The Columbia 113a was a gramophone that had been on my wish list ever since I saw my first one in July 2013 soon after I started collecting.
Based on an American design available in UK known as the Columbia 162, the 113a was developed in 1928 for the UK market and came with what resembles a No 15 soundbox but which is referred to in sales literature as a "Columbia Floating Soundbox". There were four Columbia models available in the UK, the 113 and 3 versions of the 113a, which seem to equate to the American referenced 160, 161, 162 and 163. Preceding mine was the black 113 (sees previous website page ) and a 113a basically as mine but without the autobrake. Early models carried a cast iron “cowl” where the tone arm joins the horn. In the last model of the series the cast iron cowl was done away with in order to produce a pot metal based connection which, as is the nature of pot metal, is a very fragile aspect of the later 113a's. Also in later models there has been a change in the way the tone arm is stored, the earlier large “terry” clip design on which it is easy to knock the soundbox giving way to a more “accommodating“ clip
Whilst undoubtedly the most luxurious portable possibly ever produced with its flambouyant gold fittings and mahogany inbuilt record case, (incidently this is shaped internally to safely accommodate both 12” and 10” records) the 113a is also undoubtedly the heaviest which challenges the notion of portability. Rather unusually for a machine of this weight it bears no feet on the base which seems even more unbelievable when you consider the base, like the top is padded for extra luxury.
Click on thumbnails right for larger image
Soundbox: Columbia Floating Soundbox
Tonearms: Columbia Duplex-curve
Motor: Garrard No. 11A
Autobrake: Ref. Unknown
Price: £10. 10s. 0d.