Full steam ahead for scrap-metal gramophone

A music lover and steam train enthusiast says he has created the world's first steam-powered gramophone.

The novel machine took Geoff Hudspith four years and less than 100 to build using scrap metal.

The 51-year-old engineer from Christchurch, Dorset, wanted something to play his old 78rpm records.

He used spare parts from two old gramophones including a pickup arm from a 1922 Winner model.

He found the large horn in a garage where it had lain for 50 years and restored it to its original shade of green.

The gramophone runs on a single cylinder steam engine which is powered by a paraffin-fired boiler.

Water is pumped into the boiler by hand and using an injector. The water turns to steam which the engine uses to power a flywheel.

This flywheel then rotates the turntable with weights and springs keeping it at the correct speed of 78 revolutions a minute.

Once a needle goes down on a record, the sound is amplified by the horn, which also lets off steam, “so you get steamy, jazzy music,” Mr Hudspith said.

He added: “As far as I know it’s the only one in the world, certainly in recent times.”

Mr Hudspith has taken the gramophone to steam shows abroad and added: “It has brought out the showman in me. Having something to offer people is great because I love to give people entertainment. That is the real pay-off, to be surrounded by people with smiling faces.”

It is not Mr Hudspith’s first invention. The steam enthusiast invented the Hudspith Steam Bicycle in 2000 which now has a cult following among steam enthusiasts across Europe.

The steam bike also cost under 100, runs on unleaded petrol, and has a top speed of 20mph.