. One odd item was the brochure showing it loaded with all 3 sizes - a stack it could not play automatically (see photo below).

    Notice that with some of the early designs, the 7" record was just accommodated, more than it was really assimilated into the design. This is especially evident with the two record changer designs listed immediately above. Many designs required that 7" records be treated differently than the other sizes were. But the next two designs treated the 7" record as an equal to the other sizes in every way, large-hole or small-hole (but both changers did require that only one size at a time be used, because the shelf had to be set for record size in all cases).

  • Philco (US) invented a unique method of dropping records with the side shelf on its M-22. When the time to drop the record came, the shelf didn't do anything. Instead, the entire spindle nodded toward the shelf. A step on the shelf kept the bottom record from moving, while the latch in the spindle pushed the other records over the top of the step. Since the bottom record didn't move, it fell off the spindle ledge. As the record fell, the curve of the spindle pulled it off the shelf, so it fell flat. Unfortunately, the changer repeated the last record. The shelf rotated to 3 positions, one for each size. It is pictured here to the lower right.

    The 45 spindle for the Philco M-22 was a fat duplicate of the standard spindle that slipped over it. It nodded with the standard spindle and dropped the records just as the small spindle did - but without spiders.

    A later version of this changer, the M-26, returned the arm to rest, but left the turntable rotating after the last record. It checked the position of the record clamp before the record dropped.

  • Motorola came up with a weird triangular record changer, with the pickup arm and record shelf at one corner, the speed control knob at another corner, and the power-reject knob at the third corner. This changer had a rotating 45-RPM spindle. Moving the record shelf set the size. Interestingly enough, it could be set for intermediate positions and would index the arm to that size, but it would not drop records except when set at the 3 standard sizes. The first version had a position trip, and later Motorola developed a velocity trip for it. Both versions repeated the last record over and over.

One would wonder why people accepted record changers that repeated the last record over and over. Of all of the little 45 changers, only two were ever made that could shut themselves off. And many of the early 3-speed changers repeated the last record too. Some of them were even pesky enough to repeat the last record the wrong size. Did people accept them because most prewar drop changers repeated the last record, or did they not find out that the changer repeated the last record until after they already bought it?

Size sensing devices

Garrard RC-80

Garrard RC-80

Garrard RC-90

Garrard RC-90
The deluxe version of RC-80

Philco M-22

Philco M-22
Moves the whole spindle
to drop a record:

Webster-Chicago 100

Webster-Chicago 100
First arranged intermix changer.

Thorens CD-43

Thorens CD43
With the stack it can't play

Garrard RC-75

Garrard RC-75 - cheaper RC-80
note different pusher post

Motorola rc 36

The triangular Motorola RC 36

From this point on, all record changers made shut themselves off after the last record - excepting most little 45-RPM changers. Those continued to be made without automatic shutoff into the 1960s.

  • V-M (US) produced its Tri-O-Matic record changer, an overarm changer capable of automatically indexing all sizes. One of the first Tri-O-Matic changers appears to the right. Notice the two size sensors near the base of the arm (arrows). It used a rising feeler (white arrow) to tell whether 7" records, or larger records, were being played. A drop feeler (black arrow) detected the difference between 10" and 12" records as they fell down the spindle. So it could intermix 10" and 12" records in any order, or play 7" records in a stack by themselves. The overarm now became a standard way of detecting when the spindle had no records on it to cause automatic shutoff.

    When V-M made the ad for the similar V-M 950 Tri-O-Matic changer (with the same size sensors), it made the same mistake Thorens made (see above). The ad showed the changer loaded with all three sizes, in a stack just like the one on the Thorens - a stack it could not play automatically. See bad ad here. The changer was also loaded with two different speeds (visible because the 7" records had spiders in their large holes), and no V-M changer ever had automatic speed change.

    See V-M Tri-O-Matic Record Changer web page for more. This basic mechanism was sold from 1951 to 1973, with only minor modifications. And it is the most copied design in record changer history.

  • Zenith (US) introduced variable speed (and 16 2/3 RPM for audio books) on its "Cobra-Matic" overarm changer with electrical velocity trip. Unfortunately, the size was selected by a 7-10-12 control. When this changer shut off after the last record, it left the pickup arm in the leadout groove of the last record and just turned off the motor.
  • RCA and Chrysler jointly developed a 16 and 45 RPM record changer for cars. Counter-rotating counterweights minimized the effects of bumps in the road, but it wasn't perfect. The records played upside down, and dropped from the spindle after they played. This unit shut itself off because there were no records left in the playing position. Amazingly, this player had a constant vertical angle no matter how many records were on the stack.
  • Admiral (US) used a stepped rising feeler to check the size of the first record on the turntable over and over. It automatically selected the size, but could not intermix record sizes in one stack. An overarm was used.

In the next few years, record changer manufacturers became even more ingenious in the way they made their equipment work:

  • Collaro (UK) came out with its "Continental", the first drop changer that could take all 3 standard record sizes intermixed in any order. It had a drop feeler that was pushed all the way down for a 12" record, and partway down for a 10" record. But it was not touched at all by a 7" record. An overarm was used. It is shown on the right. Notice the index feeler sticking out behind the overarm.

    This changer was unique in the way the overarm was used to shut the changer off with large-hole records. Placing the overarm on the records sitting on the large-hole spindle made the records tilt, so it couldn't be used that way. So they designed it so you place the overarm against the edge of a stack of large-hole records. The overarm shaft was designed so it pressed the overarm lightly against the edge of any record up on the spindle (see small image at right). So when the last record dropped, the overarm first swung toward the spindle, and then dropped down below the record shelves. On the next cycle, the changer shut itself off because the overarm was low. The overarm is shown in that position in the large photo.

  • Dual came out with its 1002, an overarm and side shelf changer with a drop feeler for 12" records. When the large-hole spindle is installed, 7" operation occurs. See it at Recordchangers
  • ELAC Miracord (Germany) introduced its "Magic Wand" changer. This was still a throwback to the early days with its size index, but used an umbrella spindle. It could intermix 12" and 10" records in the 33 and 78 positions, or 12" and 7" records in the 16 or 45 positions, using a drop feeler to detect 12" records. The changer had a repeat button that, when pressed, prevented the next record from dropping when the changer next cycled. It also remembered if the previous record had been a 12" record, so it repeated every record correctly. This was called XS-100 and XS-200 in the US, but was the PW-5 and PW-8 in Europe (PW is short for plattenwechsler, the German word for record changer). See it at Recordchangers
  • RCA and Admiral (both US) started using rising and drop feelers in overarm changers, similar to the feelers in the V-M Tri-O-Matic. The first record changer clones? In the case of RCA, they had a license from V-M to make a similar changer, although the parts were not interchangeable. Telefunken put its own name on V-M changers, but had its own plinths and accessory controls (including a repeat button). Much later, the BSR UA-50 Minichanger also used the same type of feelers, although the method used to index the arm was different.
  • Webster (US) introduced the semaphore index. The falling record caused the semaphore to rotate out of its way on a vertical axis. It can intermix all 3 standard record sizes in any order. An overarm was used. See the Webcor "Magic Mind" below for a photo of a similar changer.
  • Dekamix (Germany) used a spindle with a balancing disk that fit on the pushing spindle, instead of an overarm. The disk is similar to the one on the Dual on the previous page. An index arm sensed the size and presence of records on the stack. But a falling 12" record struck the shaft of the index arm and pushed it away from the stack. This changer could take intermixed 12" and 10" records, with 7" placed last. If the index arm touched no record, automatic shutoff took place. Ercona and Wumo used these. Some of them were branded Dokamix instead of Dekamix.
  • Luxor (Sweden) made their Rolling Pickup index work with an overarm changer at all 3 speeds, and had the first record changer that could take randomly intermixed odd sized records. The Rolling Pickup felt the size of only the top record on the turntable, ignoring the sizes of the records under it. This changer returned the arm to the last record, and shut off the power after the rolling pickup indexed it. See it at Recordchangers and to the right is the improved version, the RTW-7, with a larger turntable.
  • Garrard introduced the RC-110, and later, the RC-120 and RC-121. These had an index arm, and could take 12", 10", and 7" records in the same stack, provided the larger records were put on before the smaller records. It was Garrard's first changer with the pusher in the spindle, and used an overarm. This changer also had all of the restrictions in manually moving the arm the previous Garrards had.

An interesting trend developed among record changer manufacturers during this period. Most continental European premium designs featured selectable pauses between records, and a button that repeated the playing record at its end (by not dropping the next record). Strangely, these devices were almost ubiquitous in Europe, but were almost totally absent in the United Kingdom and in the Americas.

V-M Tri-O-Matic

V-M 936 Tri-O-Matic

Zenith Cobra-Matic

Zenith Cobra-Matic
All speed record changer

Collaro RC-54 Continental

Collaro 54 "Continental"
First 3-size random intermix changer

Continental 45 use

Continental use with large hole (45) spindle

RCA RP-197

RCA RP-197
A Tri-O-Matic clone?

Luxor RTW-7

Luxor RTW-7
Random intermix of odd sizes


By 1955, simple, yet very useful changers appeared on the market:

  • The Collaro Conquest record changer was designed for any future sizes. Its ingenious arm-scan sensed the record size by making the side of the pickup arm touch the edge of the unplayed stack. Odd sized records played automatically, and different sized records could be placed in a stack, provided that larger records were placed before (under) smaller records. Another nice feature was that the change cycle always ran at a constant speed, rather than changing speed with the turntable speed setting. Most other record changers whizzed through the change cycle at 78, and crept through it at 16. It is shown here, with more photos and a short discussion on how it works on the web page (click here).

    The Collaro spindle is shown at right. Note the pushing action of the record pusher, as it pushes the bottom record off the spindle ledge. And unlike most other spindles, the Collaro spindle lowers the rest of the stack to the spindle ledge, instead of letting the records fall off the retracting pusher.

    The page author owns the one shown below, and likes it so much that it has its own web page. He owns only two records it can't play at all (16" transcriptions that won't fit.), two more it can play, but won't index (4" Hip Pocket records), and a few more without finishing grooves that will play, but won't trip at the end. If you look carefully at the photos here and on the web page, you can find the sensing edge on the arm.

    (Before you ask: Yes, it CAN play that 6" 78 of "Round and Round" automatically. See the first 3-speed VM changer mentioned on page 2 for the story about this.)

    The Author's somewhat modified TSC-640 Collaro Conquest (originally made in 1961) is shown below. Notice the Shure M-44E cartridge. The arm had to be modified to work with the cartridge, but the trip mechanism works at a tracking force of less than 2 grams without modification.

    Collaro continued to make the Conquest from 1954 until 1965, with very few changes. But they actually added a combination induction/synchronous motor (very similar to Garrard's 1967 "Synchro-Lab" motor) to the Conquest as early as 1963.

    A Collaro Conquest was used in a different way than the Collaro Continental mentioned above. In addition to the odd-size capability and the arranged intermix sequence, the large-hole spindle was also used differently. On the Continental, the overarm was placed against the edge of the stack for automatic shutoff to work right with large-hole records. But on the Conquest, the overarm does not cause automatic shutoff. Since the arm scan touches the edge of the records to check the size, and to sense the absence of records, the overarm would be in the way of the scan if placed against the edge of the records. So on the Conquest, the overarm was placed on top of the large-hole spindle (instead of on the records - see image at right), or left over the rest post.

    All Collaro Conquest and Magnavox Micromatic changers made before 1966 can be made to manually play a record at any point close to the spindle without tripping the change cycle. Use the following procedure:

    1. Turn the automatic control to OFF to stop the motor. Make sure the turntable has stopped rotating before doing the next step.
    2. Move the pickup arm over the label of the record.
    3. Move the pickup arm out just enough to place it at the desired point.
    4. If the changer has a PLAY control, turn it on. If not, carefully turn the automatic control to ON without going farther to REJECT.
    5. Whether or not the changer trips when the record ends depends on how close the pickup arm was put to the end of the record and whether or not the record has a finishing groove. If the changer does not trip, turn the automatic control to REJECT.

Collaro spindle

The Collaro spindle

Old Collaro Conquest

An early Collaro TC-340 Conquest

Conquest 45 use

Conquest use with large hole (45) spindle

My Collaro Conquest

Author's Collaro at rest

Collaro Conquest feeling

Feeling the size of a record

  • Philco, Admiral, Motorola, and many other US companies stopped producing their own record changers. Most of them included V-M Tri-O-Matics in their products instead. Even Telefunken (Germany) was using the V-M. These were the genuine VM changers, not clones.
  • Monarch (BSR - Birmingham Sound Reproducers - UK), RCA (US), Lesa (Italy), and Philips (Netherlands) made overarm changers that used the same kind of 3-size drop sensor found on the Collaro Continental (see above). More cloning? The Philips AG-1003 also had a size button that could set the size of a single record correctly, as did the later AG-1005, AG-1014, and AG-1024. The single record could also be repeated indefinitely. (Note that I erroneously reported that the size button could repeat a record in the stack. This is not true.) See it at Recordchangers.
  • Webcor (formerly Webster-Chicago - US) introduced its "Magic Mind" overarm record changer. It used a semaphore to intermix 12" and 10" 33s with 7" 45s in the same stack. Or it could play 12", 10", and 7" records intermixed at either 78 or 16 RPM. There were 4 positions on the speed knob, but it automatically turned the knob between 33 and 45, so it refused to play 7" 33s, and 10" or 12" 45s automatically. It also changed the speed to 45 after the last 33 in a stack, irking some users. It is shown here:
  • Perpetuum Ebner (Germany) introduced its "Rex" series. These used a spindle that lowered the record down about an inch, waited for the changer to sense the size with the arm-scan idea Collaro pioneered, and then dropped the record the rest of the way. It could intermix odd sized records in any order. This was made in balancing disk versions, umbrella spindle versions, and later, overarm versions. In each case, the absence of the weight of the lowered record triggered automatic shutoff. See it at Recordchangers.
  • Garrard upgraded the RC-120 and RC-121, to the RC-120-D and RC-121-D. These had an index arm with a semaphore on the end. They could take 12" & 10" records intermixed, followed by 9", 8", & 7" records in arranged order largest to smallest in the same stack. These changers also had all of the restrictions in manually moving the arm the previous Garrards had.
  • Garrard later upgraded the RC-121-D to make the RC-210. This had the index arm with the small semaphore on the end. It was able to take 12" and 10" records intermixed randomly, followed by 7" records. The other sizes were removed. The changer had an overarm. But it still had all of the restrictions in manually moving the arm that all previous Garrards had.
  • ELAC Miracord introduced the PW-9 and PW-90 that used the understack feeler. This swung the arm in toward the spindle as soon as it rose, and then raised it to touch the underside of the stack with two tiny wheels. Then it swung the arm back and forth like a pendulum, moving farther out each time. If it found the edge of a record, it indexed that size after dropping the record. Otherwise, it shut itself off. Thus, it could intermix record sizes from 12" to 7" in almost any order (It had trouble if an 8" record was on top of a 7" record). An umbrella spindle was used. The mechanism has a cam very similar to the Collaro Conquest, except where the scan takes place.

    This was kinder to the surface of the bottom side of the record than I originally thought, because I thought the wheels were just raised bumps. But if the arm was scratched or not clean, or if the wheels got stuck, it could scratch the record. See it at Recordchangers.

  • Glaser-Steers (US), Philips, and Lesa (Italy) made record changers with drop feelers that looked like the number 4. They tilted back when struck by a falling 10" or 12" record. They could intermix all 3 standard record sizes randomly. The Glaser-Steers model GS-77 had a "Speedminder" position, Speedminder could intermix 10" and 12" 33-RPM records with 7" 45-RPM records, and also could detect when the 3-mil stylus was installed, to automatically select 78. Speeds could also be selected manually. Heathkit offered the GS-77 record changer as a kit, the AP-3.
  • V-M made a 45 and 16 RPM changer that played only 7" records. It was better than the other 45 changers, because it used the pickup arm to scan the stack (as the Collaro Conquest does), to shut the changer off after the last record.

Webcor Magic Mind

A Webcor Magic-Mind record changer

Glaser-Steers GS-77

Garrard RC-120-D with 5 size load

Glaser-Steers GS-77

My Glaser-Steers GS-77 with Speedminder

Dual and Garrard emerge on top

In the years 1957-1962, Dual and Garrard emerged as the two top contenders in the hi-fi record changer market (Though VM dominated the budget record changer market until the late 1960s). And both Dual and Garrard produced their most ingenious designs during this period. The top selling points at this time were arm precision and size intermix. Arm precision was demanded by the consumers wanting the best sound reproduction. Size intermix was wanted because so many record owners has several different sizes in each speed - the result of the earlier "Battle of the Speeds".

During this period, both Dual and Garrard produced the first record changers they ever made that could take all 3 standard sizes intermixed in random order. Interestingly enough, the previous intermix changers from both companies could take 10" and 12" records intermixed randomly, with 7" records placed last. But since Garrard still kept its pusher platform changer design for the "purist," Garrard never had size intermix in its top-of-the-line changer after multiple speeds were introduced. On the other hand, Dual had several different kinds of intermix changers at the same time, and the bottom-of-the-line changer was the one that could not intermix record sizes.

  • The Dual 1004 used an overarm and feeler wheel indexing. After the record dropped, the pickup arm set down at the 7" position, and the feeler wheel rolled the arm to the edge of the top record on the turntable. It was the first record changer able to do all of the following: play odd sized records automatically, intermix any record sizes in one stack, repeat any record in the middle of a stack correctly, and index a single record correctly with the short spindle. Dual also had a deluxe version of this with a pause feature, 1005 (1003 was an earlier 3-speed version of 1005). But both changers had to use the Dual cartridge.
  • In 1959, Dual modified its 1004 to make the umbrella-type 1006, pictured here. It was acclaimed as the first record changer capable of true high fidelity play. All of the 1004 features were retained, including the feeler wheels. This changer was wired for stereo, and could take most cartridges. It also came with a single-play spindle. This was the ONLY record changer ever made that could play odd sized records, intermix record sizes in any order, repeat any record in the stack automatically, play a single record automatically without the changer spindle, and allow removal of all devices for changing records use when they were not needed. It wins my award for the smartest record changer ever made. Few working ones are left, because the rubber parts rotted away easily. Mounting the pickup was quite difficult, because it had to be in exactly the right place for the feeler wheels to work.

    An introduction of 8" (20 cm) records in Germany prompted the designs Dual and PE used. But the Dual 1006 didn't move the arm in far enough to index that 6" Perry Como single I have.

  • In 1961, Dual produced the 1008, a changer with an umbrella spindle and a semaphore. This semaphore had a little roller sticking out of the bottom of it that was normally below the level of the turntable, but when the short spindle was installed, rose to a level able to touch the single record on the turntable. Thus, it could intermix the 3 standard sizes in a stack, or play a single record automatically. A neat trick! Dual 1011 was a hi-fi version of this with a precision arm.
  • Back in 1959, Garrard introduced its "Type A" rim-push changer. This was similar to the RC-80, except that the pusher platform had no 7" position. All 7" records were assumed to be large-hole. It came with a single-play spindle and a fully balanced arm. In this version, the index arm actually told the changer the record size, as well as when to shut off. The Type A had all of the restrictions on manually moving the arm the previous Garrards had, but if you knew, you could manually move the index arm toward the spindle and release the pickup arm. The Type A mk II is seen below. From this point on, Garrard always had a record changer in its line that was limited in the types of records it could play a stack of.

    Update: An extension shelf for 7" records was available as an accessory for the Type A series.

  • Simultaneously, Garrard introduced the AT-6, an overarm record changer with a semaphore (seen behind the overarm). It could intermix the 3 standard sizes in any order, and came with a single-play spindle and a fully balanced arm. This was their first changer with a safety drive and an arm that could be freely moved at any time. The one disadvantage was that you had to monkey with the overarm if you wanted to play a single record automatically with the short spindle installed. Otherwise, it selected the wrong size.

Dual 1004

Dual 1004 feeler wheel changer

Dual 1006

Dual 1006 feeler wheel changer
The smartest record changer ever

Dual 1008

Dual 1008 semaphore changer
Intermix, yet indexes a single record

Garrard Type A mkII

Garrard Type A mk-II

Garrard AT-6

Garrard AT-6
The best from Garrard

  • Also in 1959, most record changers were changed over to being wired for stereo. Some models disappeared because they could not reproduce stereo without a lot of noise, including Webcor in 1965.
  • ELAC Miracord replaced the PW-9 and PW-90 with the PW-16, PW-160, PW-161, and PW-191 in 1961. These also use an arm scan, but for only the 3 standard sizes. The arm made the motions the Collaro Conquest arm makes, but was knocked into one of two index grooves in the cam by 10" or 12" records. It never actually touched the 7" record, but came to a stop near it. Then the record dropped, the arm lowered, and moved in to set down. The arm did not scan if the spindle was empty of records. This changer required that larger records be placed below smaller records in the stack. An umbrella spindle was used.

    There is also a control to set the size for single play with the short spindle. The 17 cm (7") position is also used for record changer operation. This control is placed in the 25 cm (10") position or the 30 cm (12") position for single records of those sizes. A single record can also be repeated by inserting the single play spindle upside down.

  • In the early 1960s, GE (US) bought Glaser-Steers and started making cheap record changers. They first used the same design as the GS series (but no Speedminder). Later, they used semaphores and overarms.
  • Luxor replaced the rolling pickup with the rolling brush. This felt the size of the top record on the turntable in the same way (while it cleaned the record), but moved aside after it had transferred the size to the pickup arm. This way, the rolling mechanism did not impede the arm motion during play, and the arm could be placed anywhere by hand. See it at Recordchangers.
  • Also in the early 1960s, Silvertone (US) sold a changer (made by Alliance, the Tenna-Rotor people) with an overarm and a drop feeler (like the one on the Collaro Continental). One unique feature of it was the egg-shaped eccentric change cycle drive gear that wobbled back and forth during the change cycle.

In the '60s, three record changers appeared that did not drop records. All three were very gentle with the records:

  • The Lincoln 60 and 70, sold by Fisher (US) was the last assembly-line changer and the last 2-side changer to be made. It picked each record up, played one or both sides, and then deposited it on another stack next to the first one.

    Unfortunately for its owners, it reversed the stack as it went through it, and since the slide-automatic sequence for record changers had long ago been discontinued, when the owner went to play the second side of a drop-automatic album, he had to reshuffle the records to get it to play them in the correct order. It played manual-sequence albums correctly but reversed the stack after playing them, so the owner had to reshuffle them before putting them away.

    Both models could intermix odd record sizes in any order, including the smaller sizes. And Model 70 could take small 45 RPM records mixed in with large 33 RPM records.

  • The Thorens TD-224 was a carrier-type changer that picked each record up, measured it using a Collaro-Conquest-type arm scan, played the record alone on the turntable, and then put it on another stack under the first one. Unfortunately, this changer also reversed the stack (needing the slide-automatic sequence), so it had the same disadvantage the Fisher Lincoln had. But it could also intermix odd-sized records in any order. It is shown here as a top view. Look carefully for the record-size-sensing edge (silver) on the left side of the pickup shell. This was the last slide-automatic sequence changer made.

    See the Thorens TD-224 change cycle here.

  • The V-M 1700 (US) changer had an umbrella spindle, using an elevator to lower the record slowly to the turntable. While the record was on the way down, the pickup arm measured its size by touching its edge, like the Collaro Conquest measures records. The change cycle was tripped with a beam of light. The 1966 version sold by Westinghouse is shown at right. Look for the record-size-sensing protrusion on the left side of the pickup shell. Too bad this was only a 2-speed changer (33 and 45).

Miracord PW-161

Miracord PW-161

Fisher Lincoln

Fisher Lincoln 70 showing change cycles

Thorens TD-224

Thorens TD-224 carrier changer
The last slide-automatic sequence changer made


VM-1700 elevator spindle changer
Lowers record gently, feeling it on the way down

There is one interesting fact about Garrard: Even though it made record changers with all of the record dropping mechanisms except nodding spindle, it always had a model using the pusher-shelf-type of record dropping after it was devised. And all Garrard record changers made since 1942 used some form of pushing records to one side to separate them - even the Lab-80 (next page).

There is an interesting fact about Collaro too. Once it started using the arm-scan index, it continued to produce changers with an arm-scan index until it stopped making record changers.

This ends the period of innovation. At this point, the following factors caused a regression to the earlier methods of indexing the arm:

  1. The demand for automatic play with either the changer spindle or a short spindle.
  2. The end of the production of 10" records.
  3. The worsening economy in the 1970s.
  4. Increasing business taxation

The history of this decline is presented in the next section.


VM-1555 elevator changer
1971 version of the VM elevator changer

Advance to Part 4 of RECORD CHANGERS.

Return to Part 2 of RECORD CHANGERS.

Special Record Changer Lists and Links


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