Clockwork record player

Made c 1928

Analogue records, grooved discs made of shellac and later of vinyl, were a major medium for sound recording in the twentieth century. This machine was one of many sold to play those records in homes and other venues. Made by The Gramophone Company in England, it is branded His Master’s Voice (HMV), designed to be portable and powered by a hand-wound clockwork motor.

HMV was a well respected brand for both record players and records. Its trademark, a framed painting of Nipper the fox terrier lis...


The record player is housed in a wooden case with imitation leather covering and matching hinged lid, a leather handle, a metal catch and hinge, and metal external corner protectors. On the front right hand edge of the case, a small pivoted Bakelite container swings out to reveal spare styluses. On the inside of the lid is a sticker bearing the HMV trademark: a framed image of Nipper the fox terrier listening to the sound of a record.

A metal clip and recess at the bottom of the open lid house the winding handle, which is made of metal with a black-painted wooden handle. The box has a large recess at the back to hold the metal tone arm and attached sound box when not in use, and to act as a loudspeaker when in use, amplifying the sound produced by the sound box. In front of the recess is a wooden platform that holds the base of the tone arm, a felt-covered turntable to hold the record being played, a speed setting lever and manual and automatic braking levers.

The winding handle fits into a hole on the right-hand side of the case just below the turntable. It was used to wind a clockwork spring motor that is hidden under the turntable. Two levers attached to the base of the tone arm turned when the arm was used to move the sound box to the edge of the record, activating a mechanism that started the spring motor. The type 5B sound box has a small tube attached to hold a stylus (alternatively called a needle), the part that contacted the record so the sound box could replicate the sound encoded on it.

All interior metal parts are bright, probably being plated with chrome or nickel.


290 mm
420 mm
170 mm


The gramophone was made in Hayes, Middlesex, England, around 1928.
c 1928


Gift of R Kemp, 1976
10 August, 1976

Cite this Object

Clockwork record player 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 18 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Clockwork record player |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=18 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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