COLUMBIA GRAPHOPHONE "EAGLE" (1897/98) in HAWTHORNE & SHEBLE CASE

The Columbia “Type B” Graphophone – commonly called the 'Eagle' – was first sold in late 1897 as an inexpensive yet solidly-built machine for the mass market, priced at $10 for the bare-bones machine, or $12 with a wooden base and rounded oak lid. (See my main Columbia Eagle page for more details.)

The $10 uncased Eagle Graphophone was not as popular as the more expensive $12 version with its factory-supplied wooden case, prompting Columbia to discontinue selling the uncased version in 1899.

The Hawthorne & Sheble company in Philadelphia marketed a vast array of accessories for Phonographs, Graphophones, and disc talking machines, as well as the machines themselves. Their horns, cabinets, and other accessories were very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are highly collectable today. During the brief 1-1/2 year period when uncased Eagles were available (late 1897 to 1899) Hawthorne & Sheble offered buyers an intermediate option: a basic Type B Eagle Graphophone in a simple rectangular oak case made by H&S, and bearing their large decal on the front. Since these Eagles were not factory-cased, they do not have the usual embossed patent and serial number plates, and like all uncased Eagles, the serial number is stamped on the belt cover. Unfortunately, because the Hawthorne & Sheble-cased Eagle was in the market for such a brief time, no original catalogs, advertisements, or trade journal references are known. Consequently the original price remains a mystery, but given that consumers could get a factory case for $2 it is logical to assume that Hawthorne & Sheble's version was sold at a lower price—probably around a dollar. It offered the same protection as the rounded-lid factory case but in a slightly less elegant format.

Very few are known to survive today, making this one of the most collectable variations of the very attractive and historically important Type B "Eagle" Graphophone.

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