Fairchild 440 w/Pritchard Arm - Worth restoring?

About a dozen years ago, a friend gave me an old turntable. I didn't have time to deal with it then, so I put it in the attic, and there it sat. I recently moved to a new house and when I was unpacking I ran across the box with the turntable. I was going to just toss it up on eBay (and still may), but I want to learn more about it first.

I plugged it in, and the motor made a bit of squawking, but it ran. I opened the motor housing and put a few drops of oil in the end cap where the shaft spins. Sealed it back up and it purrs like a kitten. The box had an old but unused belt, so I put a few drops of oil on the spindle bearing, and dropped on the platter with the belt. I checked the speed with my strobe, and with a little adjustment, I got the speed spot on and steady.

I haven't checked the tonearm and cables, but looks like this machine could actually play vinyl. Looks like these were sold as kits. The base is walnut, but whoever built the kit used some plywood for the top. If I were going to keep the turntable, I'd make a new top of walnut and refinish the rest of the base.

I can't imagine the Fairchild replacing the SME 20 as my main vinyl spinner, but it does pique my interest. Does anyone have any experience with these units? Any issues pairing a cartridge with the Pritchard tonearm?

Thanks for you insight.


Restoring old tables is a blast.  Many beleive that becuase things are old they are out dated and not worth the effort.  Not true.  I've done a few Duals, a Garrard and am about to tackle a 60 year old EMT.

Back in the day, Fairchild was well respected.  Their products were well made.  I think the motor in your tuntable was also used in many others, including 3M and Advent cassette decks.  I have spares if you need.

If your table has the gimbal mounted Pritchard arm then I would keep it.  They came in 9 & 12 inch configurations and were excellent trackers.

Roll up the sleeves!  You just might have a gem on your hands.

Norman, thanks for posting! I checked this for a couple of days after posting, but saw no replies then forgot about it. I was pleased to jump back on today and see a reply!

Yes, the turntable does have the gimbal Pritchard arm. It is missing the cantilever weight. I haven't looked closely enough at the setup to see how the weight was attached. I see some remnants of the thread, so I presume I could figure it out. I would need to find the right gram weight. Any idea what weight these were?

I think the motor is working okay. After giving it a couple of drops of oil at the base of the motor shaft, he seemed to be fine and was holding RPM's perfectly, but I'll keep you in mind if it starts acting up.

I have found a few more pieces of info on line regarding the turntable. I think it is worth rebuilding, and could be a fun addition to the SME.

The interconnect from the tonearm looks like it has seen better days. I'd like to replace that when get to rebuilding the unit over the winter.


The ''cantilever weight'' you mentioned is actually anti-skate

weight. About 1 g. if I remember well. I am not sure if there are

more versions of Pritchard than one. My sample had problematic

(plastic) headshell and wiring. Rewiring is more ease done than

a new headshell. But to get an more rigid coupling with the
arm-wand you will need a new headshell.