BERLINER Registry Project

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The Registry  

Our aim is to create a comprehensive overview of the evolution of each step in the Berliner Phonograph history.

The challenge we had was: How to have a system where each model can be listed with a way to enter data about that model, but where other people with more info could add their info. Also where owners of similar machines could register the serial numbers of their machines so everyone who was interested could see how many of that particular model survive. Also if possible, some price guidance. Would prefer a system that allowed confidentiality.

Even over 100 years after the heyday of the Berliner machines, and the revolution they helped to create, there is still no 100% clarity to exactly all the types of Berliners and early Gramophones and Victors that were produced. Interesting and exciting variations still are being discovered; from a gold plated model, to a Trademark style Compagnie Francaise machine made of Mahogany with a semi-open spring barrel that appears to be a factory modification to allow for a larger spring to be used!

With the desire to try to create some rational overview of the early days of flat records, as well as to create some kind of 'Registry' where owners of different machines can post details of their Berliner and so share knowledge about these incredible machines, and try to determine some kind of a survival rate. With more transparency through this approach we can build a community of owners to promote the preservation & acquisition of these machines. Restorers can locate people with similar machines for advice on replacement parts, and collectors know other collectors to whom they could sell the 'unfindable' machines knowing that they go to a good home.

After a long search for a suitable software to fulfill our percieved needs (and desire for a high level of confidentiality) we found an online system that thought the same way we do. Thus for our project we will be co-operating with the "Repository of Manufactured Items". They are not only doing Berliner but also the whole field of recorded music and music machines, as well as practically everything else.

So it makes a lot of sense that we use their infrastructure as it serves our purpose and has an added value to many others as well.

You can find ROMFI here

(list all Categories) > Music Reproduction > Phonograph-Disk > ....and then select a manufacturer, eg. Berliner, Victor etc.

To post items you need to register, but its free. If you have a Gramophone / phonograph type thats not listed you need to send the item to They also digitize catalogs as the basis for a reference, so they say that scanned original catalogs are also accepted.


Quick Tutorial (taken from the ROMFI handbook)


This feature has a multiple purpose.
- Track surviving items & thus allow a more detailed research
- Sharing Knowledge with the world
- Builds up a detailed private inventory of ones own collection

How does one submit an item that one has?

Firstly there has to be a main PRODUCT page about that item. If you have an item and do not find a main PRODUCT page dealing with that item, then you can, as the first step, submit the CATEGORY definition into ROMFI, and then a main PRODUCT page. (You can read about this in the other menu topics)

On each Product page one sees the following buttons:

To each main Product can be added examples of that product; in ROMFI terms these are called Items. Thus for example if the product detailed is a "1925 Model T Ford Phaeton" and you have a 1925 Model T Ford Phaeton, you can click on the "Yes I have one" button and enter details of your item here.

Serial Number: if the item has one please enter it, or else leave blank

Condition: a pull down menu. Please click here to see Condition definitions

Distinguishing Marks: an overview description of how the item looks, scratches, dents etc

Features: Anything special about the machine, customisations, or any other special information

Provenance(*): History of the object, where you bought it

Picture 1 & 2 : upload pictures of your item

What I Paid (*): 1-enter price, 2-enter the currency 3-the exchange rate to Dollars will calculate automatically

What its worth(*): Your estimation of the value, so that you can see the real value of your collection. (You see this in the "My Collection" area)

Date Acquired(*): A way for you to record when you bought the item, as well as a value adding feature for the ROMFI aggregated price analysis so that it can be studied how the prices of items develops over time.

(*) These fields can only be seen by you in your private "My Collection" feature

Once you have completed entering the data press ADD and your item data is stored in ROMFI. The submission will not be immediately online as it will first be vetted (against spam & spuriousness). This usually occurs within 48 hours.