Playing REALLY old records


I've got a few dozen records that are close to 100 years old, I can play them with a steel needle in an old wind-up grammaphone.

I was wondering what would happen if I played one on a modern turntable. Can I even get a cartridge that will fit the groove?

Some of this stuff is very musical, if somewhat noisy. I want to archive it to hard disk.

Any advice on how to play these old records?
I have been looking into playing old 78's lately, and in doing so, it was suggested that old records made of shellac are way different than those made of vinyl, and may do damage to the stylus on my cartridge on my VPI. Since that would be an expensive fix, I have resumed the idea of an old Dual, etc. for 78's. Seems like that would apply here as well.
Try a Shure M78S Wide Groove 78 RPM Monophonic Cartridge. ( item232-555). After you transfer to digital there are very effective software programs which you can use to clean up the sound.
When the Library of Congress archives acetate and shellac records they use diff cartridges with styli that correspond to the exact size of the groove as there were quite a few variations in cutting standards in the early days of recording. They also use Q-tips with purrified water to clean the record as it spins (I find this to be a great way to deep clean especialy dirty records). There was a special on either PBS or Discovery about this a few years ago. I'm not sure you would want to go to the same lengths they did but if you can find a copy of the special you might glean some useful info.

Good luck!