Fisher & Paykel Murphy Suitcase

Picked this up yesterday. This is the coolest suitcase you’ll see this week. I’d estimate it is from the mid-1960s but there are very few identifying marks on it, on the exterior you’ll simply see F&P and Murphy.

It is completely wooden and very attractive (especially after I waxed and polished it), except for one side which has a sort of carpeting which is in immaculate condition. A clip is found on the long end of each side, which keeps it closed.

But the exterior is not what makes it so fascinating, or at least it is only part of the appeal, what makes this so very impressive, is that when you open the clips, and swing the lid back, you find nothing other than a high end, four speed, portable record player fully specced with equaliser controls, a record changer, room for 12″ LPs and a reversible needle to play 78 Shellac Records with accompanying speakers, which were hidden by the carpeting found on the side.

With a single AC plug, you have a road ready, stereo record player that can play almost anything with minimal management whilst sporting only two primary controls. Speed, which somehow, 60 years later, still keeps perfect time, and what can only be described as “Go”, which starts the player and also controls whether it should seek and stack the records itself:

There are, of course, equaliser and volume controls but they are often set and forget items:

So, after giving it a big clean and mechanical service I fired her up and after 60 years of service it still ran almost…

…like a dream.

There’s a bit of a hum in the speakers when nothing is playing, and a minor crackle when changing volume. It looks to have electrolytic capacitors on the PCB for the electronic amplification which I guess are probably on their way out, as they tend to last around 20 years max.

So I did a bit of a cursory Google to see if I could find more information on it and, well, nothing. Nothing at all. Closest was a similar concept that WorthPoint catalogued, with two speakers that break off a portable record player but it didn’t seem to be as feature complete as this one, and is inside of a plastic suitcase, and it was alone in its comparison.

Certainly there is information about F&P being the distributing brand for Murphy products in New Zealand, but it all seems to be radios and radiograms, only one particular thing caught my attention.

Inside one of the speakers is a note to make sure you take the speakers off entirely to operate and display, so I ponder whether perhaps this was a concept or display model showcasing what could be done, which would help to explain its absence of model information, but whatever it is it was definitely the coolest suitcase I’d seen all week, or, more accurately, all year (all time? I don’t really see too many interesting suitcases).

If you know anything about this, get in touch.

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