In the late 1890's Sears Roebuck & Co. actively promoted Columbia Graphophones as money-makers for public exhibitions. A variety of kits were offered, which included advertising posters and admission tickets. Even the lowly Model B "Eagle" Graphophone was sold for exhibition "at a price which brings them into the easy reach of those of small means, who wish to give public exhibitions... You can make $5 to $25 every evening by giving public exhibitions... by using hearing tubes and charging 5 cents for each individual." The Model B "Eagle" was sold starting in September 1897 at $10 uncased or $12 with the typical rounded lid. This is an example of the uncased style, fitted into a custom box bearing a paper Sears label on the lid. The cheap pine box is elaborately painted to simulate expensive burled wood. The Graphophone is securely nestled inside, with an extra-long winding key and speed control extending through the left side. Very convenient to carry about and operate, it was likely used by a small-town exhibitor to cadge nickels from customers in saloons and general stores. This was an era when many people, especially in small towns, had never heard a "talking machine"!
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