GARRARD 201: The first Transcription Turntable

1930: H.V. Slade decided that Garrard should design and manufacture a "Prestige" electric motor, the same as The Garrard Super Motor was for the spring motor era. This was an AC Induction motor, the Garrard 201.

“It had a die-cast aluminium rotor with a soft iron laminated insert which revolved around a stator having 30 coils, underneath each coil was a copper band around a stator pole, the copper bands generated the current to start the motor revolving and they were called starter bands. The rotor was fixed to the turntable spindle whose speed was controlled by a mechanical governor as had been used on spring gramophone motors.”

Here is a link to The Talking Machine Forum discussion about the Garrard 201

Garrard 201. 1930. (£4. 17s. 6d). The first transcription turntable.

It became popular with Hi-Fi enthusiasts and was used by the BBC, and other broadcasting stations and recording studios throughout the world. It was also used by cinemas and theatres to play gramophone records during intervals, replacing orchestras and organs.

In its earlier days it was reviewed simply as the Garrard Induction Motor. The two Garrard patents marked on the motor are 320729/1928 and 332547/1930 both for the governors.

  • It played only at 78rpm
  • AC (200-240v 40-60Hz) & (100-130v 40-60Hz)
  • Automatic stop
  • 12” plush covered turntable
  • Slow speed heavy rotor type

Garrard 201A Senior- Induction motor. (Early 1930’s price £4.)

  • As above
  • 33⅓ & 78 rpm
  • Supplied to BBC
  • Mounted on Florentine bronze motor plate
  • Speed indicator
  • Fully automatic starting and stopping

Garrard 201B- Early 1930’s prices.

  • As above
  • Optically-finished ball bearing on main spindle thrust
  • Improved governor design
  • “Central oiling point in top of main spindle, lubricates all bearings”
  • 201B/1- (£13.1s.8d) Single speed 78. Picture of this E.M.G Mk IX taken from Jim Falk's website
  • 201B/2- (£13.4s.3d) Two-speed 33⅓ and 78 rpm
  • 201B/3- (£13.6s.9d) Two-speed 33⅓ and 78 rpm with extended motor plate and speed lever to play 16” records
  • 201B/5- (1953 price £17. 1s. 0d + £7. 11s. 6d) Three speed 33⅓ & 45 & 78 rpm

Garrard 201: Made for export mainly to the American market.

  • 201-S: Single speed 78 rpm ($38)
  • 201-T: Two-speed 33 ⅓ and 78 rpm ($40)
  • 201-V: Two-speed 33 ⅓ and 78 rpm with extended motor plate to play 16” records

Garrard 201: Customized for the BBC

The Garrard 201 was the very first Transcription turntable and as such was taken up by the BBC throughout the U.K. These workhorses were often customized to suit fixed radio station and also for “on the field” work. Even these would be portable units were very heavy. Garrard most likely did the customization.