by Don Woodrow
About the middle of August 1996 CAPS
member Rick Shaban asked whether
I could tell him anything
about a Victrola XIII.
I told him that I was
not familiar with this gramophone and
asked for him to hold while I looked it up in
my copy of "Look for the Dog".
"Look for the Dog" by Robert Baumbach,
contains photographs of all known Victor
There are more than
one hundred and forty different Victrolas
illustrated in this book.
When I turned to the picture portion of this book,
I found that there was information on
the Victrola XII and XIV but nothing for the
XIII. I asked him whether this gramophone
could be a Victrola X and if the three III's
could be number 111’s and part of the serial
number. He advised that the serial plate
clearly showed XIII and that the serial
number had only three digits.
I then looked at the production figures in the
front of the book and found that there were
only 662 of these gramophones produced
during 1920 and that there was "no known
illustration for this Victrola". I told him it
would appear that he owned a gramophone
which was extremely rare.
He brought the motor mounted to the motor
board and reproducer to me for repair and
overhaul. There was nothing unusual about
this repair. Both motor (large barrel with
two springs) and reproducer (Victrola 2) are
commonly found on Victor floor models.
Rick mailed photographs of his Victrola
XIII to Robert Baumbach who will include
a photograph of this gramophone in the
next revision of his book. The only
references to the Victrola XIII in the
current edition are in the introduction and
the Victor Talking Machine Production
Chart. According to Baumbach, the chart
was based on the notebooks of B.L
Aldridge, a Victor employee. His
notebooks give the only information on
this particular machine and was not
mentioned in any other Victor document.
Baumbach theorizes that the machine was
dropped for no better reason than its
unlucky number. It sold for $250.00 in
Rick placed an advertisement in the
Michigan Antique Phonograph Society
newsletter and received about ten inquiries
from collectors residing in various states.
He told me that he had bought this
gramophone from a furniture refinishing
store in the Barrie area for $350.00.
This was his very first gramophone.
Although Rick has since traded his Victrola
XIII, I am pleased to say that this
gramophone has remained in Canada.
It now belongs to a serious collector who
appreciates owning a very rare machine —
the only one known to be in existence in