As purchased

Above is an Ebay lot purchase. I haven't decided about the larger case as I write this, I may restore it in the future or possibly sell it for someone else to enjoy.
I found soon after obtaining my Amberola 30 phonograph that storing record cylinders to play on it and organizing them was something that I needed to address. These cases serve that purpose.
The before photos don't  really reflect the condition of these cases very well.
Though they appear to be gray, in reality they started out black, the interior photos show this and the final photos will show what they originally looked like.
Also the tops and bottoms are badly warped, caused by water damage.
This restoration looked fairly simple, but turned out to be a bit more of a project than I had anticipated. (big surprise)
First came the analysis of what the case was made of to determine how to proceed.
It turned out the case is made of 2 wood frames (they appear to be oak) topped with a form of cardboard (not wood) for the top and bottom
That was somewhat of a surprise but some research indicated similar cases sold for around $3 about 100 years ago.
The cases are also covered, in what has been described to me by trunk restorers as "oil canvas" , it is a very thin canvas material which has been glued to the cardboard and wood frame.
The interiors are covered in a felt material both top and bottom. The top felt filler has a 1/4" batting material under it.
The bottom filler has 36 evenly spaced holes cut through the felt and filler cardboard, these holes are used to supply the positions for the glued posts that hold the cylinders in place.
All the hardware on the case was either nailed with the nail backs bent over into the wood, or solid riveted.
One interesting thing is the handle, looks like leather, no, it's steel!
The following photos will give a glimpse of what needed to be done.
Basically the case was completely dis-assembled and  re- constructed with a few minor changes.
Once all the hardware was carefully removed one nail at a time and the rivets removed the canvas was stripped from the case. Both the top and bottom covers were then removed along with the cylinder posts. The wood was cleaned and sanded to remove the 100 year old glue.
All the hardware was cleaned, rust removed, and polished. In some cases clear coated.

From here on it was basically build a new case using the original hardware and wood frames, minus the handle rivets, and the original damaged cover hinges.
 Changes: I chose to use a burgundy color felt, the original was red.
                Instead of using solid rivets to attach the carrying handle supports, I chose standard hardware.
                One of the original hinges was broken, Similar hinges were available, not in the correct color, so I chose to paint them flat black.
                I used art board to replace the top and bottom warped cardboard.

The final step seen in the final photo was to locate labels of the appropriate size and create art for the cylinder post tops.
If anyone reading this attempts to restore one of these, or has one in good shape, I can supply you with the template to make the labels and the source for the labels.

Inside as purchased, one has a red felt interior the other pink, note the loose posts


This will be used to store my Blue Amberol Cylinder Records

Return to Projects page