It was the ‘iPod of the 1920s’, now family heirloom plays again

2014-01-14 00:00

FOR years a gramophone sat on top of a cupboard, gathering dust, until Pietermaritzburg man Tony Newman found it and repaired it.

Now the Newman family heirloom is once again playing music.

A month ago, Newman (72) of Hayfields, saw the gramophone and decided to have a look to see what was wrong with it.

He fiddled around, found the problem with the anchor point and set it right.

“The record player has been in my family for 87 years. It was a 1926 Peter Pan make from England. Someone in the family bought it and it has been with us ever since,” Newman told The Witness.

When he fixed the gramophone, Newman was very excited to hear it play. Since fixing the it, Newman has played two records on it, The Thing and Sandy’s Happy Home.

“I was very chuffed when it played. I quite like The Thing as it has a tune to it. Sandy’s is an old talking record from back in the day. The Thing is about a man who sees a box floating in the sea, and the box is the thing. After that he can’t get rid of it, no matter how hard he tries. It even goes to heaven with him when he dies, and they don’t want it in heaven, so he has to go down below.”

The gramophone is a fold up port­able player. You assemble it, wind it up, set the speed and then play a record. It belonged to Newman’s grandmother.

Today most people listen to music on iPods, MP3 players and cellphones on long trips, but back then Newman’s grandmother listened to her portable gramophone.

Newman said, “My grandmother used to take it on the train. She used to take the train up to Northern KwaZulu-Natal to visit one of her sons, and she used to play it during the journey.”

All his relatives are fascinated by the gramophone. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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