02) Vintage Metal Adapters


In this section, I’ll post the vintage metal adapters. Unlike many of the plastic ones, I at least have names for most of these. Trying to find out the company information gets a bit more challenging, but I’ll continue to search where I can for details.

 


It’s probably best to start with the very popular Webster-Chicago adapter. From what I’ve researched, this was invented by Frank A. Jansen and started manufacturing around 1950 by the Webster Electric Company of Chicago. These were likely the first adapters manufactured and sold in the USA. Patent #2585622 was applied for in 1949 and ultimately issued in 1952. The pictures below will show adapters before and after the patent was issued. These were made of tin and had four teeth. Two were facing the front of the adapter and two were facing the back of the adapter. There were two significant problems with this adapter. Firstly, they were extremely difficult in install and especially remove from records. Since they were so rigid, they could eventually warp or bend the record if left in long enough. Secondly, compared to the plastic adapters that had come out, they were much more expensive to manufacture. That is what ultimately caused the end of the Webster adapter. There are three variations for this adapter that I’m aware of. The first two I’ll show you were prior to 1952 and have “Patent Applied For” stamped on the back side. These are the most common ones found. The third adapter was after the patent was approved, and are a bit more scarce. Here is the first of the “pre-patent” adpaters. I’m showing both the fronts and backs.

Webster 1 Row 1

 

This is the second of the “pre-patent” adapters. The only difference appears to be the font used and the addition of the mold cavity number. It’s larger font and fills the area a bit more than the previous one shown. Not sure if this was made at a different time, or something as simple as a different mold being used.

webster 2 row 1

 

This is the adapter that includes the Patent number on the back side. They changed the verbiage on the front of the adapter from Webster-Chicago to Webcor, Inc. The adapter design itself did not change from the previous versions.

webcor row 1

 

I have no information to lead me to believe that this is a Webster adapter, but it’s so similar that I thought that I would add it here. This is called the Hevi-Weight. Like I said, it’s remarkably similar to the Webster style adapters that it makes me wonder if these two were somehow connected.

hevi-weight row 1

 


Here is a Tone King De-Luxe Adapter. The best way that I can describe this is that it is similar to the two piece Polydor adapter (the front and the back twist on to each other and lock into position), except that it’s obviously metal. It indicates that a patent was pending, but I haven’t been able to find anything on it. As far as Tone King itself goes, I have not yet been able to confirm the actual manufacturer of this adapter or even if they’re still in business. I am not aware of any other adapters with this stamp on it. Since this is the “De-Luxe” adapter, was there a “standard” model? 😉

Tone King

 


These are metal Snap-It adapters. I’ve seen two versions of this adapter. One branded Kay Music Company out of NY and the other Kirsch Music Corp, also out of NY. I don’t really know the story behind these two different brands, but it’s something I’ll research.

Snap It row 1

 


This is an interesting and quite rare adapter that I believe is from Brazil. It’s quite old and rusted, but I like that it’s rather unique. The metal adapter has three tabs cut into the adapter. To install this, you flip and wrap the three tabs around the inside edge which allows the adapter to mount to the record. I’m showing both sides of the adapter. If you look closely, you can see the tabs on the back of the adapter (the image on the right). Would love to find this adapter in better condition, but I’m quite excited to have located this one.

brazilian row 1

 


This is a metal SLG adapter from Chili. I really haven’t been able to come up with much on this company. The adapter (and others that I’ve seen) seem very cheaply made and definitely not designed with style in mind. They almost appear to be crudely made. There are two different markings on the one side of this adapter. The one is SLG and the other is MR. If anyone has any information on this adapter or company, please let me know.

slg row 1a

 


This is the metal Parker adapter. It has four notches for the drive pins. Two are pointed on the top while the other two are pointed downward. This would guarantee a lock with the other adapter no matter which direction the adapter was inserted into the 45. Not really sure of the history of this adapter or of the company itself. It’s on my list to try to figure out.

Parker Row 1

 


This is another metal adapter, this time by TAE. This adapter is somewhat similar to the Webster adapter, although this one appears to have more of a brushed appearance to it. I haven’t yet been able to find anything out about this company. This is the only adapter that I’ve seen with their name on it.

TAE Row 1

 


This metal adapter was very similar to the TAE, except this one had no markings. When I first received this, I was under the impression that it was a TAE adapter that had somehow just not been stamped or some other manufacturing issue. In doing some research, it appears that this might be an adapter from a Canadian company who obviously did their best to create an adapter similar to the TAE. More research is needed to verify all this information though.

Flat Row 1

 


This is the metal Pfanstiehl Push Up adapter. Due to cost issues, metal adapters had disappeared in the 50’s, but then in the 70’s Pfanstiehl Corporation built a high-end single adapter. This adapter would snap into any 45 without damaging the record (which happened quite often with the Webster adapters). The Pfanstiehl adapters were better at staying in the record and not popping out like the plastic adapters would do so often. Unfortunately, like the earlier metal adapters, these too were costly to manufacture.

Pfanstiehl Row 1

 


This is a Zafira adapter. I haven’t really been able to find much out about this company. I have been able to find samples of a stylus with their name so I assume they also manufactured replacement needles.

Zafira row 1

 


This is a Fideltone adapter. Fideltone opened for business in 1929 as a manufacturer and distributor of phonograph needles for record players and jukeboxes. When founder Arthur Olsen realized the need for a longer-lasting needle, Fideltone developed the Diamond Stylus, a high-quality needle. The Diamond Stylus was manufactured in Fideltone’s plants in the United States and Scotland and distributed around the world. As record players gave way to cassette players in the 1970’s, Fideltone became the exclusive private-brand parts distributor for the largest provider of product repair services in the United States. Fideltone continued to expand its repair service operations and soon became an international leader in parts distribution. I don’t know exactly when this adapter was manufactured, but I’m assuming it was in the 50’s, probably a little after the release of the Webster adapter.

Fideltone row 1

 


The best I have been able to determine (maybe with a little guessing thrown in), these two adapters are likely from Chili. They were purchased from that area and therefore would have most likely originated from there. They are not branded which makes exact identification quite difficult. Thanks to Zoli and his fantastic ability to find these unique adapters, and for hooking me up with both of these.


22 Comments

    • Well, like most of these adapters, they aren’t worth much except to the collector. There’s a few of us out there! I’ve paid up to $50 for a couple of these various adapters. I blame it on a time period where I was hungry for new adapters. I scooped up pretty much everything I could. It’s getting harder and harder to find anything that I don’t have these days.

  1. I found this medal medallion in a small drawer. I did not realize it as a 45 spindle adapter. I am from that era of the 50’s R&R beginnings. We didn’t have a record player until later 50’s. Still have it in the attic. I lived in Asbury Park and there was good luck medallions all over and I though the penny was missing as someone was collecting pennies. It was not until I opened your sight a day later and saw the WC Chicago with the Patent on back. My find has 4C on it. I thought it was a can opener for 4C Juice Drink like for picnics, ha. I remember the plastic but never seen one looking like a Good Luck Medallion with no penny.

  2. I had never seen a metal adapter before but, I have one that I got with a stack of old 45’s from a friend. The one I have is the Chicago-Webster Patent Pending one from above. I thought this was going to be that 1 little find that was going to make me rich! Better luck next time. That figures! Lol. Thanks so much for the 411.

    • LOL. I can’t even tell you how many times that’s happened to me! Sorry for the (VERY) late reply. A bunch of my messages went to an odd folder and I never saw them. Thanks. Bob

  3. Love the info. Lived and died by having the adapters at parties during the early “60s”. Even tried to fabricate one in a pinch with little success. Thanks for your efforts.
    Mike

  4. Hi, Bob; just a small comment:

    I grew up with the metal adapters, as I used them in the early 1960s to play my 45’s on my parents’ record player. The Webster metal adapters were, technically, not tin, but rather “pot metal”, a low-melting alloy of indeterminate composition that frequently includes such things as zinc, lead, bismuth, aluminum, copper, tin, magnesium, cadmium and sometimes even a bit of iron. Based on the color of your examples, I’m pretty sure there’s at the very least a significant zinc content. Pot metal was used because it was composed of whatever miscellaneous scraps of nonferrous metals could be had, most of which were notably cheaper than pure tin.

  5. Very interesting information, especially since I had never seen metal inserts. The 50’s was my era and I was only aware of the plastic version.
    I appreciate the research you’ve done and grateful you have shared this article.
    So, Thank You!!

    • Nope. I really wish I did because I get asked that a lot. It’s not easy! Sorry for the late reply. All my messages went to a random folder and I never saw them until now. Thanks! Bob

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