Thursday, September 20, 2007

Before Radios, Crosley Made Phonographs

Yes, it's true: In 1920 Powel Crosley, Jr. got the idea of cashing in on the popularity of the phonograph. Some important patents were expiring, Crosley had just bought a woodworking plant that turned out phonograph cabinets, and his American Automobile Accessories Company had a viable list of mail-order consumers.

Lewis Crosley lined up the parts from phonograph works manufacturers, and the American Automobile Accessories company started turned out phonographs under the aegis of the Amerinola Co., located at 1 Vandalia Avenue, Cincinnati. There's more to the story, but I can't tell it all until after a certain magazine article appears. In the meantime, the image above attests to the origins of the Amerinola; it's the stamped metal label from one of the Crosley-built phonos.
--Mike
Copyright 2007, Michael A. Banks
(For more details, see Crosley: Two Brothers and a Business Empire that Transformed the Nation)

7 comments:

JimBo said...

Are there any known complete Amerinola phonographs? Did they make many?

Jim...

Michael A. Banks said...

The Crosley Manufacturing Company made very few Amerinola-branded phonographs. There was one ad from "the Amerinola Phonograph Company" in the January, 1919, issue of Talking Machine Dealer. Then Crosley suddenly changed the name of the phonograph to "Marion." The company name was also changed, to the Marion Phonograph Company. This probably had to do with infringing on another company's brand. I would imagine a few dozen Amerinolas werre made.

A lot more Marion phonographs were manufactured by Crosley. Selling for $49, or a dollar down and a dollar a month, they were advertised nationally and sold in some Midwestern stores. I saw one for sale on eBay three years ago by someone in Michigan. It went for something over $200. I'll post an image of the phonograph soon. I'm sure there are more out there.
--Mike

Allan said...

I have an Amerinola Phonograph that belonged to my grandparents. It is in fair condition. Can anyone tell me what it might be worth?

Anonymous said...

i have an amerinola phonograph, from american automobile accessories co., cincinnati, ohio. i would consider this is in very good condition. does anyone have a photo out there to show if the handle with the needle is on the left side or the right in order to play correctly? also i am looking for some more old 72 records to play on it(i think that is the correct number). so far i have a "victor talking machine company" record by pietro and one from frank sinatra. would love to find more. any idea of the price of this in very good condition? i would also like to find an instruction pamplet for this. thank so much. jacky

Jacky said...

Somehow my last comment above got integrated with someone named annonymous. Please delete me name from that. This is my correct comment I submitted. I have a Marion Amerinola phonograph with the original label on it. I have had it running and the only flaw other than a couple minor scrape is one of the hinges came loose. Otherise it is in v. good condition. Can someone tell me the value of this item? Thanks so much, Jacky

Stereo Realist said...

I, too, have an Amerinola, about the size and dimensions of a Victor XIV. Somewhere along the way, someone added an electrified Victor motor and turntable. Your information is helping me start to make sense of this unusual machine.

Michael A. Banks said...

Steroe Realist: Have I posted any ads for the Amerinola?