the Christmas victrola

by | Dec 24, 2021 | Antiques, Favorite Finds, Favorite Things | 21 comments

A few of you noticed my early Christmas present in the Holiday Home Tour I shared a couple of weeks ago.  If you were with me when I lived back in PA, you may remember that I owned a Victrola.  I bought it in a lot of furniture.  It was thrown in as a freebie, but it was the piece I was most excited about.  The cabinet was in poor condition, but the Victrola worked and I enjoyed it so much.  I would play records on it now and then, although it’s a bit impractical to play one song at a time when compared to an infinite playlist on an iPhone.  When we moved to MN, I decided to let it go.  I just didn’t see a 100+-year-old Victrola really working aesthetically in a typical suburban home.

Over the 4+ years we’ve lived here though, I have found myself browsing for one.  I didn’t regret selling the old Victrola, but I missed having one.  After years of casually browsing, in late October, I found the perfect one on Facebook Marketplace for $150.  Jeff and I went to pick it up from one of the oldest homes in Stewartville.  The gentleman told us this Victrola was built from a kit by his grandfather, Ingvald Steffensen of Norway, in the 1920s.  The Victrola was sold with a set of records, mostly waltzes, and polkas, and a small bag containing a catalog of Victrolas from the 1920s and any paperwork that might’ve been related to the piece.

antique victrola | miss mustard seed

The case is in beautiful condition and just needed a bit of cleaning.  The Victrola is in working order, but could probably use a bit of fiddling just to tune it up.  I ordered some new needles and gave the cabinet a good cleaning and polish.  I also organized the records and added a few that I kept in the move to the collection.

antique victrola | miss mustard seed

One of the best parts is that this Victrola has a beautiful wood horn.  I can’t help but imagine all of the entertainment this piece has provided over the years with just the crank of a handle.  And that it still works over 100 years after it was built.

antique victrola | miss mustard seed

 

I tucked the Victrola in the corner of the dining room for now so I could enjoy it for Christmas, but it’ll likely be moved down to the basement when the trees and decorations are put away.

antique victrola | miss mustard seed

So, that is one of my Christmas presents.  All ready to play Bing Crosby on Christmas day.

antique victrola | miss mustard seed

I’ve learned that if I have the choice between a new piece of clothing or the latest electronic gadget and a cool antique piece, I’ll pick the latter most of the time.  They just don’t make things like they used to…

antique victrola | miss mustard seed

This was a busy holiday season for our family, so we didn’t put together a song for you this year.  But, here is a little bit of my crackly 100-year-old Victrola playing a little Bing Crosby.

You can find our past Christmas songs HERE.

21 Comments

  1. Patty Ryan

    What a treasure! I love that you know the story behind it, makes it extra special.

    Reply
  2. Terri

    Marian, had to take a minute to tell you how beautiful the wrapping paper is! I got two patterns and will use it next Christmas for gifts (and maybe a special gift or two before then). Thank you for continuing to teach and inspire us, and for sharing your talents with us well. Merry Christmas to you and yours. ps, the Victrola is amazing!

    Reply
  3. Babs

    I am sure the older gentleman was thrilled you wanted it and will give it a good home. As we age sometimes we wonder what will happen to the things we loved the most. Many people won’t know what they are or why they were so special to us. This gentleman won’t have to wonder about the Victrola as it has found good people to care for it.

    Reply
    • Rita

      That is so true. I’ve been getting rid of a lot of things in my home but have realized the importance of labeling and recording the story behind those special things.

      Reply
      • Nancy

        Yes! I am using 3 old boards, 4″x12″ x 6ft boards, to make 2 mantels and I am writing on a note on the back of them. Cypress from a barn built in about 1860 in Central Louisiana and moved by my grandpa to a new barn in 1917 etc. and how I finished them.
        Someday, we’ll sell the house, move away and someone will go to the dump with them. At least they will know the story. Merry Christmas!!!

        Reply
  4. Irene Kelly

    Oh Marian so so nice and very special. We live in Southern NJ where the original home of RCA was and we have a lot of history scattered throughout this region pertaining to that company and the beginning of the recording industry so to see this piece is extra special to me. Tks for sharing all your holiday ideas this season ! ! Merry Merry !

    Reply
  5. Kathy

    Your cabinet looks very much like my husband’s Victrola. When the kids were teenagers and prone to staying up all night and sleeping all day, their father would put the Star Spangled Banner on and open those little doors all the way so it was at full volume and wake them for lunch! Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  6. DeeDee Clark

    We have one exactly like yours which we bought at an auction years ago. We showed it to our grand children – ages 6 to 16 – and they were fascinated. My husband opened the top (small) doors to show them the “volume control.”

    Reply
  7. Peg

    This made me smile. My grandma was my best friend when I was a little girl (a very long time ago), and a lot of the fun we had together was with the victrola she had (which looks very similar to yours), that was given to me when I married (also a very long time ago). I haven’t played it in a few years, but I need to do that soon.

    Reply
  8. Peg

    This made me smile. My grandma was my best friend when I was a little girl (a very long time ago), and a lot of the fun we had together was with the victrola she had (which looks very similar to yours), which was given to me when I married (also a very long time ago). I haven’t played it in a few years, but I need to do that soon.

    Reply
  9. Brenda

    Merry Christmas Marian🎄

    Thank you again for your beautiful inspirations!!!
    For the first time in my 60years …I’ve finger knitted wreaths & garland, dried oranges and plan to use modeling clay to create a cookie cutter nativity…planning to order the wrapping paper with Christmas money.
    Thank you for feeding and inspiring my withered creativity 😉

    Just a bit of feedback, for the last couple weeks, I’ve not been seeing any photos when reading the blog posts in reader view. It’s not just certain posts but all of them lately.
    I just turn off the reader view so I can see the pics 😍

    Reply
  10. Mary S

    If you could locate a new needle for it wold it improve the sound? Just a thought! What a treasure you have.

    Reply
    • Miss Mustard Seed

      I thought so, but that actually is a new needle. I think the crackling is either from the record or the victrola itself.

      Reply
  11. Cindy W.

    Yours looks very similar to ours, and for $150 with records you got a steal of a deal. How nice to know the history and that it was well cared for. I’m no expert but I heard that you need to use one needle per record. We haven’t played ours much–it’s kinda packed away, too much remodeling going on to dusty it all up. Enjoy yours, I think you’ll use it more than you think. Modern-day people need to visit the past more, to take their souls back to a more peaceful time….

    Reply
  12. Addie

    LOVE IT!!!! A couple of years ago I had to downsize and I too sold a Victrola. I had to regrettably. It looked much like yours. The sound of yours reminded me and took me right back to having it. I played it all the time. The good thing is, the young woman I sold it too was soooo thrilled to have it and I knew there was no room to put it at my new place. Enjoy your new fun gift. It will look great in game room.

    Marian, I want to wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and a healthy New year 2022!!!
    AND I want to thank you for all your beautiful posts that you share with us.

    Reply
  13. Annette

    Thank you for all of your generous sharing throughout the years. I’ve been reading for the last year or two, and you’ve inspired me to take the time to enjoy all my many creative hobbies. Best wishes to you and your family for a joyous holiday season!

    Reply
  14. Teddee Grace

    My great uncles had a very old Victrola that played extremely thick records. Unfortunately, although it made the move with them to my aunt’s home, she sold it at a farm auction. I loved listening to those records and wish I had the record player and the records today.

    Reply
  15. Judeth

    We had one in our family but it never really played well. I have always liked them. Grew up on Bing Crosby, Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra Christmas tunes. If you come across one by Andy Williams get it. His voice is so smooth and the songs are great. Merry Christmas Marion to you and your family.

    Reply
  16. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

    My husband’s family had one and now it’s mine. I also have a “regular” record player that’s in use because I’m no tech and have no idea how to play “air” music.
    Blessed Christmas to you and yours!

    Reply
  17. Linda A. Charlton

    Your home is just lovely. The victrola is a piece to be envied. Wishing you and your family the happiest of new years.

    Reply
  18. Marie

    I have the same one! My Victrola was bought at a garage sale in Fort Lauderdale 40yrs ago for $100. My husband and I had only been married for a year, and we fell in love with it. We had an MG Midget convertible and balanced it on a towel on the trunk to get it to our condo 2 miles away! I still play it, and can’t wait to introduce my granddaughter to “unplugged” music. The only difference is mine has baffles in the horn, when you open the doors. So nice to see another in such great shape. Enjoy!

    Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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