Having recently gone to a phonograph and record show in Lincoln Park, New Jersey. I had a friend who was there for the 1st time and made a very interesting observation.
1. Why do we collect these old records and machines?
2. Who is into collecting the same?
3. Why do I see a very wide grouping of people. All sorts of temperaments.
4. Whats the attraction?
When faced with these four questions I had to think why people collected records or machines.
I could say that there are machine people and record people. The machine people will play a 1947 Tommy Dorsey record on a Victor V. To them that is fine. However, to a record person it is sacrilege. So these two camps rarely clash as each is on their own quest .. One for machines, the other for records. For the machine collectors it is often the thrill of seeing the machine run. To make a sound or play a record. What the record is, is really not of great concern. But the action and the operation of the machine is paramount.
I said that there are some record collectors who are purists and will play the records on no other machine than what they were made for. The Victor Victrola will play the Victor records , Columbia's on a Graphonola, and Edison's on what will play them. etc.
There are some record collectors who are condition minded. Who will only play a record from 1905 with a light armed turntable. The idea of playing an early record on one of those machines makes them shake their heads with amazement.
There are also those who are parts of both camps. The moon is the limit with this group as they have all kinds of opinions. But this the largest group. They love the history. They love to see the machine play. They love to hear the records.
But in ending my answer for this person I said basically it is a fun hobby, educational for many, and it brings one back to a time so long gone. There is something secure in listening to a record made in 1900. We know the history, we know the piece and the so called idealistic life back them. It is good to be reassured from the past that tomorrow might not be as bad as we think.
So all different types of collectors exist and I have not covered all of them either. But all of them get together and although they all have various opinions and likes, they have a lot of fun together with their hobby.