Maleville Company


Maleville was a French mail-order company from Libourne in the Gironde province (south-western France).

Characteristic of Phenix models is the special circular speed adjuster, as well as its odd sized cylinders. Many "Phenix" models play only their own sized cylinders, who's size is slightly smaller than the "Inter" format. A special sleeve was available that fit over the Phenix mandrel and allowed inter cylinders to be played.

Here one can see that not only were the Phenix cylinders a few millimeters smaller on the outside diameter, but also thicker than a comparative Pathe Inter cylinder. This resulted in Phenix cylinders only being able to be played on Phenix machines, bit with a thin mandrel adaptor, Pathe cylinders could be played on a Phenix phonograph. Cylinders were stored in dark blue containers with the tune lable on the lid.

Model 1902

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Model 1903

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In Winter 1902, Maleville too out full-page advertisements, praising its new technical wonder-work. The new model "Phénix" phonograph could be hear in free nature at 500 meters distance, clear and loud. Indoors, it could be adapted tothe acoustic of each room and never cease to amaze the human ear. And in addition, it was claimed, the special Phénix-cylinders sounds at least six time better then any other cylinder.

The "Phénix" costs 154 French francs, payable by 22 monthly instalments of 7 French francs. Included in the delivery was twenty cylinders.

Model 1904

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Model -Standard Cylinder player with nickled base

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Phenix also produced phonographs for standard size cylinders - probably in the realization that producing a phonograph that could only play proprietry sized cylinders was somewhat limiting on sales.

The standard size players missed the unique speed dial, but are none the less easily recognisable

The horn/reproducer support ran underneath the mandrel, with the feedscrew at the rear. The horn was supported on a metal arm that was removable for packing the machine away, and could be adjustable in length. The machine was equipped with an aluminium horn and floating reproducer.

There was a fairly complicated mechanism to engage the feedscrew while at the same time lowering the reproducer onto the wax cylinder.

As one turned the lowering lever, the feedscrew at the rear was engaged, and simultaneously an eliptical gear also adjusted a wire reproducer support, lowering the reproducer onto the record. Simple but effective. The carraige arm on these models was made of pot metal which disintegrates over time. the above model, though needing some restoration to remove the surface rust from a long time in a barn, has the arm in unaffected condition.

A slightly more expensive similar was also offered but with a black jappanned base plate and a walnut case. (as opposed to this model with an oak case)


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