Orpheus Silex information please..

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Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by cafe latte » 03 Mar 2019 01:23

Hi everyone,
As many know I have one of these turntables in my collection, currently has a Hadcock arm on it with my Stanton 881 and sounds great.
The Orpheus Silex down under is known to be the first suspended turntable, but not according to the history book, possibly as it was produced on the other side of the world. Orpheus I read a while ago was produced from early to mid 50's but cant find the link and I seem to remember finding a date on my of 1956 but to be sure would need to remove it from the plinth which does not appeal.
I know a lot about my Commonwealth, my Lenco and my Technics but very little about the Orpheus. Dont know production date, dont know any mods or really anything about it apart it is belt and idler and produced in Aus and it is suspended and a very early example of suspended.
Anyone got any info or documents etc?
Just curious.
Cheers
Chris

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by smee4 » 03 Mar 2019 01:37

I don't have any more info, but I always thought that they probably discounted the Orpheus when deciding which came first, because it is not the same sort of suspension as, for comparison, the AR , or the Linn, with their super soft springs. Instead the Orpheus is rubber mounted at the three points.

As an aside, there are much later turntables that are 3 point suspended that never get mention, such as the Yamaha P-17, which combines rubber and springs for a much firmer suspension. I always disliked the AR (I had one) and similar because I lived in wooden houses and they always skipped when I walked around.

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by AudioFeline » 03 Mar 2019 02:58

There is not a lot of history on these turntables. It is unfortunate that there is little history and information on the world-class turntables which were made in Australia in that era - The Orpheus, Commonwealth, Byer, Rola, and the very obscure Austral Argo. There was (and still is) so much audio history being made here, but is not recognised because it appears that history is written in the northern hemisphere.

I've spent a lot of time on the internet trying to discover history related to this wonderful turntable, but as you will see below I have come up with very little. If more info is available, it needs to be shared!

The Orpheus is the earlier turntable in the square metal plinth, I don't think it's suspended. The Orpheus Silex has the wonderful curved shape, and introduced the "mushroom" arm to mount the tonearm onto the suspension. It was in production from the 150's to (I think) the late 60's. The motor changed from a 4-pole motor to a 2-pole motor in the latter models. Whilst most came out in the grey hammertone finish, some square Orpheus had a bronze hammertone, and I believe some Silexes came in a green and bronze hammertone.

Original plinths appear to be made from thin ply. They were commonly sold with an all-balance arm.

VanArn worked for the distributor and posts some info on the history here:
http://www.stereo.net.au/forums/index.p ... 2?hl=silex

VanArn and Metrik post more info on the history here
http://www.stereo.net.au/forums/index.p ... urntable/

And here is an avertisement (top left corner) and advertorial (centre) for the Siles, from The Age, Nov 23 1961.
https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... 381/source

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by cafe latte » 03 Mar 2019 03:27

smee4 wrote:
03 Mar 2019 01:37
I don't have any more info, but I always thought that they probably discounted the Orpheus when deciding which came first, because it is not the same sort of suspension as, for comparison, the AR , or the Linn, with their super soft springs. Instead the Orpheus is rubber mounted at the three points.

As an aside, there are much later turntables that are 3 point suspended that never get mention, such as the Yamaha P-17, which combines rubber and springs for a much firmer suspension. I always disliked the AR (I had one) and similar because I lived in wooden houses and they always skipped when I walked around.
The patent for suspended for AR states springs rubber or foam supported on a three point spider etc etc the design is the same Orpheus uses either foam or rubber, mine has foam. The principal from what I can determine Orpheus got there first, it was just invented on the wrong side of the world.
Chris

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by AudioFeline » 03 Mar 2019 11:31

In 1957 there was the Orpheus Model C Mark 2. Black square plinth, the speed on/off knobs are aluminum, 3 speed [info from an ebay ad]

The "square" grey hammertone Orpheus with the non-metal knobs (as per the latter Silex model) is the "Type D".

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by smee4 » 03 Mar 2019 11:35

cafe latte wrote:
03 Mar 2019 03:27
smee4 wrote:
03 Mar 2019 01:37
I don't have any more info, but I always thought that they probably discounted the Orpheus when deciding which came first, because it is not the same sort of suspension as, for comparison, the AR , or the Linn, with their super soft springs. Instead the Orpheus is rubber mounted at the three points.

As an aside, there are much later turntables that are 3 point suspended that never get mention, such as the Yamaha P-17, which combines rubber and springs for a much firmer suspension. I always disliked the AR (I had one) and similar because I lived in wooden houses and they always skipped when I walked around.
The patent for suspended for AR states springs rubber or foam supported on a three point spider etc etc the design is the same Orpheus uses either foam or rubber, mine has foam. The principal from what I can determine Orpheus got there first, it was just invented on the wrong side of the world.
Chris

Could be.

The suspension on the AR I had was mostly 3 adjustable springs. There was a block of foam chucked inside each spring, for some damping, I presume.

My Orpheus actually has cutout bits of rubber thong (footwear). Previous owner had a sense of humour - or inventiveness :)

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by AudioFeline » 03 Mar 2019 11:37

The Orpheus Silex patent can be downloaded from: https://patents.google.com/patent/US3048408
Filed Aug. 28, 1959, Patented Aug. 7, 1962....
3,048,408
TURNTABLES OF RECORD PLAYERS
George Leonard Morgan, 3 Ballater St., Essendon, near
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Filed Aug. 28, 1959, Ser. No. 836,746
Claims priority, application Australia Sept. 1, 1958
8 Claims. (6!. 274-39)

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by cafe latte » 03 Mar 2019 11:44

AudioFeline wrote:
03 Mar 2019 11:37
The Orpheus Silex patent can be downloaded from: https://patents.google.com/patent/US3048408
Filed Aug. 28, 1959, Patented Aug. 7, 1962....
3,048,408
TURNTABLES OF RECORD PLAYERS
George Leonard Morgan, 3 Ballater St., Essendon, near
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Filed Aug. 28, 1959, Ser. No. 836,746
Claims priority, application Australia Sept. 1, 1958
8 Claims. (6!. 274-39)
That is still before the AR patent and the Orpheus was supposed to have been used in the 1956 Olympics.
When did production really start...??
CHris

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by cafe latte » 03 Mar 2019 11:46

AudioFeline wrote:
03 Mar 2019 11:31
In 1957 there was the Orpheus Model C Mark 2. Black square plinth, the speed on/off knobs are aluminum, 3 speed [info from an ebay ad]

The "square" grey hammertone Orpheus with the non-metal knobs (as per the latter Silex model) is the "Type D".
Sure mine is 1956, just dont want to pull the plinth to find out.
Chris

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by AudioFeline » 03 Mar 2019 12:11

cafe latte wrote: Sure mine is 1956, just dont want to pull the plinth to find out.
Chris
Chris, which model do you have - my recollection from a pic you posted of your tt's in another thread is that you have the Orpheus Silex (with the curved hammertone plinth). I don't recall the date being on the unit, where about on your tt do you recall seeing the date? My Silex is out of it's base and I can't see a date on it's underside.

cafe latte wrote:
03 Mar 2019 11:44
That is still before the AR patent and the Orpheus was supposed to have been used in the 1956 Olympics.
When did production really start...??
CHris
The Orpheus (square plinth) may have been used in the 1956 Olympics, but I doubt the Silex (curved plinth) was used in the Olympics. Do you have a source for this?

The pic I have for the Orpheus Model C (the black plinth) says "Patents Pending, Registered Design" but I can't see any date. The 1957 date is from the ebay ad description. I have a pic of an advert for the square Orpheus (non-Silex) from the publication "Radio, Television & Hobbies" March 1957. So I doubt the Silex model was around in this year.

The patent for the Silex was filed Aug 1959. So this would suggest production of the Silex model began somewhere between March 1957 and Aug 1959. The above Age advert I posted confirms the Orpheus Silex model was being sold in 1961. I have a feeling that given what little info survive, that will be as close as we can get at this stage.

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by cafe latte » 03 Mar 2019 12:59

AudioFeline wrote:
03 Mar 2019 12:11
cafe latte wrote: Sure mine is 1956, just dont want to pull the plinth to find out.
Chris
Chris, which model do you have - my recollection from a pic you posted of your tt's in another thread is that you have the Orpheus Silex (with the curved hammertone plinth). I don't recall the date being on the unit, where about on your tt do you recall seeing the date? My Silex is out of it's base and I can't see a date on it's underside.

cafe latte wrote:
03 Mar 2019 11:44
That is still before the AR patent and the Orpheus was supposed to have been used in the 1956 Olympics.
When did production really start...??
CHris
The Orpheus (square plinth) may have been used in the 1956 Olympics, but I doubt the Silex (curved plinth) was used in the Olympics. Do you have a source for this?

The pic I have for the Orpheus Model C (the black plinth) says "Patents Pending, Registered Design" but I can't see any date. The 1957 date is from the ebay ad description. I have a pic of an advert for the square Orpheus (non-Silex) from the publication "Radio, Television & Hobbies" March 1957. So I doubt the Silex model was around in this year.

The patent for the Silex was filed Aug 1959. So this would suggest production of the Silex model began somewhere between March 1957 and Aug 1959. The above Age advert I posted confirms the Orpheus Silex model was being sold in 1961. I have a feeling that given what little info survive, that will be as close as we can get at this stage.
Re date dont know where I thought I saw it maybe motor, but dont what to pull it down to find out. Re Olympics I have been looking for reliable info for this turntable since I bought it and this is what this thread is about, as most of what I have is internet BS. I do know (need to find the darn thing again) that the AR patent was spring rubber and foam and it was AFTER the Orpheus Aus patent so this proves to me at least that Orpheus suspended subcassis came first just ned to find links now..
Re 1959 patent date this would still put it before AR springs, rubber or foam..
Chris

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by AudioFeline » 04 Mar 2019 00:22

cafe latte wrote:
03 Mar 2019 12:59
Re date dont know where I thought I saw it maybe motor, but dont what to pull it down to find out. Re Olympics I have been looking for reliable info for this turntable since I bought it and this is what this thread is about, as most of what I have is internet BS. I do know (need to find the darn thing again) that the AR patent was spring rubber and foam and it was AFTER the Orpheus Aus patent so this proves to me at least that Orpheus suspended subcassis came first just ned to find links now..
Re 1959 patent date this would still put it before AR springs, rubber or foam..
Chris
I haven't seen any date under my Silex, and didn't see one when I had a quick check last night. There was no info plate on the motor like some motors have. The second link I posted above to the SNA forum has a lengthy discussion about the first sprung TT debate, including the Silex and AR, you might find some answers there.

It would be wonderful if more info came to light about these (and other early Australian) turntables. They need more recognition.

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by cafe latte » 04 Mar 2019 09:28

AudioFeline wrote:
04 Mar 2019 00:22
cafe latte wrote:
03 Mar 2019 12:59
Re date dont know where I thought I saw it maybe motor, but dont what to pull it down to find out. Re Olympics I have been looking for reliable info for this turntable since I bought it and this is what this thread is about, as most of what I have is internet BS. I do know (need to find the darn thing again) that the AR patent was spring rubber and foam and it was AFTER the Orpheus Aus patent so this proves to me at least that Orpheus suspended subcassis came first just ned to find links now..
Re 1959 patent date this would still put it before AR springs, rubber or foam..
Chris
I haven't seen any date under my Silex, and didn't see one when I had a quick check last night. There was no info plate on the motor like some motors have. The second link I posted above to the SNA forum has a lengthy discussion about the first sprung TT debate, including the Silex and AR, you might find some answers there.

It would be wonderful if more info came to light about these (and other early Australian) turntables. They need more recognition.
Yes I need to have more of a read of those links, but from what I have read so far there is still big holes in the information, even production dates.
You are right though the Silex is a very under appreciated turntable that sounds very good indeed.
Chris

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by circularvibes » 04 Mar 2019 16:36

I have been admiring this site for a few years now. http://www.oneillassociates.com.au/~pon ... udio.shtml While it doesn't contain any Orpheus Silex info, it may be worthwhile to email asking if he has any info.

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Re: Orpheus Silex information please..

Post by AudioFeline » 04 Mar 2019 21:39

The ONeill site is the primary reference for Commonwealth and Byer turntables and other early Australian professional equipment, and is a site which I am grateful for. Unfortunately, like the Orpheus, very little info on those Australian turntables (and other equipment) exists. It is a part of Australian history which deserves better documentation and preservation. If anyone comes across any info, please scan and share.

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