1930s Vertical Phonograph for Bethelites and Pioneers- of passing interest.

by Balaamsass2 19 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Balaamsass2

    Just thought this might be of passing interest to a few members. We were unpacking some estate items from a 1930s Bethelite and were confounded by his Vertical Phonograph. Lots of old Rutherford books, and some trashed Rutherford records, but the phonograph was something to behold. I tried for over an hour to gently try to get it to work. Nothing electric of course. After some research (even looked at some old patent office blueprints by r. Kurzin), I found the handle pops loose and turns into a crank to wind a giant watch spring, that turns the 78' disk made of heavy shellac, next thing old Judge Rutherford starts booming clear as day hawking the book "Riches" ! lol. There is a secret compartment that could hold lunch or a couple of books, magazines.

    Rutherford's voice certainly would have scared any dogs or homeowners nearby! The 1930s I Pad. With a record, the thing weighs about 9lbs. Only 14x14". According to my 90 year old mother in law, only "special people" got to have one of these, she and the sisters had to carry a much bigger heavier unit that had to be held horizontally. ( the needle is top left in the lid- the vibrations at the end of the needle sounded directly into the paper speaker in the lid. When closed and locked, a cam on the lid controlled by a knob that pushed a release lever attached to the beefy steel spring that unwound to turn the record . volume? A simple piece of wood slid over the speaker vents. All very simple and effective like an 1800s Cuckoo clock !

  • oppostate

    Pretty clever stuff to peddle Rutherford's religious propaganda.
    Even now as in years past the WT likes to use the latest technology for converting and enslaving people into its cult.

  • wozza

    Wow I had a vertical record player that played singles ans EP's in the 60's ,and it was battery powered ,I did'nt think one of these was around before then .

  • sparky1

    If you recall, one of these phonographs was featured on the AMERICAN PICKERS SHOW sometime last year. It was a subject of conversation over at jwtalk.net. Danielle, the woman that works for Mike and Frank was raised a Witness and she remembered the name Rutherford. There is a link to the show over at jwtalk.net.


  • joe134cd

    What ever you do hold onto it. That's gotta be worth some money to the right person.

  • dropoffyourkeylee
    Funny, I had a family member in Bethel in the '70's, and he had a way of getting to know the older Bethelites. A couple of his friends were John? Kurzin and his brother Russ Kurzin. John was an inventor, and was the designer of the phonograph. He was one of the few Bethelites at the time who had a car. He held several patents and had some income from the auto industry. Both John and Russ were very nice and pleasant people.
  • DesirousOfChange

    What ever you do hold onto it. That's gotta be worth some money to the right person.

    I'm sure your local Assm Hall Committee would be glad to let you GIVE IT THEM for a display about "Our Christian Heritage".


  • My Name is of No Consequence
    My Name is of No Consequence

    I seen one of those Rutherford era phonographs sell for several hundred dollars online. That dude is still getting over on people!

  • wifibandit

    Thank you for sharing! I have a morbid love for this history. I want to digitize everything.

    There should be some kind of museum that archives the history of this peculiar religious movement. A neutral source. WT can't be trusted to tell the facts of their own history!

  • BluesBrother

    " 1930's I Pad " indeed.

    Everything goes around and comes around. One question I have is....

    Today the dubs buy their own tablets, did The Society supply these things free or cheaply?

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