New Free Discography Download
Data Compiled by George Blacker
Edited and Annotated by Allan Sutton
Key Contributors: David Giovannoni, Ryan Barna, William R. Bryant,
and Members of the Record Research Associates
The Boston Talking Machine Company, with its Phono-Cut records, was a classic case of “too early to market.” The venture was funded by several prominent Bostonians, and it employed many well-known recording-industry veterans, including Louis Valiquet, Loring Leeds, Charles Hibbard, and Fred Hager. Its artist roster, in addition to the usual New York freelancers, included members of the Boston Symphony and Boston Opera, many of them previously unrecorded.
Unfortunately, Boston Talking Machine chose the sapphire-ball vertical-cut format for its discs, emulating Pathé in France (which kept them from being targeted by Victor, but did not prevent a successful lawsuit by Columbia). But with Pathé’s U.S. introduction still several years away, virtually no market yet existed for such discs in the United States. A long-delayed launch of the discs, and lack of any significant marketing effort, also contributed to Phono-Cut’s quick demise.
The discography is a preliminary effort, based upon first-hand observation of these now-elusive discs by some of the top workers in the field. The project was a particular passion of the late George Blacker, and we are proud to finally gives his work the attention is so richly deserves.
In addition to the discography, you’ll find a concise timeline covering Boston Talking Machine’s often-convoluted history; details of its involvement with the Little Wonder and Wondrola phonographs (unrelated to the later Little Wonder discs); and information on the Starr Piano Company’s acquisition of Phono-Cut’s masters.
As you’ll see, there are still untraced releases, and releases for which we have only partial data from the original catalogs. We welcome documented additions from our many followers — now approaching 5,100 around the world, and growing steadily. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and include label scans or photos (no secondary-source data, please). Enjoy!