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MMD > Archives > August 1998 > 1998.08.28 > 15Prev  Next

Making Cactus Phonograph Needles
By Bill Finch

During the war (W.W.II) we lived in a rented house and the landlady's
daughter, Vivian, had a wind-up acoustic phonograph.  Vivian told me
that I could play her records but that I had to supply my own needle.
Vivian was 16 and had to buy her needles with her allowance.  I was 10
and had no allowance.

To make a long story short I experimented with cactus needles.  The
sound was fairly mellow and they lasted for about two plays.  I found
that I could extend the life to about five plays if I soaked them in
shellac for about a week and then baked them in my mother's oven for
about 15 minutes.  The sound from these treated needles was fairly

I ended up giving a batch to Vivian in trade for her copy of "Der
Fuhrer's Face" by Spike Jones.  (You really had to be there at that
time to appreciate it).  I still have the record and an aspirin tin
full of treated cactus needles.

Bill Finch

(Message sent Fri 28 Aug 1998, 20:35:31 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Cactus, Making, Needles, Phonograph

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