In 1925 both Victor and Columbia licensed the Western Electric process
for electrical recording. Victor's Orthophonic Victrolas were
introduced at the same time as the new records, and had some other
Western Electric innovations: exponential shaped horns, and an improved
reproducer, which made them the first truly high fidelity phonographs.
The Credenza was the "Cadillac" of the line, having a 4-spring motor
and the largest horn. The horn has an air column 10 feet long, and is
folded in order to squeeze it into a reasonable size cabinet, hence the
"double" mouth. It has bass response down to about 100 Hz, and was the
best "Hi Fi" of its time.
The reason Western Electric designed an acoustic player was that it was
more economical and practical than an electric player could have been
at that time. Loudspeakers were in their infancy, and an adequate
power amplifier would have been quite expensive. Electric phonos were
introduced a few years later, but it took a while for them to catch up
to the Credenza for volume or sound quality.
The first electric Victor records were also called Orthophonic, and
are the ones with the fancy scrollwork bordering the labels. Columbia
called theirs "Vivatonal".
Playing these contemporary records on a Credenza is quite an
experience. Since it was the "reference monitor" of the time, the
recordings complement its characteristics nicely, and really sound
good. As Martin Anderson noted, the machine is downright loud, and
will fill a good sized room.