This very basic machine was based on the simple Columbia Type 'B' mechanism. Introduced in 1898 and priced at a
mere $20, this was the most successful and widely sold coin-slot talking machine.
Smaller and much less expensive than any other coin-operated phonographs made by Columbia or Edison,
it was best suited to modest retail establishments where customers could be tempted
to spend a few spare nickels in return for some simple entertainment.
The mechanism is entirely exposed, making it one of the most interesting coin-operated machines to watch in operation. Despite its simplicity, it was very well-constructed and less likely to go out of order than most larger coin-ops. The 'BS' could be fitted with listening tubes or a specially designed 13" nickel-plated horn, as seen here. The metal feet were meant to be screwed down to the counter to prevent the entire machine from being carted away.
This example is the earliest style, with a horizontal groove running across the panels and no decal. This was quickly supplanted by a new version with smooth panels and a gold Graphophone banner across the front. It is completely original, including the rarely-found signboard and horn.
This 1898 advertisement illustrates the Columbia BS in its earliest incarnation, without a decal.
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