COLUMBIA TYPE 'BS' COIN-OP

This very basic machine was the smallest of the coin-operated Graphophones, using 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 than the Edison 'Excelsior,' 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. 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 very early, with a groove running across the front panel and no decal, a style which is much scarcer than later versions which have smooth panels and a gold Graphophone banner. It is completely original, including the rarely-found signboard and horn.

This circa 1898 handbill advertises the Columbia BS and shows the machine in its earliest incarnation, without a decal.

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