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Victor V

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The Victor V was a popular, premium external horn phonograph in Victor's product lineup.  It was introduced in 1905 at the time when Victor began using Roman numeral designations for their machines, replacing the confusing and overlapping letter designations for different models. The Victor V's predecessor, the Victor D, was then slowly phased-out of production.  During the early months of 1905, both models were coming off the assembly line; the earliest Victor V's have identical cabinets to the D with rounded corner columns. Later that year, the V's cabinet was modernized with square-column corners and all the "gingerbread" was eliminated.
For many years thereafter, the Victor V was one of the best-performing machines that the company offered (a position shared with the expensive Victor VI). This was due to the fact that the large, round horn provided a much less constricted and direct acoustic path than did any of the later-vintage internal-horn Victrola models; not until the Orthophonic machines appeared in 1925 did any Victor machine provide the level of clarity and volume that could be achieved with the Victor V or VI.
The Victor V featured a full-size 12-inch turntable and an exceptional triple-spring motor with heavy and oak cabinet and Tapered Arm configuration. It also had the largest standard horn of any other Victor models. It sold new for $60.00, which equates to approximately $1,700.00 in today's money. A stamped steel and brass horn was standard along with an Exhibition Soundbox.  Buyers could also opt for a black painted "flower" horn or several different variations of wood horns for a few dollars more. Numerous improvements to the motor and controls were made in the following years. The picture at left shows a Victor V with the optional Spearpoint wood horn (crank removed).
It should be noted that there was a great deal of "design overlap" between the later versions of the Victor D and early Victor V models, many of which shared identical components. This is likely due to the fact that the factory was churning-out these machines (and using-up available parts) without much regard for product continuity or model positioning at a time when demand for phonographs was growing at a frenzied pace. 
In addition, the huge factory fire of April 1904 may have destroyed past production files as well as machine cabinets, components and serial number tags. It is then possible that the plant started piecing-together whatever components they could find when production got back into operation, starting with any new serial number sequence they chose.
Exact production numbers for the Victor V are unknown; there is quite a bit of controversy on this topic, but based on serial numbers of surviving examples at least 56,000 units were made (and possibly as many as 85,000) until it was discontinued in the early 1920's. By that time, the majority of Victor V's were being shipped to foreign markets. During late production, some V's were produced with a mahogany finish, which are rare and desirable collector's items today.
At present, there is not a good correlation between serial number and production date for this model. Serial numbers were reset back to "1" (or "501") several times during the production run, making accurate dating of these models very difficult, since the same serial numbers would have reappeared in production after the serialization sequence was reset. The factory fire also contributed to this confusion, and certainly muddled product configurations and continuity; therefore the process of determining accurate estimates becomes very challenging today. The following guidelines provide some idea of the manufacture date of this model:
 - Victor V models without a suffix letter after the serial number were likely made prior to 1909.
 - Machines with a suffix letter after the serial number follow this approximate sequence:

Suffix Letter Probable date of production
A 1909-1915
B 1915-1917
C or D After 1917


The current survival database shows the earliest existent Victor V to be S/N 3187 and the latest to be S/N 60316. (Be aware that serial numbers were reset at least twice during the production run)

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