Off the Beaten Path: Sound restoration

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – One Wabash Valley man used to spend his retirement wintering in warm climates.

Lately, though…he’s been staying close to home and working on a new hobby.

Less than a year ago, Jim Cooper found an old Victrola at a yard sale.

“Haven’t heard one play for a long time…I just love to hear the sound of them,” Jim said.

Click here for photos from Jim’s collection

So this skilled woodworker took it home, cleaned the gears, and started the process of refreshing this century old sound box.

“Yep. A lot of hard work…but I got started on them and I didn’t want to quit.”

And he hasn’t.

As one turned to two…two to three…now space has had to be cleared in Jim’s house and garage for 27 prized possessions.

“My wife says she’s getting jealous of Vicki. “Vicki-trola,” Jim said.

As far as love affairs go, this one is quite passionate.

“When you see the finished product and you know you took something that looked real bad and made it look nice and sound real good…you’re proud of it,” he told us.

And faithful for sure, about every two weeks a new relic is restored.

“This thing’s 100 years old and it’ll play for another hundred years, how many things can you get that you bought 100 years ago that you can use today. That’s one of the very few things you’ll ever see working that good…100 years old,” Jim said.

Sometimes people make history…

“If someone wanted to start a museum someplace, they’d have a good start right here.”

…and sometimes history makes people.


If you would like to contact Jim, you can call him at (812) 243-8269. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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