Progress Report: Encyclopedia of American Record Companies and Producers, 1888 – 1950

PROGRESS REPORT:

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN RECORD COMPANIES
AND PRODUCERS, 1888 – 1950
By Allan Sutton

Projected Publication Date: Summer 2018

 

EARCP is still on track for a mid-2018 release. For those of you not already familiar with the project, it is a highly detailed, fully documented history all American companies and producers of commercial recordings (cylinder and disc) from the beginning of commercial record production in the late 1880s to the start of LP era in 1950.

We had originally planned to go directly to online-only release; however, we’ve received numerous requests for a printed version. Therefore, we are now planning to make the initial release in book form, currently estimated at 800 pages.

The following 1,129 entries, which are associated with thousands of individual labels, are in final fact-checking and copy-editing. Additional entries, primarily very small independent operations, are still works-in-progress:

 

A — A-1 Recording Co. • A-1 Records of America • Abbey Record Corp. / Abbey Records, Inc. • ABC-Eagle Recordings • Ace Record Co. • Acme Radio & Record Corp. • Acorn Records • Admiral Records, Inc. / Adam Records, Inc. • Advance Records • Adventure Record Co. / Adventure Records, Inc. • Advertiser Publishing Co., Ltd. • Advertisers Recording Service, Inc. • Aeolian Co., The • Aetna Music Corp. • Aguila Record Manufacturing Co. • Alabama Phonograph Co. • Aladdin Records • Alben Record Co. • Alco Recording Co. • Alco Research & Engineering Co. • Alert Records, Inc. • Alegene Sound & Radio Co. / Algene Recording Studios • Allegro Records • Allender Record Distributors • Allentown Record Co. • Allied (Phonograph And) Record Manufacturing Co. • Alpha Records, Inc. • Alvin Records • Am Records / American Music • Ambassador Records • American Elite, Inc. • American Glossite Co. • American Gramophone Co. • American Graphophone Co. • American Institute of Music, Arts & Drama • American Jazz, Inc. • American Music Publishing Co. • American Odeon Corp. • American Phonograph Co. • American Phonograph Record Co. • American Record Co. (I) • American Record Co. (II) • American Record Co. of California • American Record Corp.  • American Record Manufacturing Co. (I) • American Record Manufacturing Co. (II) • American Recording & Transcription Service • American Recording Artists / Ara Records • American Recording Co. • American Recording Laboratories • American Talking Machine Co. [I] • American Talking Machine Co. [II] • American Vitaphone Co. • Americana Records • Amigo Music Publishing Co. • Ammor Record Corp. / Ammor Record Co. • Amuke Record Co. • Ansa Records • Angelophone Records / Angelico Co. • Antillian Music Features, Inc. • Apex Recording Laboratory • Apex Recording Studios • Apollo Record Co. • Apollo Music Enterprises / Apollo Records, Inc. / Rainbow Record Shop • Appliances Co., The • Arcadia Records & Transcription Co., Inc. • Arco Records • Arden Recording Co. • Ardene Record Co. • Arista Record Corp. • Aristocrat Record Corp. • Arrow Phonograph Corp. • Art Floral Record Shop • Art Records Manufacturing Co., Ltd. • Art Service Music • Artist Records, Inc. • Artistic Records • Artists Music Corp. • Arto Co., The • Arvid Records, Inc. • Asa Records • Asch Recording Studios / Asch Records • Associated Cinema Studios • Associated Distributors, Inc. • Associated Music Publishers Recording Studios / Associated Transcriptions • Associated Studios Broadcasting & Recording • Atlas Record Co. • Atlantic Records • Atomic Record Co. / Atomic, Inc. • Atwood–Herscher Publications • Auburn Button Works • Audeon Corp. • Audience Records, Inc. • Audio Co. of America / Aca Recording Studios, Inc. • Autograph Records • Auto-Photo Record Co. • Avalon Record Co. • Ayo Records •

B — B. J. Exploitation Co. • Bacchanal Recordings, Inc. • Bachman Studio • Baclora Records • Baldwin Recording Studios, Inc. • Balkan Record Co. • Ballen Record Co. • Bama Record Co. • Bandwagon Records, Inc. / Bennett Records • Bang Records • Banner Records, Inc. • Barthel Records / Barthel, Inc. • Batt Masian Co. • Beacon Record Co. • Bebe Daniels, Inc. • Bee Bee Bee Records • Belgian Conservatory of Music, Inc. • Bell Record Co. / Bell Record Corp. • Bell Record Co., Ltd. • Bell Recording Corp. • Bell Records, Inc. • Bel-Tone Recording Corp. (I) • Beltone Recording Corp. • Bennett Records • Berger Enterprises • Berliner, Emile: American Gramophone Co. / United States Gramophone Co. (1893–1895) / Berliner Gramophone Co. • Berliner [H. S.] Recording Laboratories • Besa Records • Bethlhem Music Co. / Bethlehem Recording Laboratory • Bettini Phonograph Laboratory • Bibletone • Big Nickel Records • Big Town Recordings • Birdland Records • Birwell Corp. • Black & White Records / Black & White Recording Co. • Blazon Records • Blue Chip Record Co. • Blue Danube Records • Blu-Disc Record Co. • Blue Bonnet Music Co. • Blue Label Records • Blue Note Records • Blue Record Co. • Blue Ribbon Music Co. / Blue Ribbon Records • Blue Star Records • Blu-White Record Co., Ltd. • Bob Miller Enterprises • Bobby Gregory Records • Boney Records • Bongo Record Co. • Bop Records • Bornand Music Box Record Co. • Bost Records Co. • Boston Talking Machine Co. • Bradley, Richard & Associates • Bridgeport Die & Machine Co. • Brinckerhoff & Co., Inc. / Brinckerhoff Studios, Inc.–Time Abroad • Broadcast Recorders, Inc. • Broadcast Recording Studios / Broadcast Records • Broadway Reord Company • Bronze Recording Studio / Bronze Record & Recording Co. • Broome, George • Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. • Brunswick Radio Corp. / Brunswick Record Corp. • Bullet Recording & Transcription Co. / Bulleit Enterprises, Inc. • Burke & Rous • Burnette, Smiley • Burt (Manufacturing) Co. •

C — C & S Phonograph Record Co. • C. H. Bourne Recording Co. • Cadet Record Co. • Cadillac Record Co. (I) • Cadillac Record Co. (II) • California Record (Manufacturing) Co. • California Recording Co. • Cameo Record Corp. • Campus Christian Recording Corp. • Canzonet Record Co. • Capital Sound Studios • Capitol Records, Inc. • Capitol Roll & Record Co. • Capri Records • Cardinal Records, Inc. • CA-Song Record Co. • Castle Record Co.  (Los Angeles) • Castle Records, Inc. (I) • Castle Records, Inc. (II) • Cavalcade Music Co. • Cavalier Recording Co. • Cava-Tone Recordings • Cecille Music Co. • Celebrity Records Inc. • Celesta Records Co. • Celps Record (& Supply) Co. • Celtic Record Co., Inc. • Central Nebraska Phonograph Co. • Century Record Co. • Champion Record Co. • Champion Recording Corp. • Chance Record Co. • Changer Publications, Inc. • Charles E. Washburn Co. • Charm Records, Inc. • Charles Eckard Co. • Charter Records • Cherokee Record Co. • Chess Records • Chicago Central Phonograph Co. • Chicago Gramophone Society • Chicago Record Co. • Chicago Recording Studios, Inc. • Chicago Talking Machine Co. • Chief Record Co. • Cincinnati Record Manufacturing Co. • Circle Records / Circle Sound, Inc. • Clark Phonograph Record Co. • Clarion Record Co. • Clarion Record Manufacturing Co., Inc. • Classic Record Co. • Claude Record Co. • Clef Publications • Clef Records, Inc. • Cleveland Phonograph Co. • Click Record Co. • Clipper Records • Clover Records Co., Ltd. • Club Records • Co-Art Records Co. • Coast Record (Manufacturing) Co. • Cobra Records • Coda Record Co. • Coleman Recording Co. • Collectors Items, Inc. • Collegiate Recording Co. • Colonial Records, Inc. • Colony Record Co. • Colorado Phonograph Co. / Colorado & Utah Phonograph Co. • Columbia Broadcasting System: Columbia Recording Corp. / Columbia Records, Inc. • Columbia Phonograph & Related Companies: American Graphophone Co. / Columbia Graphophone Co. / Columbia Graphophone Manufacturing Co. / Columbia Phonograph Co., Inc. / Columbia Phonograph Co., General • Columbine Records • Comar Records • Comet, Inc. • Commodore Music Shop / Commodore Record Co., Inc. • Compo Co., Ltd. (New York operations) • Command Records • Commercial Record Co. • Compass Record Co. • Concert Hall Society, Inc. • Concert Music Shop, Inc. • Concert Phonograph Record Co., Inc. • Consolidated Film Industries • Consolidated Phonograph Companies, Ltd. • Consolidated Record(ing) Corp. / Consolidated Recording Laboratories • Consolidated Records, Inc. • Consolidated Talking Machine Co. • Constellation Records • Continental Phonograph & Record Co. • Continental Record Co., Inc. • Cook Laboratories • Cormac Records • Coral Records, Inc. • Coronet Records, Inc. • Cosmo Records, Inc. • Country Music Co. • Courtney Records • Cova Recording Corp. • Covered Wagon Records • Cowboy Record Co. • Cozy Records • Crescent Music Corp. • Crescent Record Co. • Crest Records • Criterion Laboratories / Criterion Records, Inc. • Crown Record Co. • Crown Record Corp. • Crown Recording Corp. • Crown Records • Crystal Recording Studio • Crystal Tone Record Co. • Crystalette Records of California / Crystalette Records, Inc. • Cudahy Recording Corp. •

D — D. E. Boswell & Co. • Damon Recording Studios, Inc. / Damon Transcription Laboratory & Sound Service • Dana Records / Dana Music Co. • Danceland Record Co. • Dance-Tone Record Co. / Dance-Tone Records, Inc. • Dansrite Record Co. • Davis, Joe: Beacon Record Co. / Celebrity Records / Joe Davis Record Co. / Davis Record Corp. / Jay-Dee Records • Day Distributing Co. • Dc Records • De Luxe Record Co., Inc. • Decca Records, Inc. • Delmac Record Co. • Delray Recording Co. / Paradise Recording Co. • Delvar Recording Co. • Derby Records Corp. • Dial Records • Diamond Record Co., Inc. • Diamond Record Corp. • Diapason Records • Diccha Industries • Disc Co. /Corp. of America • Discos Allegro, Inc. • Discos Peerless • Discovery Records, Inc. / Discovery Records of New York, Inc. • Dixie Record Co. • Dolphin, John: Dolphin’s of Hollywood / Recorded In Hollywood • Dome Records (Inc.) • Domestic Talking Machine Corp. • Domino Phonograph Corp. • Domino Record Co. • Domino Records • Donett Hit Record Co. • Dot Records • Down Beat Recording Co. • Down Home Corp. • Down Home Record Co. • Down River Records • Down Town Recordings • Dublin’s • Dude Records • Dudley Records • Duke Record Co. • Duplex Phonograph Co. • Duranoid Manufacturing Co. • Durium Products Corp. / Durium Products, Inc.

E — E. A. Eily Record Co. • E. O’byrne De Witt & Son(S)  / James O’byrne Dewitt, Inc. • E. T. Herzog Recording Co. • E. T. Paull Music Co.  • Eagle Record Co. • Early American Dances • Eastern Pennsylvania Phonograph Co. • Ebony Records • Echo Recording Co. • Echo Records  [I] • Edison, Thomas A.: Edison Phonograph Co. / Works; National Phonograph Co.; North American Phonograph Co.; Thomas A. Edison, Inc. • Edison Phonograph Co. of Ohio • Edn Records • Eily Record Co. • Ekko Recording Corp. • Electric Recording Laboratories • Electrical Research Products, Inc. • Electro Broadcasters • Electro-Vox Recording Studios • Elite Record Manufacturers • Emanon Record Co. • Embassy Record Co. • Emerald Record Co. • Record Products: Emerald • Emerson Phonograph Co., Inc. • Emerson Recording Laboratories, Inc. • Empey Records, Inc. • Empire Broadcasting Corp. • Empire Record Co. / Corp. • Empire Recording Studios • Encore Record Co. • Englewood Records • Enterprise Records (Inc.) • Eslava Recording Co. • Esquire Record Co. • Esquire Records • Etna Recording Co., Inc. • Everstate Records • Everybodys Record, Inc. • Excellent Record Corp. • Excelsior Phonograph Co. / Excelsior & Musical Phonograph Record Co. • Excelsior Records • Exclusive Records • Exner Record Co. / F. B. Exner

F — F & P Records • Faith Records • Famous Record Co. • Famous Record Co., Inc., of New York • Famous Records, Inc. • Famous Singers Records, Inc. • Fanfare Records • Fargo Records • Favorite Recording Co. • FBC Distributing Co. • Federal Record Corp. • Federal Records • Fentone Enterprises • Fidelity Records [I] • Fidelity Records [II] • Fine Arts Recording Co. • Fine Recording Co. / Fine Recording Studios • Fletcher Record Co., Inc. • Flint Records, Inc. • Flexo Pacific Coast Record Corp. / Flexo Theater Record Co. • Flora Records • Florida Phonograph Co. • Florida Records • FM Records / FM Recording Co. • Folkraft Records • Folkways Records & Service Corp. • Ford, Mr. & Mrs. Henry • Fortune Records • Fox Record Co. • 4-Star Record Co. • 49th State Hawaii Record Co. • Frank’s Folk Tune Record Co. • Fran-Tone Records • Freedom Recording Co. • French-American Phonograph Distributors • Franwil Record Co. • Fraternity Record Co. • Friends of Recorded Music, The • Frisco Records • Frontier Records

G — Gaelic (Phonograph) Record Co., Inc. • Gala Record Co. / Gala Record Corp. • Gamut Records • Gee Bee Records • Geddins, Robert L. (Bob): Big Town Recordings / Down Town Recording, Inc. / Cava-Tone Recording • Gem Records, Inc. • Gene Austin Record Co. • General Phonograph Corp. • General Records, Inc. • General Sound Corp. • Gennett Recording Laboratories / Gennett Records • General Sound Corp. • Georgia Phonograph Co. • G. I. Records, Inc. • Gilt-Edge Record Co. • Glenn Wallichs Recording Studios • Globe Distributors • Globe Phonograph Record Co. • Globe Record Co. [I] • Globe Record Co. [II] • Glo Tone Records • Gold Medal Records, Inc. • Gold-Rain Recording Co. • Gold Seal Record Co. • Gold Tone Record Co. • Goldband Record Co. / Goldband Recording Studio • Golden Gate Record Co., Inc. • Golden Record Co., Inc. • Good Time Jazz • Goody Record Corp. • Gospel Record Co. • Gospel Trumpet Co. • Gotham Record Co. • Gotham Record Co. / Corp. • Gramophone Shop, The • Grand Central Music Co. / Rego Re cords • Grand Record Co. • Greater New York Phonograph Co. • Greek Record Co. • Green Recording Studios • Gregol Enterprises • Gregory Record Co. • Grey Gull Records, Inc. • Grimes Music Publishers • Guild Records, Inc. • Gold Star Records • Gulf Record Co., Inc.

H — H. K. S. Publishing Co. • H & M Laboratories • Hamp-Tone Records, Inc. • Handy Record Co. • Happiness Records • Harding, Roger • Hardman Record Co. • Hargail Records • Harlem Records, Inc. • Harmonia Record Corp. • Harmony Record Co. • Harmony Recording Laboratories • Harmony Records • Harms, Kaiser & Hagen • Harris Record Co. / Harris Recording Laboratories • Harry Lim Recordings • Harry Smith Recordings • Hart-Van Record Recording Co. • Haven Records, Inc. • Hawthorne & Sheble [Manufacturing] Co. • Hawthorne, Sheble & Prescott • Headline Record Corp. of New York • Heart Records, Inc. • High Time Records • Hi-Lite Recording Co. • Hit Record Co. • Holiday Record Co. • Holiday Records • Holiday Records (of Hollywood) • Hollywood Enterprises, Inc. • Hollywood Flexo Record Co. • Hollywood House of Music • Hollywood International Records • Hollywood (Phonograph) Record Co. • Hollywood Recording Co. • Hollywood Records • Hollywood Star Records • Holmes Royal Record Co. • Hot Record Society / H. R. S. Recordings • Hot Rod Record Co. • Houston Records • Howard Records, Inc. • Hub Records • Hucksters Record Co. • Hunting, Russell • Hy-Tone Recording Co. / Hy-Tone Manufacturing & Distributing Co.

I — Ideal Records • Idessa Malone Distributors / Idessa Malone Enterprises • Imperial Record Co. (I) • Imperial Record Co. (Inc.)  (II) • Imperial Records, Inc. • Imperial Talking Machine Co. • Impresario Records • Indestructible Phonographic Record Co. • Independent Record Co. • Independent Recording Laboratories • Indigo Recordings, Inc. • “Ink,” Inc. • International Phonograph & Record Co. • International Record Collectors Club • International Record Co. [I] • International Record Co. (II) • International Recording Studio • International Records • International Records Agency • Intro Records • Iowa Phonograph Co. • Island Music & Recording Co. • Israel Record Co. • Ivory Recording Co.

J — J. & J. Clano • J. B. Allison Recording Laboratories • J. O. B. Records • J. W. Myers Standard Phonograph Record Co. • Jade Record Co. • Jamboree Records, Inc. • James D. Vaughan, Publisher • Jay-Gee Record Co., Inc. • Jazz Disc • Jazz Information Records • Jazz Ltd. • Jazz Man Record Shop • Jazzology Records • Jel Records, Inc. • Jewel Record Co. (I) • Jewel Record Co. (II) • Jim Beck Records / Jim Beck Recording Studios • Joco Records • Joe Davis Record Co. • John Currie Enterprises • John F. Dahl Recording Co. • Johnson Sound Recording Co. • Jones (Recording) Laboratories / Jones Research Sound Products   • Joy Records • Jubilee Records Co., Inc. • Jugoslavia Jewelry & Phonograph Co. • Juke Box Record Co. • Jump Records

K — Kansas City Talking Machine Co. • Kansas Phonograph Co. • Kappa Records, Inc. • Karl Zomar Library, The • Keen-O-Phone Co., Inc. • Keltic Record Corp. • Kem Records, Inc. • Kentucky Phonograph Co. • Keynote Records • Keystone Recording Co. • Keystone Records • Khoury’s Recordings • King Jazz, Inc. • King Record Co. • Kismet Record Co. • Ku Klux Klan–Affiliated Producers • K-W Record Corp.

L — La Bonita Records • La Marr Record Co. • Laborator Ed. Jedlicka • Laboratory Association, The • Lamb’s Recording Studios • Lambert Co., The • Lamplighter Records • Lark Record Co. • Lasso Record Co. • Latin American Records • Laurent Records, Ltd. • Lee Sales Co., Inc. • Leda Records Co. • Leeds & Catlin Co. • Leeds & Co. • Lei Record Co. • Leo Kupana’i Studio • Leslie Records, Inc. • Liberty Music Shop(S) • Liberty Phonograph Co. • Liberty Record Co. [I] • Liberty Record Co. [II] • Liberty Recording Co. • Library of Congress—Division of Music • Life Record Co. • Life Records • Lina Records • Lincoln, Benjamin • Lincoln Record Corp. • Lincoln Records, Inc. • Linden Recordings / Linden Records • Lindwood Recording Co. • Little Wonder Record Co. • Lissen Records, Inc. • Lloyd’s Novelty & Curio Shop • Lloyd’s Records • London Gramophone Corp. • Lone Star Music Publishers • Lone Star Publishing & Recording Co. • Louisiana Phonograph Co., Ltd. • Lucky Music Corp. • Lucky 7 Recording Co. • Lyraphone Co. of America • Lyric Phonograph Co.

M — M & S Distributing Co. • M & S Electric Co. • Macy’s Recording Co. • MacGregor & Sollie, Inc. / MacGregor & Ingram Recording Laboratories / MacGregor Transcriptions Studios • Maestro Music Co. / Maestro Record Co. • Macksoud, A. J. • Magnolia Records Co., Inc. • Main Stem Music Shop • Main Street Records • Majestic Phonograph Co., Inc. / Majestic Record Corp. • Majestic Records, Inc. • Major Records • Maloof Phonograph Co. • Manhattan Music Corp. • Manhattan Recording Laboratories • Manor Record Co. • Maratone Records • Margo Record Co. • Mar-Kee Records • Mars Records • Marsh Laboratories, Inc. • Marshall, Charles • Marshall Record Co. • Marvel Record Co. • Marvel Records • Mary Howard Recordings • Master Record Co. [I] • Master Record Co. [II] • Master Records, Inc. • Masterpiece Co. • Mastertone Record Co., Inc. • Maunay Records • Mayfair Record & Recording Corp. • Mayhams & Co-Ed Records • Mecca Records • Melford Record Co. • Mello-Strain Records, Ltd. • Mellow Music Shop / Mellow Record Co. • Mel-Mar Records • Melmore, Inc. • Melodisc Recording Co. • Melody Lane Recording Co. • Melody Moderne, Inc. • Melody Records, Inc. • Melody Trail Records • Melrose Records • Meltzer, Sam • Memo Records Corp. • Memphis Recording Service / Phillips Recording Service • Mercer Records • Mercury Record Corp. • Merit Records • Mero Records • Metro Records • Metropolitan Phonograph Co. • Metropolitan Record Co. • Metrotone Record Co. • M-G-M Records, Inc. / Loew’s, Inc. • Michigan Phonograph Co. • Mida Record Co. • Midget Music, Inc. / Midget Music Productions • Midwest Recording Co. • Miller & Hagen • Miller Publications, Inc. • Minnesota Phonograph Co. • Miracle Record Co. • Miltone Record Co. • Mirror Recordings • Missouri Phonograph Co. • Modern Music Records / Modern Records • Modern Record Co. • Monarch Records, Inc. • Monroe, John • Montana Phonograph Co. • Mood Records • Morrison Music Co. • Motif Record Manufacturing Co. • Movietone Music Corp. • Murray Singer Records • Music Art Records • Music Enterprises, Inc. • Music For Society Record Co. • Music, Inc. • Music-Mart Records • Music of The Orient Co. • Music On Parade Records • Music You Enjoy, Inc. • Musicart Records • Musical Phonograph Record Co. • Musicraft Records / Musicraft (Recording) Corp. • Mutual Records • Muzak (Transcriptions), Inc. • Muzicon

N — National Film & Recording Co.  • National Gramophone Corp. • National Phonograph Co. • National Record Co. • National Records Co. • National Vocarium, The • Nation’s Forum • Natural Hit Record Co., A • Natural Records • Neale Music / Neale Wrightman Publishers • Nebraska Phonograph Co. • New England Phonograph Co. • New Jazz Record Co. / Prestige Records • New Jersey Phonograph Co. • New Music Quarterly Recordings • New Orleans Bandwagon • New Orleans Record Shop • New York Phonograph Co. • New York Phonograph Recording Co. • New York Recording Laboratories • Newark Recording Laboratories • Norcross Phonograph Co. • Nordskog Phonograph Recording Co. • North American Phonograph Co. • North American Recording Co. • Novelty Record Co. • Numelody Records • Nutmeg Record Corp.

O — O’Dowd, Thomas • Ohio Phonograph Co. • Ohio Talking Machine Co. • Okeh Phonograph Corp. • Oklahoma Tornado Recording Co. • Old Dominion Phonograph Co. • Oliver Record Co. • Olympic Disc Record Corp. • Olympic Recording Co. • Opal Records • Opera Record Co. / Opera Recording Co. • Opera Records • Operaphone Co., Inc. / Operaphone Manufacturing Corp. • Opus Records • Ora Nelle Record Co. • Orchid Record Co. • Oriole Records Corp. • Orpheum Record Co. • Orpheus Record & Transcription Co. • Otto Heineman Phonograph Supply Co., Inc.

P — Pace Phonograph Corp. • Pacemaker Record & Transcription Co. • Pacific Record Co. • Pacific Coast Record Corp., Ltd. • Pacific Phonograph Agency / Pacific Phonograph Co. • Page Recording Co. • Palda Record Co. • / Pan-Am Transcriptions  / Pan-American Publications • Pan-American Record Co. / Birwell Corp. • Panhellenion Phonograph Record Co., Inc. / Panhellenic Record Co. • Parade Record Co. • Paradise Recording Co. • Paradise Records • Paradox Industries, Inc. • Paragon Records, Inc. • Paramount Record Manufacturing (And Recording) Co. • Paramount Recording Corp. • Paramount Records • Parkway Records • Parody Records • Paroquette Record Manufacturing Co., Inc. • Party Record Co. • Pathé Frères Phonograph Co. / Pathé Phonograph & Radio Corp. • Pavilon Recording Co. • Peacock Recording Co. • Peak Records, Inc. • Pearl Records • Pearson’s Productions, Inc. • Penguin Recording Corp. • People’s Artists, Inc. • People’s Songs • Perfect Record Co. • Peter Bacigalupi (& Sons) • Peter Doraine, Inc. • Pharos Record Co. • Philo Recordings • Phoenix Publications & Recordings • Phono Record Manufacturing Co. • Phono-Cut Record Co. • Phonograph Record & Supply Co. • Phonograph Recording Co. • Photo & Sound, Inc. • Phototone Records • Pilot Radio Co. / Corp. • Pioneer Recording Co. • Pix Records • Planet Record Co. • Plaza Music Co. • Pleasant Records • Plymouth Recording Co. • Polo Record Corp. • Polonia Phonograph Co. • Poloron Records • Polotone Music Corp. • Polyphone Co., The • Premier Radio Enterprises, Inc. / Premier Records • Premier Record Co. • Premium Record Corp. • President Records • Prestige Records • Preview Records • Producers Recording Co. • Process Record Co. • Public Records, Inc.

Q — Q.R.S Co. • Quaker Music Co. • Quality Records, Inc. • Quinn Recording Co.

R — Rabson’s Music Shop • Radio Artist Records • Radio Corp. of America: Victor Talking Machine Division / Radio-Victor Co. of America  / RCA Victor Co., Inc. / RCA Manufacturing Co. • Radio Recorders, Inc. • Radio-Rundfunk Corp. of America • Radio Transcription Co. of America, Ltd. • Rainbow Record Co. • Rainbow Records, Inc. / Rainbow Recording Corp. • Rancho Records • Raven Recording Co. • Raymor–Mccollister Music / Raymor Record Co. • Rec-Art Recordings / Rec-Art Studios • Record Broadcasting Corp. • Record Corp. of America • Record Corp. of New England • Record Manufacturing Co. • Record Merchandising Co. • Record Syndicate Trust • Recorded In Hollywood • Red Barn Recording Co. • Red Bird Recordings • Reed & Dawson / Reed, Dawson & Co. • Reeves Sound Studios / Reeves Soundcraft Corp. • Regal Record Co., Inc. • Regal Record Corp. • Regal Records • Regent Records • Regis Record Co. / Regis Records, Inc. • Rego Records • Reina Record Co. • Relax Records • Remington Records, Inc. • Relax Records • Renaissance Records • Rex Talking Machine Corp. • Reynard, James Kent • Rhapsody Records  [I] • Rhapsody Records  [II] • Rhumboogie Recording Co. • Rhythm Recordings, Inc. • Rhythm Records Co. • Rich-Art Enterprises / Records • Rich Publications / Rich-Art Enterprises, Inc. / Rich-Art Records • Rich Recordings • Rich-R’-Tone Record Co. • Richtone Record Co. • Rko Pathe Studios • Rodeheaver Record Co. / Rodeheaver Recording Laboratories • Robin Records • Rockett Record Co. • Rodeo Records • Rondo Records (Inc.) • Roost Records, Inc. • Roy Milton Record Co. • Roy Records • Royal Record Co. • Roycrofters, The • ’R-Tist Record Co. • Rumpus Record Co.

S — S & D Records • S & G Records • S & S Recording Studios • S. B. W. Recording Co. / Sobie Publishing • S. D. Records • Sacred Records, Inc. • San Antonio Phonograph Co. • San Antonio Records, Inc. • Sapphire Record & Talking Machine Co. • Sapphire Record Co. • Sarafian Sohag / Sokhag Record Co. • Sarco Record Co. • Sauvenair Records Co. • Savoy Record Co. • Scandinavian Music Co. • Scandinavian Music House • Schirmer Records • Schooler Record Co. • Schriber & Gustafson • Scoop Record Co. [I] • Scoop Record Co. [II] • Scoop Records • Scott Record Co. • Scranton Button Co. / Scranton Record Co. • Sears, Roebuck & Co.–Silvertone Record Club • Security Records • Seeco Records, Inc. • Select Records • Selective Record Co. • Sensation Record Co. • Sellers Co., The  / Sellers, Inc. • Sepia Records, Inc. • Serenade Recording Corp. • Serenade Records • Session Records, Inc. • Seva Record Corp. • Seymour Records • Sharp Record Co. • Siemon Hard Rubber Co. • Signature Record Co. / Signature Recording Corp. • Silver Spur Records • Silver Star Record Co. • Silver Star Recording Co. • Sittin’ In With Records, Inc. • Skyline Music, Inc.  • Slate Enterprises, Inc. • Solar Recording Co. • Solo Art Recordings • Sonart Record Corp. • Song Bird Record Co. • Song of the Month Club • Songcraft, Inc. • Sonora Phonograph Co., Inc. / Sonora Phonograph Corp. • Sonora Radio & Television Corp.–Sonora Record Co. Division • Sonorous Music Co., Inc. • Sorority Fraternity Records & Publications • Sound Studios of New York • South Dakota Phonograph Co. • Southern Record Corp. • Spanish Music Center / Coda Record Co. • Specialty Record Co., Inc. • Specialty Records, Inc. • Specialty Sales • Spikes Brothers Phonograph Co. • Spin Records, Inc. • Spire Records Co., Inc. • Spire Records, Ltd. • Spiro Record Corp. • Spokane Phonograph Co. • Spotlight Records, Inc. • Spotlite Record Co. • Square Deal Recording Co. • Staff Record Co. • Stanchel Record Co. • Standard Phonograph Co., Inc. [I] • Standard Phono / Phonograph Co., Inc. [II] • Standard Records, Inc. • Standard Talking Machine Co. (New York) • Stan-Lee Records • Stanley Recording Co. of America, Inc. • Stapleton Industries • Star Melodies Music Publishers • Star Record Co. • Star Talent Records • Starr Piano Co.–Gennett Records Division • State Phonograph Co. of Illinois • Steiner, John • Stellar Records, Inc. • Sterling Records, Inc. • Stinson Records / Stinson Trading Co. • Stork Record Co. • Strand Records, Inc. • Strong Record Co., Inc. • Sullivan Records • Sultan Recording Co. • Sun Recording Corp.  F • Sun Records (Detroit) • Sun Records (Memphis) • Sunbeam Recording Co. • Sunrise Record Corp. • Sunset Record Co. • Sunset Recordings • Sunshine Recording Co. / Sunshine Productions & Records • Super Discs • Superior Recording Co. • Supreme Records, Inc. • Swan Recording Co., Inc. • Swank Records • Swing Beat Records / Swing Time Record Co. • Swing-Master Record Corp. • Swing Record Co.

T — Talent Records • Talking Photo Corp. • Talk-O-Phone Co., The • Tanner Manufacturing & Distributing Co. • Taxco Recording Co. • Taylor-Lee Recording Co. • Tech-Art Recordings • Technicord Records • Tele-Records, Inc. • Tempo-Tone Recordings • Texstar Records • Tempo Record Co. of America • Tennessee Phonograph Co. • Tennessee Records • Texas Phonograph Co. • Theme Records • Thomas A. Edison, Inc.–Phonograph Division • Thomas W. Hatch, Publisher • Three Minute Record, Inc. • Thrillwood Records • Time Abroad, Ltd. • Time Record • Timely Recording Co. • Tin Pan Alley Records Co. • Titan Production Co. • Token Records • Tone Records • Top Record Co. / Top Records, Inc. • Top Tune Records • Top Tunes • Tops Music Enterprises / Tops Records • Tower Records • Town & Country Record Co., Inc. • Transcriptions Inc. • Trell Records • Trilon Record Manufacturing Co. • Tri-Color Records • Trident Records Corp. • Tri-State Recording Co. • Triumph Records • Trope Records • Trophy Record Co. • Tru Tone Productions, Inc. / Tru Tone Records, Inc. • Trumpis-Collar & Associates • Tune-Shop Music Publishers, Inc. / Tune Disk Record Corp. • 20th Century Records

U — U. S. Phonograph Co. • Ultra Record Co. • Union of Irish Industries, Inc. • Unique Music Publishers & Recording Co. • Unison Records • United Artist Records • United Broadcasting Co. • United Hebrew Disk & Cylinder Co. / United Hebrew Record Co. • United Hot Clubs of America • United Masters, Inc. • United Sound Studios / United Sound Systems • United Record Co. (Los Angeles) • United Recorders • United States Gramophone Co. • United States Phonograph Co. • United States Record Corp. • United States Record Manufacturing Corp. • Unity School of Christianity • Universal Phonograph Co. • Universal Record Co. • Universal Recording Laboratories / Universal Recording Corp. / Universal Records • Universal Recording Studios / Universal Record Co. • Universal Records • Universal Talking Machine (Manufacturing) Co. • University Records Corp. • Uptown Records • Urab Recording Studio (United Recording Artists Bureau) • Urban Record Co. • Utah Phonograph Co.

V — Value Records • Van-Es Recording Co. • Van Kampen Press • Vargo, Inc. / Vargo Record Co. • Variety Records, Inc. • Vega Records • Velvet Records • Velvet Tone Record Co. • Venus Records • Verdi Music Shops (E. E. Verdi) • Verne Recording Corp. of America • Vernon Records • Victor & Victor Predecessor Companies: Johnson Sound Recording Co. / Consolidated Talking Machine Co. / Eldridge R. Johnson / Victor Talking Machine Co. • Viking Record Co. • Vitacoustic Record Co. / Vitacoustic Records, Inc • Vocalion Records, Inc. • Vogue Recordings, Inc. • Von Battle Recording Co. • Vox Corp. of America • Vox Productions, Inc. • Vulcan Record Corp. • Vulcan Records

W — W & W Recordings & Distributors • Wabine Record Co. • Walcutt, Miller & Co. / Walcutt & Leeds / The Walcutt & Leeds Ltd. • Wallin’s Music Shop • Wallis Original Record Co. • Warner Recording Laboratories / Warner Record Co. • Webster Records • West Coast Phonograph Co. • West Coast Recordings • Western Pennsylvania Phonograph Co. • Western Records / Western Recording Co. • Western Recording Co. / Constellation Record & Distributing Co. • Western Recording Studios • Westminster Records • Wheeling Recording Co. • Williams & Rankin  • Williams, J. Mayo (“Ink”): Southern Record Corp. / Harlem Records, Inc. / “Ink,” Inc. / Mayo Music / Ebony Records • Whirling Disc • White Church Recording Co. • Willow Walk Industries • Winchester Sound • Winsett Recording Laboratory • Winston Holmes Music Co. • Wisconsin Phonograph Co. • Wonder Records • WOR Electrical Recording & Transcription Services / WOR Recording Studios • World Broadcasting System, Inc. / World Transcription Studios • World Records, Inc. • World’s Greatest Music • Wright Record Corp. • Wrightman, Neale: Neale Wrightman Publishers / Wrightman Music, Inc. / Wrightman Record Co. / Wrimus Co. • Wyoming Phonograph Co.

 Y — Yaddo • Yale Record Co. • Yerkes Recording Laboratories • Your Record Co.

Z — Zarvah Art Record Co. • Zenith Recording Co. • Zimra Corp. • Zora Record Co. / Zora Recording Studios

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Mainspring Press Books: Going, Going (and Soon to Be Gone)

Just a reminder that Mainspring Press has discontinued production of CDs and books as it begins the transition to online data delivery, in affiliation with the Discography of American Historical Recordings (DAHR) at the University of California–Santa Barbara.

We recommend ordering any titles of interest as soon as possible. Several popular books (including Recording the ‘Thirties and The Pathé-Perfect Discography, Vol. 1) have already sold out, and others are in short supply. All CDs have also sold out.

We won’t be reprinting any titles once the current inventory is sold — and buying these books on the used-and-collectible market (if you can even find copies) is often a very pricey proposition. Don’t miss out!

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UPDATE: Mainspring’s long-awaited American Zonophone 7″ and 9″ discographical database has now been incorporated into DAHR (there will be no print edition of this material). It’s the most highly detailed data ever published on these rare recordings, including little-known information on remakes, altered masters, relabelings, reissues, catalog listing dates, artist pseudonyms, and other fine details you just won’t find anywhere else — plus an illustrated history. And it’s free.

 

Some Corrections to Johnson & Shirley’s “American Dance Bands,” from Vic D’Ippolito’s Date Books

Horn-man Vic D’Ippolito’s 1920s date book is the sort of primary-source documentation (like Ed Kirkeby’s files) that causes discographers to salivate. The late Woody Backensto transcribed D’Ippolito’s original data in the late 1950s, a portion of which was published in a special (and now quite rare) October 1958 supplement to Record Research magazine. It’s since been largely overlooked — not least of all by Brian Rust and followers Johnson & Shirley, none of whose dance bands discographies include this information. So to set the records straight, here are a few nuggets we’ve uncovered in just our initial skim:

BLACK SWAN 2106
Brashear’s California Orchestra: Crinoline Days / Lady of the Evening

ADB UNDOCUMENTED IDENTITY AND DATE:
Nathan Glantz’s Orchestra (c. late 10/ 1922)

IDENTITY AND ACTUAL DATE IN D’IPPOLITO LOG:
“Sam Lascabza” [sic? Mike LoScalzo?]  (11/28/1922)

A bit of a mystery here. Backensto interpreted  D’Ippolito’s entry to read “Lascabza,” which could easily be a misreading on his part, or a misspelling on D’Ippolito’s part, for LoScalszo. We’ve not found a Lascabza or a Sam LoScalzo making records at this time, but Mike LoScalzo’s band was recording for Olympic (masters from which were frequently issued on Black Swan under pseudonyms); thus, he seems the most likely suspect. At any rate, there’s nothing in D’Ippolito’s entry to suggest Glantz.

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BLACK SWAN 2110
Laurel Dance Orchestra: Burning Sands / You Remind Me of My Mother

ADB UNDOCUMENTED IDENTITY AND DATE:
Listed as an actual orchestra (c. 12/ 1922)

IDENTITY AND ACTUAL DATE PER D’IPPOLITO LOG:
“Sam Lascabza” [sic? Mike Loscalzo?] (11/28/1922)

Same comments as above. The “Laurel Dance Orchestra” pseudonym also appears on other Black Swan issues confirmed as LoScalzo’s.

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CAMEO 289
Blue Bird Dance Orchestra: Whistling
CAMEO 290
Blue Bird Dance Orch: Teddy Bear Blues

ADB UNDOCUMENTED IDENTITY AND DATE:
Possibly Arthur Lange (c. late 10/1922)

ACTUAL IDENTITY AND DATE PER D’IPPOLITO LOG:
Al Burt’s Orchestra (12/14/1922)

“Blue Bird Dance Orchestra” isn’t so much a pseudonym as an incomplete artist credit, probably used because Al Burt was an Edison artist at the time. Burt’s band was appearing at the Bluebird Dancing Palace, as confirmed by a check made out to Burt that was endorsed by the dance-hall, which survives at the Edison National Historic Site.

“Teddy Bear” is an under-appreciated little item (as one might expect of a record condemned to Arthur Lange Hell by the supposed experts), with D’Ippolito front-and-center:

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CAMEO 724
Mike Speciale’s Orchestra: Something’s Wrong

CAMEO 727
Mike Speciale’s Orchestra: Cross Words

ADB UNDOCUMENTED IDENTITY AND DATE:
Orchestra identity is correct, but Vic D’Ippolito not shown in the undocumented personnel listing  (c. 4/20/1925)

ACTUAL IDENTITY AND DATE PER D’IPPOLITO LOG:
Vic D’Ippolito is present (4/21/1925)

 

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VOCALION 14475
Broadway Syncopators: Without You

ADB UNDOCUMENTED IDENTITY AND DATE:
Ben Selvin’s Orchestra (c. 12/6/1922)

ACTUAL IDENTITY AND DATE PER D’IPPOLITO LOG:
Emil Coleman’s Montmartre Orchestra (12/4/1922)

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ACTUAL RECORDING DATES FROM THE D’IPPOLITO BOOK (ADB BAND IDENTITIES ARE CORRECT):

Cameo 256: 9/13/1922 (Apparently for the remake session [takes D-F], based on the master-number gap between these sides and those on the other two sides [takes A-C] from this session) (ADB: c. 7/1922)
Cameo 265 (both sides): 9/13/1922 (ABD: c. 8/20/1922)
Cameo 273 (both sides): 10/13/1922 (ADB: c. 9/20/1922)
Cameo 274 (both sides): 9/25/1922 (ADB: c. 9/19/1922)
Cameo 713 (both sides): 4/7/1925 (ADB: c. 4/6/1925)
Cameo 727 (both sides): 4/21/1925 (ADB: c. 4/20/1924)
Federal 5244 (both sides): 1/5/1923 (ADB: c. 1/1923)
Federal 5245 (Starlight Bay): 1/5/1923 (ADB: c. 1/1923)
To be continued….

 

CHARM: Another Outstanding Online Discographical Project

Not as widely known as the Discography of American Historical Recordings (although it certainly deserves to be), the UK-based CHARM website offers another outstanding online discography — in this case, of historical classical and operatic recordings. Hosted by the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music, CHARM is partnership of Royal Holloway, University of London (host institution) with King’s College, London, and the University of Sheffield.

CHARM is the perfect complement to DAHR, offering hard-to-find data on foreign as well as domestic recordings, primarily from the 1920s onward. The database includes much of The Gramophone Company’s 78-rpm output (from original file data compiled by the late Alan Kelly), as well 78s and some LP series from numerous other US, UK, and European companies, including Columbia and Decca, from data supplied by Michael Gray. *

The CHARM site includes a very flexible search engine, and results can be downloaded as comma-delimited text (.csv) or Microsoft Excel files. Here’s a small part of the results from our search on Cesare Formichi’s Columbia recordings:
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In addition, almost 5000 streaming sound files are available via the Find Sound Files facility. Sound files are transferred from 78-rpm discs held by the King’s Sound Archive at King’s College London.

Like DAHR and the affiliated National Juke Box site from the Library of Congress, CHARM is an entirely free service, with no registration or log-in required.

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* Dr. Alan Kelly compiled the monumental His Master’s Voice Discography for Greenwood Press during its glory days in the 1990s; when new owners pulled the plug, he completed the project on his own, self-publishing the entire run on a set of inexpensive CDs. In 2007 he was honored with the Association for Recorded Sound Collections’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Michael Gray — besides being one helluva nice guy — has had a distinguished career that includes a long run as director of the Voice of America’s Research Library and Digital Audio Archive projects. He served as series editor for Greenwood Press discographies, has written numerous books and articles, and is the recipient of ARSC’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

The First Jazz Record Did Not Sell a Million Copies — Here’s the Evidence from the Production-History Cards for Victor 18255

Believe the old tale that the first jazz record (Victor 18255, by the Original Dixieland Jass Band) sold a million copies? Or more?

Not even close — and we finally have the evidence from the Victor Talking Machine Company itself.

We recently got the welcome news from record researcher and Phonostalgia host  Ryan Barna that microfilm copies of the “missing” blue production-history cards for Victor 18255 have been found in the Sony archives by Sam Brylawski — filed not under 18255, but under the catalog number of RCA’s 1967 LP reissue (LPV-547)! We then double-checked with Victor expert John Bolig, who was also able to locate his scans of the cards as well, and kindly forwarded them.

The most important news: The blue card states that 250,983 copies of Victor 18255 were pressed. Far short of the common million-seller claim, but more in line with what we’d expect for a best-seller of the period. Assuming this figure is correct, actual sales would have been a bit less (deducting free copies, breakage, dealer returns, leftover inventory destroyed when the record was deleted, etc.). In the interest of full disclosure, the blue-card figures could be off a bit, as John notes:

“Many years later somebody counted the pressings for a trial, and the company reported 250,983 copies had been pressed UP TO THAT TIME. I don’t know when that trial happened, but the record was deleted from the 1927 catalog. If the trial was earlier, more copies may have been pressed. If it was later, then the total is probably final and presumably accurate.”

It’s possible that this was the 1943 RCA–Decca trial, in which RCA submitted a tally of annual Victor record sales from 1901 through 1941. If so, 250,983 copies would likely have been the final tally; and presumably a reasonably accurate one, since the annual tally was formally entered into evidence at the trial.

Whatever the case, this is the only primary-source document  located in the Victor archives so far that relates to the sales of 18255  — and as such, we trust it far more than the claims of some aging ODJB band members, who didn’t produce any documentary evidence to back up their boast, or the countless pop-culture writers who have uncritically swallowed that tale.

    *     *     *     *     *

We don’t have permission from Sony to reproduce the card scans here. But the other key bits of information relating to Victor 18255, as relayed by both Ryan and John from the blue card and recording ledger information, are confirmation that these recordings were indeed originally made as trials, and were not accepted and assigned master numbers until March 1; that testing was not completed and approved until March 10 (eliminating any possibility of the March 5 release claimed by Rudi Blesh and others); and that the record was assigned to the May 1917 supplement (which would have been issued in late April). John suspects that the “March 1917 Special” notation might have been added to the card at a later date:

“The blue card for ‘Dixieland Jass Band, One Step’ (‘That Teasin’ Rag’) has handwriting on it that may have been added when the record was issued on LX-3007 [in 1954], and somebody using that pen and much darker ink seems to have added “Mar 1917 Special” above the “Date listed” cell that reads May 1917. That notation about a special release does not appear on the card for the other side. The writer penned the letter S twice in the same distinctive style on the word “Special” and on the words “Side 1” [the latter on a line referring to the 1954 LP reissue, which also gives the track number]. I doubt that employee was at Victor for the 1917 release and later for the LP release.

“I have dealt with these cards most of my life, and I seriously doubt that a record sent to the lab on March 9th could have been listed in a March special announcement. The absence of the notation on the other card supports my belief that a March announcement was almost impossible given the time required to design and print labels, press records and prepare them for distribution.”

 

Ryan has done some excellent sleuthing for ads and other materials confirming that Victor 18255 was on sale in some locations by late April (although apparently not before that) — in other words, a few weeks earlier than the “official” May 17 release date, but far later than Blesh’s logistically impossible March 5 date. He’ll be posting those ads and revealing the results of his investigation (which has turned up many interesting details regarding the initial release that we’ve not presented here) on the Phonostalgia site — be sure to pay him a visit.

— Allan Sutton

A Preliminary Guide to American Zonophone Recording Dates (And What They Tell Us About Early Zonophone Operations)

American Zonophone recording dates have always been a puzzle to collectors. Aside from a portion of the 1911 ledger that somehow escaped destruction, and dates gleaned from test pressings, primary-source documentation is lacking. And because the company often waited many months or even years to release recordings, attempting to extrapolate from release dates is bound to produce false results (or “alternative facts,” as El Presidente would have it).

Fortunately, some dated Zonophone test pressings exist that provide reliable anchor-points in establishing approximate date ranges, which are shown in the table below. Keep in mind that these dates are approximate and subject to ongoing refinement, and should always be cited as “circa.” In reality, the numerical breaks would not have been as tidy as those shown here, which assume relatively consistent monthly output (more about that below). However, they should serve as a reasonably accurate guide, give-or-take a month in either direction.

These dates also mesh well with known listing and/or release dates. However, It’s important to note that Zonophone at this time assigned entirely new master numbers to remakes, and it produced a  lot of remakes. So if you find a c. December 1905 master number on a May 1904 release, the chart isn’t out-of-whack; you have a remake. Remakes are listed in detail in the data we plan to post with DAHR later this year.

 

msp_zono-mx-dates_1903-05

 

The numerical ranges reveal a great deal about the Universal Talking Machine Company’s Zonophone recording operation. From mid-1903 (when master numbers first started appearing on Zonophone pressings) through the end of 1904, the company averaged a staggering 250 masters per month — more than double Victor’s output for the same period.

This activity can be attributed in part to Zonophone’s need to play “catch-up.” In mid-1903, the company began replacing its etched-label series with new paper-labeled discs. Although some of the etched-label recordings were pressed into service to fill out the new series, many new masters would be required to essentially rebuild the Zonophone catalog from scratch. Then, in March 1904, the company was forced to withdraw its entire catalog of bogus “Victor Herbert’s Band” recordings, requiring extensive remake work throughout the spring and early summer to replace those issues with legal versions (see the previous post).

In early 1905, there was a sudden dramatic drop in recording activity. Total output that year fell to approximately 1130 masters, more in line with Victor’s output. The drop can be attributed in part to Zonophone’s decision to replace the seven- and nine-inch series with a new ten-inch line. Although the company continued to record small-diameter masters through the end of 1905 (isolated examples as late as November–December 1905 have been confirmed), output of those masters quickly fell to negligible levels. Zonophone’s new ten-inch series was limited to just 25 single-sided releases per month in the main catalog, with a smattering of additional operatic, ethnic, and twelve-inch releases from time to time.

We certainly can’t rule out Victor president Eldridge Johnson as having had a hand in the slowdown. Although the majority owner of the Universal Talking Machine Company, Johnson did not meddle in Zonophone’s artist-and-repertoire matters. But he  certainly would have had his say on business issues from the start, as can be seen in the 1904 decision to transfer Zonophone’s pressing operations from the Auburn Button Works to the Duranoid Company, Victor’s primary pressing plant at the time. From the start, Johnson made it clear that his sole motive in purchasing Universal was to rein-in a competitor — and what better way to do so than by capping its production? *

If you’re fortunate enough to own any dated American Zonophone test pressings, we’d be grateful for the information. The more data that become available, the more closely we can approximate the actual date ranges. At present, we’re working to extend the dating guide through the end of Zonophone’s independent period in 1909–1910, at which point its recording activities were transferred to the Victor studios.

— Allan Sutton

* For a myth-busting account of the Universal Talking Machine Company–Eldridge Johnson saga, be sure to check the author’s A Phonograph in Every Home: Evolution of the American Recording Industry, 1900–1919, available from Mainspring Press and many major libraries.

Discography 101 • Master Numbers Assigned Out of Chronological Order

We heard very quickly from several of the Old Guard concerning our statement, in the previous post, that some Paramount masters numbers might have been assigned out of chronological sequence. Understandably, some old-timers very much dislike having their discographical cages rattled, and rattle we did. None, however, has so offered any evidence that the New York Recording Laboratories  always assigned Paramount master numbers in perfect, strict chronological order.

Our question to them, then, is: Why would NYRL not have occasionally scrambled its master numbers? Assigning master numbers weeks or even months after the sessions at which the recordings were made was not an uncommon occurrence in the recording industry during this period, even among far better-organized companies than the notoriously slipshod NYRL.

Consider the following examples, plucked at random from the Victor files. All of these recordings sat around for one to six months after the sessions at which they were made, before finally being assigned master numbers — which by that time had advanced well beyond the numbers that would have been assigned at the time of recording. If one were to go simply by the normal chronological sequence of Victor master numbers, the approximate recording dates would appear to be those shown in Column 2. And they would be very wrong, as seen from the actual recording dates shown in Column 3:

msp_vic-mx_out-of-sequence

Many similar examples can be found in the Victor, Columbia, and Brunswick-Vocalion files throughout the 1920s — but you get the general idea.

A final note for now in what will be a long, ongoing investigation: There’s an especially telling case (which we’ll leave to its discoverer to reveal in detail in due time) in which NYRL numbers are demonstrably out-of-whack. This one involves a Paramount session to which the old-timers assigned a speculative recording date that’s literally an impossibility, apparently based upon their belief that NYRL numbers always marched along in strict chronological order — In this case, the artist is documented as having been out of the country at that time!

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