Gramophone Needle Tins.
Click on the tin to see it rather larger.
Collecting gramophone needle tins is a flourishing branch of the acquisition& study of tins in general. It must have a name, like numismatics or philately – perhaps it’s stannology? But maybe that is the word for the study of the metallic element Tin itself? Anyway, I no longer collect them, though about 35 years ago, I had about 200 different ones. Those fell victim to the insatiable demands of Her Majesty’s Inland Revenue, and had to be sold en bloc to raise funds in order to placate them. Still, it’s impossible to collect & study 78 rpm records without occasionally coming across needle tins, or even finding the odd one that proves irresistible. Some pages on this website deal with early British Record labels, and quite a few of them marketed their own brand of needles. The temptation to collect ‘one of each’ is hard to resist, but we are doing pretty well so far. We contented ourselves with collecting the odd wooden needle box instead. There are of course fewer of those, and for some reason, the plain, unbranded boxes seem quite reasonably priced. The simpler type, namely a relatively large square box with a hinged lid, is actually far more convenient to use than a tin. How many times, while trying to get a needle out of a tin, have we uttered a harsh cry of agony, followed by a vile imprecation, as the sharp end of a needle inserts itself between a fingernail & the quick?
And how often has a hard-to-open tin suddenly flipped out of your hand, and sent its contents spilling all over the carpet! Indeed, the ‘All-U-Need’ tin above has five separate compartments each containing 50 needles. If all 250 spilled on the carpet, think not only of the trouble in picking them all up (a magnet is of course highly advisable for that), but also of sorting them out into each of their five different types! To be sure, two of the types in the tin are very distinctive, but the other three are quite similar. But even then, you would thank you lucky stars that the All-U-Need had, latterly, so few in it. I acquired this tin because Guardsman Records had their own version of it made, with an image of the Guardsman where indicated, as a sort of catalyst to induce an actual Guardsman one to turn up. There is an advert for them on the back of the May 1927 Guardsman catalogue, from which we learn that the All-U-Need above is but a dim and effete shadow of its predecessor, with its paltry 250 needles. No: the 1927 Guardsman All-U-Need Needle Outfit contained no less than nine hundred needles. Imagine picking all those up & sorting them out again! But I digress…
The reason for writing this short page is that recently, we tried inserting images of appropriate tins into our main label listing – a Winner tin along with images of Winner records, a Twin along with Twin records &c. After some time, I found the contrast between the round labels and the oblong tins was somehow irritating: they interfered, as it were, with the symmetry of the web-pages. Accordingly, they have all been removed, and put here. It’s true that there are still a few things on the label pages besides labels; but those are complementary to the label(s) illustrated. While the tins were, I suppose, supplementary. One tin, however, has been suffered to remain with its labels – the Exo. It was the first really scarce label I ever saw, in the late 1950s. And somebody else bought it. Grrh! It took fifty-odd years to come across another…
Page written 20th May 2012.
Re-formatted 20th December 2015.