New Portable Phonographs

Two new portables are fixed and ready to leave the house of Phonogray!

This portable suitcase phonograph has been completely cleaned, restored and tested to work. Made by Vanity Fair and dating to the late 1940s or early 1950s, the unit operates with a standard electrical plug that is in excellent condition. It is a child’s phonograph, and was originally intended as a toy.

The unit operates with the red on/off switch, located beneath the arm. The turntable is original red flocked material. Included is an antique Victrola needle tin, featuring Nipper the dog listening to a phonograph. The needle tin has been secured to the motor board so that you may carry needles with you. 50 needles are included, so this unit is ready to play on arrival.

The outside has been completely restored, cleaned and clear coated. Reproduction vintage luggage stickers have been hand-cut and securely affixed to the outside of the unit. Interested? This phonograph is listed on etsy.

Oh, goodness. Are you ready for the next little beauty? I think Reese and I spend about 10 hours of combined work reviving this record player. It had sat in an attic for 40 or so years, but now it’s put back together and sounds amazing!

This portable phonograph was made by Birch in the late 1920s or early 1930s. It is very cute with lots of character. It has been gone through and been completely restored. It is a hand-cranked model, so it requires no electricity – making it perfect for parties, picnics, and electrical blackouts.

The motor has been completely disassembled, cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The motor runs very quiet and appears to have little wear. The soundbox was adjusted, and plays at a very loud volume, even with medium tone needles.

All hardware has been polished, and the hinges on the back have been replaced. The stop bar is fixed, and the turntable fabric has been replaced with red felt. The record box on the inside cover latches to transport & store records. An antique Victor needle box featuring Nipper the dog listening to a Victrola has been securely installed under the arm to store needles. There is also a second needle cup with a hinged top that may be used to store used needles. This unit includes 50 needles.


The inside motorboard and outside has been cleaned and clear coated. All loose fabric has been glued down and clear coated over. Reproduction vintage luggage stickers have been securely glued and clear coated on the outside of the portable.

This record player plays 78 RPM records only. The crank threads into the hole near the handle, and the unit must be cranked 20-30 times to play a record. Unit stops with stop bar near the arm. Interested? This record player is available on etsy.

Hand-painted & Funny Phonographs


Hand painted floral phonographs from ebay sellers.

This machine has baby heads in it. BABY HEADS!!!! I told some friends recently that I would consider getting married just so I could request a machine like this on my registry. I already have mismatched antique dishes & linens, why not request heirlooms and strange sculptures, instead?

Laugh laugh phonograph record, taken by my friend Sam on her trips this summer.

Men singing through tiny megaphones on stage.

My sister, Shannon, models with my pretend-a-phone a few years back. When I first got interested in these machines, I ordered a replica one off of ebay (They are produced in Pakistan). I think it was around $150, and I was thrilled to death with it at first. It never worked very well, and the springs broke entirely only a year after I had it. It’s been sitting in my bedroom as a sculpture ever since. Sometimes I would stick my iPhone in the horn and let the speakers sing out through the bell. Reese and I took apart the reproducer last week, and it was made of tinfoil inside!! TINFOIL!! No wonder it sounded so bad!

Phonograph Player – Dancing Feet from Amelia Raley on Vimeo. In this video from a two years ago, you can see the pretend-a-phone at work. Notice how loud it is when I’m cranking it? The surface noise is pretty severe, and the crank makes a squeaking noise when wound. I had to keep winding it because the speed wouldn’t stay constant. Hope you enjoy my silly dancing 🙂
Anyway, the pretend-a-phone is off to greener pastures. I’ve constructed an Elizabethan style ruff out of the horn, and it awaits a long-anticipated photoshoot with Darla Teagarden!

Driskill Hotel Photoshoot

 Photographer John Leach took our portrait for the front of The Chronicle this fall for the “Best Of Austin” edition. The out takes from the photoshoot at the historic Driskill Hotel downtown were just too good not to share!
Here’s our cover, and our award, “Best Reason to Learn the Charleston” took us by surprise! The Austin Chronicle is very secretive about covers… we were both under the impression that we were doing a shoot for John’s portfolio for a photo contest. Imagine my surprise when I went to get coffee on Thursday morning and saw us grinning from the cover!

The Driskill Hotel was built in 1886 and is one of the most gorgeous places in Austin. Marble floors, elegant antique furniture, and a glass domed ceiling create a perfect backdrop for a vintage photoshoot.

The Driskill is rumored to be haunted, and a naughty ghost paid us a visit during the shoot. While we were posing at this window, a glass flew off an antique wooden hutch and loudly smashed into a million pieces on the floor. Spooky!

Come play with us… forever and ever and ever…