The HMV 163 was introduced in late 1927 and was the smallest and most popular of the Re-entrant Tone-Chamber models.
My 163 was restored over a couple of weeks in January 2014 (see Blog entries - be warned they are now well down the list!). Essentially 2 cabinets, initially the plan had been a restoration of the first 163 which was complete all but for a badly rodent attacked base. This restoration would need complete replacement of the lower framework (photos 1 and 2 below). However when a better cabinet became available (photo 3 onwards) local to my home just the week after purchase, the first case was abandoned although the original lid was retained until restoration of the damaged lid that came with the second cabinet had been completed. (click here to visit the lid restoration page) . The grill of the original was also retained. The interesting thing is that the inside of the second cabinet was not restored, the colour difference between the grill and the cabinet inside is down to variation at the manufacturing stage between the 2 163's I used. Does it worry me?...not a bit. The value of all my machines lies in the pleasure they give me, restoring and playing. For a couple hundred quid or so ( which was no doubt too much) this machine gives me immeasurable pleasure, I love it to bits, warts and all, and would never part with it
Click on thumbnails above and below for larger image
So dating. The cabinet carries the serial no. of 1116 on a metal plate. This together with its transfer type and positions sets it probably at 1928 given that the oak model of which this is an example was first produced in November 1927. My original machine, from which I took the motor and hardware, is later. It carries the serial number 7768 on an ivorine disc and later transfer type and positions introduced in 1928. Given that HMV sold 10,571 oak 163's between November 1927 and February 1931, ( source: His Master's Gramophone - Brian Oakley and Christopher Proudfoot) serial no. 7768 would, I guess, put it around 1929/1930.
Soundbox: HMV No. 5A
Motor: Type 32
Autobrake: No. 3
Production Dates: 1927 - 1933
Price: £30. 0s. 0d.
A Tip About A Key For Your 163
Like many gramophone parts keys for gramophones are not only rare but costly. When looking for a key for my 163 I found that one available in the USA for Brunswick models was identical with the exception of the end "tooth" pattern to the one used on the 163. 5 minutes with a file made the key fit the 163. Why bother? Well not only does it give the restorer another option but, even with any customs duty a major saving ...$15 ( approx £10)...I've seen an original 163 key go fo in excess of £90!!....as keen as I am on restoration that's a step too far!