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The first gramophone for the home market to come out of the merger of 1931 that formed EMI. The 97 is a scaled down version of the 102. The Serial No plaque carries the model No. as a 97C and a B over a 4. This dates the machine at 1940 i.e. 1936 (the date when such coding began) + 4 The B indicates the class of instruments, in this case "acoustic gramophone" .
The Columbia version of this model was coded the 204 (See Columbia 204E) and apart from motor variations the only significant difference was the badging on the lid and the soundbox ( a No 21 on the HMV and 15a on the Columbia). The HMV model carries the "Nipper" badging whilst the Columbia has the Grafonola logo on the lid and "Magic Notes" on the soundbox.
The case, being in a poor state, determined it be recovered but if I was going to do that I decided not to restore it back to blue. Mainly, as I have a red turntable mat cut and can lay my hands on a red needle tray and finding a good match for the original blue Rexine is so difficult, I've decided the 97C should change colour and be red.
I must admit this is now probably my favourite "picnic" gramophone. It is light to carry, performs to my satisfaction and looks attractive. It always attracts attention at the open garden visits I make.
Production dates: 1933 - 1955
Soundbox: HMV No. 21
Motor: Type 26590
Autobrake: No. 6A
Price: £3. 15s 0d