This is a legandary WEATHERS tonarm, the invention of the late Paul
Weathers of Barrington N.J.
This is a very rare and complete legendary Weathers wooden tone arm (type
MM-1 ?) believed to be manufactured starting in 1955 by Weathers
Industries, INC., 66 E Gloucester Pike , Barrington N.J., USA. The
principle the Weathers pickup worked was revolutionary. The stylus
modulated an FM signal which then was demodulated and feed into the an
amplifier. The Weather cartridge could only work in combination with the
Weathers Power Supply & Oscillator model P-650 .
I do have not only the tone arm and the Power Supply & Oscillator, I also
have the complete paperwork with this rare wooden tonearm which explains
the setup and operation of the turntable, cartridge, Oscillator P-650, and
pre-amp P-662. There are also circuit diagrams included as well as
Frequency response of the Weathers R-501.
This tone arm was the first which would work with only 1 gram of pressure
to the record. The function of the Weathers FM cartridge is described as
follows at the following URL:
The less work the stylus must do, the more accurate the pickup can be. In
magnetic, dynamic and piezo-electric pickups the electric signal is
generated by the motion of the stylus itself, which requires a certain
minimal bulk. Even with the most careful engineering a vertical pressure
of four to eight grams is necessary to make such pickups work properly,
and the moving mass of the stylus must remain a measurable quantity. If
you could design a pickup, though, in which the signal voltage was already
there, and the motion of the stylus would merely modify it, then...
Then you would approach the perfect pickup. Literally hundreds of
patent applications have been filed on such designs, and a few such
pickups have actually been manufactured. The most successful of
them is the Weathers, which is called a "capacitance" pickup because
engineers enjoy using such words, or an "FM" pickup because it works
similarly to FM broadcasting. Briefly, the works of the Weathers pickup
consist of a fixed metal plate onto which is fed a very rapidly
oscillating charge, and a free-floating plate which in rest position
stands parallel to its neighbor, a tiny air gap away. The floating plate
is attached to the stylus. As the stylus traces the wiggles in the groove
of a spinning record, it causes the floating plate to flutter toward and
away from the charged plate. As the air gap expands and contracts, the
oscillating current is modulated by the frequency of the vibration of the
The Weathers pickup cannot be bought alone. You also need the
Weathers box with the oscillator which feeds the unmodulated and
detects the modulated current, the way a radio tuner detects an FM
broadcast. The combination costs $40 with a sapphire or $55 with a
diamond stylus. Since the Weathers will not operate properly in any
tone arm but its own, you had better add $15 for the arm and buy the
package. The advantages of the Weathers are numerous. Since it tracks at a
pressure of only one gram, it wears both records and styli much more
slowly than any other pickup -- except, perhaps, the Shure. A stylus will
last about 20 times its normal life in a Weathers pickup. The moving mass
of the stylus has been reduced to the point where it is scarcely
measurable, which means that the frequency response is practically
unlimited: the Weathers has tested out to 30,000 cycles. Because the
vertical pressure is so low, the record can safely be played while resting
on a center cushion no wider than the label. The grooves never touch the
turntable, and thus they pick up much less surface dust than those of the
But all this is balanced, in most households, by the Weathers' one
overwhelming disability: it is disgustingly fragile. A cross look can give
it a case of intermodulation distortion. It must be fixed in place and
left alone, and it is not recommended for any household in which more than
one person has access to the phonograph. For bachelors, or people with
unnaturally good control over the spouse and children, the Weathers is
excellent. For others, it is just too delicate.
Here is the damping function of the Weathers tone arm explained:
Mr Paul Weathers was very innovative in the fifties and sixties in the
field of HIFI. Among his inventions were:
First tone arm and cartridge (FM modulation) that tracked 1 gram;
first stereo speaker system with a subwoofer and satellite speakers;
first light weight turntable, way before Acoustic Research;
Paul Weathers was the holder of many patents. Mr. Paul Weathers knew how
to build excellent equipment utilizing unconventional methods, like the FM
cartridge. He never got into power amps, tuners, or receivers,
he stuck with cartridges and speakers, then turntables. He was the rare
combination of engineer and excellent businessman. Paul Weathers of
Weathers Industries Barrington N.J. passed away 1992 at age 86.
Everything you see in the pictures is included in this auction. The
cartridge is untested and there is no diamond at the end of the stylus
tubing, there is just a little hole.
This is a rare tone arm and seldom offered with all the required
components. I also have a Mikro Seiki DDX-1000 turntable and an empty box
for an ESL Series Gyro/Balance Stereo Arm listed on eBay right now.
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