Frequently asked questions
Are these phonographs replicas?
No. You can only make a replica of something that has been made before. For example, if you follow a traditional bread recipe, you will make an "original" loaf of bread, not a replica of a loaf of bread. The same principle applies here. William Gillett never made a series of phonographs - he merely designed a machine and published the blueprints. Thus, every phonograph will be a genuine and unique Gillett phonograph.
Why only 10 units? Why not make 100?
In order to preserve the value of the only existing unit and the 10 new ones, we decided to make a very limited run. This will ensure the long-term value to private collectors and museums.
Why has only one machine from the 1890s survived?
The simple answer is this: The machine is really difficult to build!
Very few people back in the 1890s had the machining, cabinet-making, metal-casting, and electrical abilities needed to make the almost 400 custom parts used in each machine. In short, we suspect that a lot of enthusiasts who used Gillett's book as a guide simply gave up.
Today, despite access to more sophisticated tools, even fewer people have the needed skills. Moreover, the investment in time and money is immense. In our case, over 1000 hours were needed to study the blueprints, create a proof of concept, and to put together a viable business plan. Despite our research, over 250 hours will be needed to build each individual phonograph, plus several thousand Euros in materials.
Wow. EUR 10K is really expensive. Why?
For starters, the materials alone are incredibly expensive - brass and copper prices are crazy these days. Also, there is an incredible amount of work involved in the making of each individual machine. If you factor in the time involved as well as the research that was needed along the way, this barely comes to minimum wage. In short, this is a labour of love for the collecting community and museums, not a particularly attractive venture from an economic point of view. And let's face it, the chances of anyone doing this again are very, very limited. That's also why the first four machines have already been snapped up.