50s and 60s record players
Every teenager in the 50s and 60s wanted a radio and a record player. Pop music was sold via the singles chart and record players from that era were designed to play singles. Most were able to play stack of singles one after the other. Portable radios started out as bulky affairs with valves, but eventually the transistor took over the and shirt pocket radio became the 60s equivalent of the teenage mobile phone.
The popularity of music in the 50s and 60s ensured that the record player was just as popular as the radio. They were always referred to as "record players"; to use the old-fashioned term "gramophone" in the late 50s and early 60s marked you out as a member of the square, older generation. Record players had come a long way from the wind-up gramophones popular in the 20s. The most well-known make from the 50s was the Dansette. It was popular with the teenage market and was used to listen to the latest "rock'n'roll" hits.
This HMV, right, has the ubiquitous arm for playing several records one after the other. HMV was a pioneer from the horn gramophone days. Their symbol, featuring the famous dog Nipper, was a mark of quality. HMV players were considered some of the best available in the 60s.
Stereo record players
By the early sixties, stereo record players were available. This record player, left, by Champion, is from the early sixties. It is a portable set, but judging by the weight I wouldn't want to "port" it too far! The arm across the record allowed you to stack around five singles and play them one after the other.
This model has a BSR turntable. This was a common turntable used on record players at the cheap end of the market. More sophisticated stereo equipment was available, but aimed at a small, specialised market.
Can you buy a retro style record player today?
Zyon Wooden Retro Turntable
The Zyon retro style turntable offers the best of all worlds. It is a retro style wood finish record player, but you can also play CDs and cassettes on it. So if you have all three types of music then this is the ideal record player. It supports all formats of vinyl: 33rpm, 45rpm, 78rpm, LPs and singles. Also of compact dimensions it fits most spaces.
Can you buy genuine 60s style?
The answer is yes. Unbelievably, Steepletone make a wonderful looking sixties record player in black or red leatherette. It looks the part and has the arm mechanism for playing several records. At last someone has made a product that really looks like it could have been made in the sixties.
Annie Nightingale played her first record, Elvis's 'Hounddog' on the One Show using one of these record players players.
50s Jukebox style record player
If you prefer the 50s Jukebox look, check out this black and chrome finish beauty, right. It is also available in red and chrome.
This record player offers 3 speeds, and FM/AM radio and an MP3 player.
Buy old record players
A good place to buy old record players is the National Vintage Communications Fair. There is a good selection of stalls selling radios, record players and telephones. Unfortunately, it is only held once a year.
However, there is always a great selection of vintage record players on eBay. Dansette record players are synonymous with the 50s and early 60s when Rock'n'Roll was still popular. Other favourite makes were HMV, Philips, Ultra, Pye, Fidelity and Alba.
Condition is everything. Well restored and working record players can sell for £100 to £200. Look out for good quality leather cloth coverings and no missing trim.
Cheaper record players can be bought in working order for £50 to £80. Again look for overall good condition, but not perfect. They might not be serviced. You will need to make your own judgment about electrical safety.
Non working record players should be no more than £20 to £30.
Shop on eBay for:
Can you still buy vinyl records?
Answer, yes, there is a good selection on Amazon. You can get both new and used records. There are some classics there, such as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles White Album and Led Zeppelin.
Add your comments on record players
I've been let down by somebody and am desperate!
Can easily collect.
Sue" sue baxter 08/06/2010
could anyone please help me with what i can do to rectify the problem. I am so excited to have it, and now it wont work.
Simonne" simone Dale 21/08/2010
My question is, are these screw in legs still available, and do you know where from?
Many thanks, Dave" Dave 06/01/2011
Buyers of 1950s/60s record players should be aware that some of these used what is known in the radio trade as 'live chassis' amplifiers. The electrical safety of accessible metal parts such as the record deck and tone arm was 'assured' by the use of safety critical 'isolating capacitors' between the tone arm and the amplifier. These components are essential to the safety of the record player and are not easily checked for breakdown, or for degradation by contamination of decades of dust, etc., except by a skilled radio mechanic.
In general, if you cannot have the safety isolation competently checked, you should not today but a record player or the like, which may have a 'live chassis' design of amplifier. And, you should never use one in a damp or outdoor location." W. Riggs 03/09/2011
modal no. 3006. are thay worth anything?" Tom Peacock 16/09/2011
I'm looking for a record player that will play records without the centre hole taken out.
This is for my Granda for xmas, I know he is desperate to listen to his old records again. Any help greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks, Laura
(email@example.com)" Laura Hunt 15/11/2011
Have a 1960's record player red vinyl case
similar design to a Dansette the name on the front is "Marc Niphone" with a G Marconni label on the inside lid, has Gerrard deck.
Can't find any info about it can you help?
Gary" Gary 12/12/2011
Do you repair - or can you recommend someone who repairs - vintage record players?
I recently bought a 1970s portable record player (the brand is Brandt electronique - it's orange, the speakers convert into a lid and it has a carry handle).
However i cant get the turntable turning. There's no obvious "on" switch so I'm assuming the turntable is supposed to rotate automatically. However it isn't turning - even when a record is put on it or when the needle is moved onto it (which does cause an electronic humming sound). I've tried switching the spin speed - but it still isn't working.
Do you have any idea what the problem might be? Is it something you could potentially fix, and how much would it be likely to cost?
Would be a great help if you could help me find someone to repair this.
Thanks in advance.
Sabina" Sabina Smitham 14/12/2011
I look forward to hearing from someone
Sara" Sara 02/01/2012
Any hope of getting one ??
Ken" Ken Travis 10/01/2012
Does this have a cassette tape reocder? I don't think that Dynatron started making models with casette until 1972. Does it have a model number anywhere? Best regards" Steven Braggs 18/01/2012
Can anyone help or put me in touch with a knowledgeable repairer. I live in Scarborough, North Yorks." Erich Hanson 05/03/2012
Are you sure the model number isn't HF29?
best regards" Steven 21/07/2012
I remember these record players from when I was as school in the 70s, but I guess they were older. They has a wooden box with a circular grill.
They were made by Clarke and Smith and do come up on eBay from time to time. Expect to pay around £100, though.
best regards" Steven 21/07/2012
I am moving house and I don't want to keep moving it around as its not good for them." jason 23/07/2013
Ryan" Ryan 27/10/2013
Your guide to vintage and retro