Author Topic: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console  (Read 12531 times)

Harbourmaster

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2015, 12:33:43 AM »
Soooo not to keep everyone hanging but we were successful in retrieving this console for Paul this morning!


After talking with the seller on Friday I decided that this 6 foot long behemoth was not going to fit easily into my little Subaru wagon so I rented a Uhaul Van and boy am I glad I did!


This console is a monster! Easily 300 pounds!!  I thought the VOM 1001 that we brought home 2 weeks ago was heavy at 252...  but this thing OMG!


The Owner lived in a courtyard apartment in Old LA (near the Silverlake area) and had warned me that there were some stairs at the front of the building, turns out there were a total of 9 concrete steps to navigate... Thank goodness there were a couple of neighbors around to help cause there is no way James and I could have managed this thing by ourselves!!


Any how we got the console to the house and unloaded. I fired up the trusty air compressor and blew the dust bunnies out before I took some pictures.
As you can see the overall condition is pretty good.


I'm sure that Paul will have a fun time overhauling this one and bringing it back to it's former glory!!


You can see all the photo's I took here:  https://picasaweb.google.com/applefanken/ColumbiaMasterwork?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCL_Y45jUsMySwQE&feat=directlink


Here are couple if you don't want to make the trip to Picasa
-- Aloha, Ken

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Harbourmaster

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2015, 12:38:47 AM »
here is a picture of the stairs...
-- Aloha, Ken

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624Magnificent

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2015, 06:42:26 AM »
That's amazing!!! What's the little screen in the middle? It looks like an SPL / frequency graph? Does it actually do anything??!!!
Tom

Pat L

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2015, 08:28:54 AM »
Ken, you have outdone yourself! The pictures are fantastic. Congratulations to Paul on obtaining such a rare and significant piece. Please continue to keep us all included as the story continues.


As to the weight, oh yea, probably 400 or 500 pounds. Everything on this beast it veneered 3/4 ply and in many areas it's doubled. The lower back cover is heavy plywood to create a sealed speaker chamber.


For people not familiar with the unit, all the visible chassis's are heavy gauge aluminum. The transformers are all huge and potted. The main amplifier is a Williamson circuit design with three 12AU7's and two 6L6 or 5881 outputs. The clock timer can turn the unit on or off and actually tape radio programs. The small round tube is an oscilloscope that shows signal strength when tuning the radio, and follows the frequency when in operation. I've only ever seen one other unit in this configuration. If my memory is correct there is another amplifier installed by Columbia behind the back panel. I think it has a pair of 6BQ5 output tubes in it.


When I say "installed by Columbia" what I mean is that this console was made by Bell and Howell and reconfigured as a Columbia after the music division of Bell and Howell was sold to them.  The front Columbia Masterworks plate is even covering up a silk screened Bell and Howell logo.


Paul, I have all the documentation for this including a 30 plus page Photofact that's not in the download center yet. Pat


Larry H

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2015, 09:30:41 AM »
Blonde cabinet is in amazing condition.
--Larry

amglow

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2015, 02:37:11 PM »
What can I say, I am just blown away!  Not only by the quality and uniqueness of this console, but by the assistance and graciousness of Harbourmaster and his son.  Ken I cannot thank you enough for the time and effort you put into retrieving this console for me.  You truly live by your signature statement, "No console left behind!"

For that matter, everyone on this forum is very helpful with their finds, techniques, documentation, etc. that facilitate the locating, documentation, and restoration of these fine examples of American creativity and engineering.

Now the task of shipping this monster back east in a safe and secure manner!  The story continues...
Paul

amglow

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2015, 02:43:01 PM »
Pat,  Thank you for uploading the operator and service manuals for the B&H/Columbia Masterworks consoles.  I cannot find those anywhere else on line. 

VintageHiFi.net maybe only a few months old, but the people, resources, and advice one can find here are priceless!  Thank you to all who put the time and effort into creating this wonderful site.
Paul

amglow

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2015, 02:56:30 PM »
Speaking of shipping, what are your recommendations, experiences with the various shipping companies out there?  Do any stand out in terms of service, safe delivery of goods, and reasonable cost? 

I've used uShip twice now for consoles that were located in the east, but I've never had anything shipped across the continent before.  uShip worked well, except you cannot rely on the shipper delivering according to the times of availability you leave in the quote notes.  That makes for a lot of stress and headaches.
Paul

Pat L

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2015, 04:16:40 PM »
Paul, as I have mentioned previously, I own one of these. Specifically, the model just under this one without the folding doors. When I purchased mine (from the grandson of the original owner) it was all there except for the original legs. They had been removed and replaced with rolling ball casters. I would very much appreciate pictures and measurements of the legs on this unit so that I may recreate a proper set for mine. I'm sure with that information I can fabricate a very authentic looking set.

I also have two extra sets of chassis's and parts for these that I found and purchased over the years. I betcha that I may have the largest Bell & Howell console parts collection in the world. I have only seen 5 of these for sale in the last 5 years nationwide. They are quite rare.

amglow

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2015, 04:22:07 PM »
Pat, I remember you mentioning the original legs were missing on your.  One of the first things I thought of was getting images and dimensions for you.  I figured you'd be interested in that information.
Paul

amglow

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2015, 05:46:17 PM »
When I say "installed by Columbia" what I mean is that this console was made by Bell and Howell and reconfigured as a Columbia after the music division of Bell and Howell was sold to them.  The front Columbia Masterworks plate is even covering up a silk screened Bell and Howell logo.

Pat, did Columbia ever make the electronics for these consoles themselves, or contract Bell & Howell to make them, as long as they kept them in production?  Or did they just use up the stock of electronic components that Bell & Howell had produced until exhausted, with minor changes like the addition of the second amp to power the satellite speakers?  I did notice that Columbia switched out the Bell & Howell made reel to reel for one of their own, which looks like a Voice of Music R2R.  Also, the Garrard RC80 record changer was updated to the RC88/4.
Paul

Pat L

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2015, 06:15:46 PM »
That's a great question Paul, and I'm not entirely sure. I have three of the Bell & Howell amps. Each one is slightly different from the others, in fact one is wired in ultralinear mode and the other is not, even though the transformer has the windings for it. I'm not sure about the one in my console as I've never removed it. I'm keeping the console 100% intact until such time as I begin its restoration.


Each amplifier has the date of production hand written on them in pencil (mine range from 1955-57). We should be able to check the markings on yours and determine if it was made before the Columbia acquisition in late 57. Bell & Howell was headquartered in Chicago, but I don't know definitively where the consoles were made. I know the large potted transformers were sourced in Chicago, but that's about all I'm sure of. I'm hoping by looking at the date and production codes on yours for the tubes, amps, and speakers some answers will be forthcoming. I should also mention the speakers in the consoles are Jensens, the drivers are 12" standard grade models (at least in mine) and the horns are cast metal RP103's. Pat

amglow

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2015, 08:30:33 PM »
All the "Columbia Masterwork" tagged versions of the Bell & Howell HiFi sets, that I have seen, had the name tag screwed on the front panel to the lower left of the tuner.  Pat, I haven't had the close up look to see if the "Bell & Howell High Fidelity" silk screen is under the tag.  Have you been able to verify that with yours?

The reason I ask is I was just perusing the web, looking for any more information on these sets, when I happened across the attached images.  The image of interest is the one showing a silk screen of the "Columbia Masterwork High Fidelity" nomenclature where the screw on tag used to be.  I am assuming this may be a later production unit that Columbia produced or, at least, the spares of the Bell & Howell stock were exhausted.

I also just noticed something else.  It's a little hard to tell, but it looks like the screwed on knob and jack identifier plate on the tagged versions of the console were also replaced on this silkscreen version of the console.  At least I don't see the metal plate under the equalizer/ oscilloscope in the image of this console.
Paul

amglow

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2015, 08:56:26 PM »
Another interesting item, I found, from a 2003 auction.  An EBONY cabinet version of the console!
Paul

Harbourmaster

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Re: CL: Bell & Howell in Disguise? Columbia Masterworks Console
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2015, 09:09:02 PM »
WOW!  That really looks striking in the Ebony finish with the brass door trim highlights!
-- Aloha, Ken

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