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Revere/ VV 14-1

RARITY: ¤¤¤   VALUE:  ¤¤ 


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The Victrola 14-1 (identified as "Revere" on the dataplate) was a short-lived Orthophonic phonograph with an unusually large upright cabinet and the distinct feature of a "downward" pointing horn. It was certainly one of most unusual and ungainly models that Victor ever produced. This phonograph was styled like a large buffet, with long turned legs, and a boxy cabinet with the phonograph mechanism sitting at eye level when the front door was dropped open.  Rather than facing forward toward the listener, as was always done with Victrola horns, the Revere's large horn opening was mounted on the bottom of the cabinet and faced downward toward the floor. The exact intent of this design is unknown; it seems that Victor ordered a cabinet production run of 3,000 units as "a one-time experiment", and never had any intentions of building any more of them. The following product scenarios are possible:
1) it was designed to avoid the need to constantly open and close large front "tone doors" when listening to records (but the user still had to open the door to access the turntable), or
2) it was intended to make the record changing process easier, by having the mechanism placed directly at eye-level, or
3) that the cabinets had actually been built in 1924 for a non-Orthophonic Victrola model, with the horn opening located directly below the turntable area. When the phonograph market collapsed in 1924, this product was cancelled. In this scenario, the addition of the downward-pointing Orthophonic horn was a last-minute design effort, and they were simply "using-up" 3,000 empty cabinets sitting in the factory
4) that Victor was attempting to use acoustic floor reflections to provide a more spread-spatial effect (e.g. a broader sound stage) for the listener, no matter his or her position around the machine.
If the latter assumption is correct, this would require that the 14-1 be placed on a hard floor surface, as carpeting absorbs most of the high frequency content.
Playing a good Orthophonic record on the Revere, even when placed on a hard floor, provides a generally disappointing result. While the listening experience is equal in both sound-quality and volume at any location around the entire machine, much of the sparkle and energy of the music is lost, since the listener only hears reflections of the sound output; however, if the intent was to provide background music in a large open-floor room, it may have been considered a moderate success since it does not exhibit the directionality of the other Orthophonic models.
All copies of this model were manufactured during the spring of 1926; the 14-1 appeared in the catalog for one year, and it was quietly discontinued. 
The original 1926 selling price of the 14-1 was $275.00, which equates to about $4,000.00 in today's money. Subsequent advertising later that year indicated that the Revere was being offered at a substantial discount from the list price, so it is safe to assume that it did not catch-on with the buying public. Gold plated hardware and a 2-spring motor were used on this model. An estimated total of 3,035 Victrola 14-1's were produced (all during 1926), making it amongst the rarest of the Orthophonic models. However, the rather poor sound quality of these machines (as compared to the Credenza or other large models) and the very large size of the cabinet tends to limit collector interest today; therefore the current valuation is not indicative of the rarity of this model. In addition, the long, thin legs (and their small connection points to the very heavy cabinet) tend to loosen and become and unstable over time, making the Revere prone to wobbling and tipping over, especially when the heavy front door is carelessly dropped open.

Re-live the original dealership experience! Listen to the Revere vs. the Credenza in a "head-to-head" comparison!

Recordings made 6' feet in front of machines, in same position, in same room, with same record. Neumann condenser microphones direct to DAT recording. No equalization or gain changes. Same brass Orthophonic soundbox used on both machines. Hard floor, hemi-anechoic room. Good playback speakers or headphones are required. Click below for comparison.


The current survival database shows the earliest existent Revere to be S/N 580 and the latest to be S/N 3467.    

Do you own a Victrola 14-1? Please take a moment and enter some basic information about your machine into the collector's database by clicking here. No personal information is required.

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