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Tom, I assume you're familiar with the photos posted here:
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/berl:@FIELD(SUBJ+@band(+Berliner++Record+company+++))
Note items 11, 13 & 16  in particular for Berliner recording equipment.

Regards,
Rob


On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 7:30 AM, Michael Quinn <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Hi Tom,
> I'll answer your queries as best I can -
> 1.
> The Gramophone & Typewriter Company used pretty much the same
> equipment as Victor and by 1904 were well experienced recording on wax
> masters. The recording lathes used weight driven clockwork motors and
> continued to do so for many years. There are no photographs of Melba
> recording in 1904 but there are artists impressions published in
> periodicals of the time - I think the recording apparatus was behind a
> screen or curtain with a horn measuring about a foot across the mouth
> projecting out into a large room. Going by early photographs there
> must have been multiple recording horns even for the piano accompanied
> sides.
> 2. I blundered in saying waxes - it was shells being taken to Hanover
> though waxes were often sent from various places in Europe to the
> factory in Hanover. With the Melba recordings being such a prestige
> item they did the initial processing in England. It was a not
> infrequent occurrence for wax masters to be broken in transit to the
> factory in the early days of European recording.
> 3.The waxes would have been quite thick but I don't know what kind of
> metal soap they were using to make the blanks.
> 4.The vinyl 78s allowing for the inevitable minor problems that come
> from age and conditions of storage are very good, They have a higher
> surface noise than the best later acoustic recordings but are forward
> and bright sounding and of course without the wear that is often so
> apparent on original G&Ts. The sense of presence is quite startling
> and I certainly now believe my grandfather who said Melba's was the
> most carrying voice that he ever heard in person.
> I don't know what caused the noise problems that worried the company
> types - perhaps to do with how hot or cold the waxes were at the time
> of recording.
> Best Wishes
> Mike Quinn
>