Forgotten Phonograph-Gadget Inventors: Louis Devineau

Louis Devineau surfaced in Cleveland in the late 1890s as a French instructor, and by the early 1900s he was working for the Federal Manufacturing Company, a Cleveland automobile-chassis manufacturer. He was also patenting some interesting after-market accessories for the phonograph, beginning with a folding horn in 1905. His light-weight self-supporting horn was first advertised for sale in September 1907:

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Devineau’s Biophone, one of many attempts to convert cylinders players to disc, or vice-versa, was quite the monstrosity. A model incorporating some obvious departures from the original patent drawing made it to market in late 1907, although it does not appear to have been a commercial success:

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Devineau eventually endeared himself to some local  politicians, and by 1908 he was serving as secretary of the Cleveland Sinking Fund Commission, which he apparently treated as his private treasury. In February 1909, a $12,840 shortage was discovered, with Devineau nowhere to be found. The papers reported that he had last been heard from in Belgium. A warrant was issued for his arrest on embezzlement charges, but nothing more was reported.

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If you enjoy early phonographs and related items, Be sure to check out Vintage Phonograph Ads, 1895-1925, available from Mainspring Press.

Some Oddball Phonograph Patents (1902 – 1906)

This bizarre phonograph, employing a record and turntable in the form of a truncated cone, was patented by Louis P. Valiquet, of Zonophone fame. One advantage was said to be that the record was less likely to slip on the turntable than a standard flat disc.

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Emile Berliner’s device for increasing volume, employing six synchronized turntables. A later “improvement” stacked the turntables vertically.

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F. F. Shanks of Chicago patented this reproducer-less device consisting of an extended rod that carried the sound vibrations directly from the stylus to an attachment of the user’s choosing (the filing mentions a snare-drum head, banjo, or other stringed instrument), which served as a resonator.

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A more direct approach to musical-instrument-as reproducer, in this case a complete violin. A version of this machine was actually manufactured in France.

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For when the “just stuff a sock in it” approach won’t do, here’s a  marvelous piece of German over-engineering. This sadistic-looking device was patented by Albert Conze of Berlin and specified a muffler-ball of leather, cork, or felt. Edison later employed the same general idea in his Diamond Disc machines, but with the adjusting mechanism neatly tucked away below the bedplate.

Early Columbia Cylinder Phonograph Outfits (Chicago Projecting Company, c. 1901 – 1902)

Some tantalizing ads for Columbia cylinder outfits from a rare catalog issued by the Chicago Projecting Company (225 Dearborn Street). In addition to projectors, films, stereoptions and slides, and related items, the company stocked a wide array of Columbia and and Victor merchandise.

The catalog is undated but includes Victor Monarch “pre-matrix” discs that were recorded as late as October 1901, suggesting a late 1901 or early 1902 publication. By that time, high-volume molded cylinders were beginning to enter the market, and the ear-tubes, oversized “exhibition horns,” and Concert-type cylinders offered here were on the verge of obsolescence.

One page implies that the company was making its own cylinders, picturing an unbranded cylinder and bragging that “our records…made with much greater care than the ordinary records,” while another shows a Concert-type cylinder in a special Chicago Projecting Company box (but with a Columbia lid). In fact, they were all Columbia cylinders, using Columbia’s catalog numbers.

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Progress Report: “American Record Company and Producers, 1888 – 1950” (865 Entries, and Counting)

American Record Companies and Producers, 1888 – 1950:
Progress Report
By Allan Sutton

 

American Record Companies and Producers, 1888 – 1950 is on track to release online in mid-2018. For those of you not already familiar with the project, it covers in detail all American companies and producers of commercial recordings (cylinder and disc) from the beginning of commercial record production in the 1880s to the start of LP era in 1950.

Unlike my earlier American Record Labels and Companies, this work focuses primarily on the companies themselves. The label information is still there, of course, but is now incorporated within the entries on each label’s respective producer.

Not  covered are non-commercial and special-use recordings (radio transcriptions, film sound-track discs, audition recordings, etc.); children’s labels and educational or instructional records; one-off promotional or personal records, etc. You will find numerous jukebox-only labels, record divisions set up by schlocky music publishers to plug tunes the major labels wouldn’t take, and short-lived ventures whose only purpose seems to have been to sell off their masters to larger companies as quickly as possible, deposit the check, and shut down.

You’ll also meet a colorful cast of characters, ranging from the industry’s true heroes to an American Nazi, a Soviet spy, a four-time loser who just didn’t know when to quit, any number of record pirates, and a Texas furniture dealer-turned-studio owner who ran for president on an eerily familiar “throw the Washington bums out and let us real smart business guys run the country” platform (he lost; folks weren’t quite so gullible back then).

Plans are for this to be an online-only publication, because of the opportunity afforded to revise and expand on-the-fly, something essential with a work of this scope and magnitude. Headings to each entry include date range for record production, office and studio addresses, master sources, pressing plants used, and labels  produced. Entries range from several paragraphs to twenty pages, and full source citations (mainly primary-source) appear in each. There are no plans to illustrate the work at the moment, but that’s always an option as things evolve.

As of today, the following 865 entries are essentially “complete” and in final fact-checking and editing (an additional 125 entries not listed here are still in various stage of completion):

 

A-1 RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   A-1 RECORDS OF AMERICA  (Discs)  •   ABBEY RECORD CORPORATION / ABBEY RECORDS, INC. / PETER DORAINE, INC.  (Discs)   •   ACME RADIO & RECORD CORPORATION, et al.  (Discs)   •   ADMIRAL RECORDS, INC. / ADAM RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ADVANCE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ADVENTURE RECORD COMPANY / ADVENTURE RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ADVERTISER PUBLISHING COMPANY, LTD.  (Discs)   •   ADVERTISERS RECORDING SERVICE, INC.  (Discs)   •   AEOLIAN COMPANY, THE  (Discs)   •   AETNA MUSIC CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   AGUILA RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ALABAMA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   ALADDIN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ALBEN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ALCO RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ALCO RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ALERT RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ALEGENE SOUND AND RADIO COMPANY / ALGENE RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   ALLEGRO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ALLENDER RECORD DISTRIBUTORS  (Discs)   •   ALLENTOWN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ALLIED (PHONOGRAPH AND) RECORD MANUFACTURING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   ALPHA RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ALVIN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   AM RECORDS / AMERICAN MUSIC  (Discs)   •   AMBASSADOR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN ELITE, INC. (Discs)   •   AMERICAN GLOSSITE COMPANY  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF MUSIC, ARTS AND DRAMA  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN JAZZ, INC.  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN ODEON CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN PHONOGRAPH COMPANY   •   AMERICAN PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   AMERICAN RECORD COMPANY (I)  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN RECORD COMPANY (II)  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY (I)  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY (II)  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN RECORDING AND TRANSCRIPTION SERVICE  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN RECORDING ARTISTS / ARA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN TALKING MACHINE COMPANY [I]  (Cylinders)   •   AMERICAN TALKING MACHINE COMPANY [II]  (Discs)   •   AMERICAN VITAPHONE COMPANY  (Discs)   •   AMERICANA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   AMIGO MUSIC PUBLISHING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   AMMOR RECORD CORPORATION / AMMOR RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   AMUKE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ANTILLIAN MUSIC FEATURES, INC.  (Discs)   •   APEX RECORDING LABORATORY  (Discs)   •   APEX RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   APOLLO RECORDS, INC. / RAINBOW RECORD SHOP  (Discs)   •   APPLIANCES COMPANY, THE  (Discs)   •   ARCADIA RECORDS AND TRANSCRIPTION COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   ARCO RECORDS   •   ARDEN RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ARDENE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ARISTA RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   ARISTOCRAT RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   ARROW PHONOGRAPH CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   ART SERVICE MUSIC  (Discs)   •   ARTIST RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ARTISTIC RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ARTISTS MUSIC CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   ARTO COMPANY, THE  (Discs)   •   ARVID RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ASA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ASCH RECORDING STUDIOS / ASCH RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ASSOCIATED CINEMA STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   ASSOCIATED DISTRIBUTORS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ASSOCIATED STUDIOS BROADCASTING AND RECORDING  (Discs)   •   ATLAS RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ATLANTIC RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ATOMIC RECORD COMPANY / ATOMIC, INC.  (Discs)   •   AUBURN BUTTON WORKS  (Discs)   •   AUDEON CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   AUDIENCE RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   AUDIO COMPANY OF AMERICA / ACA RECORDING STUDIOS, INC.  (Discs)   •   AUTOGRAPH RECORDS  (Discs)   •   AVALON RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   AYO RECORDS  (Discs)

B. J. EXPLOITATION COMPANY (Discs) •   BACCHANAL RECORDINGS, INC.  (Discs)  •   BACHMAN STUDIO  (Discs)   •   BACIGALUPI, PETER & SONS  (Cylinders)   •   BACLORA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BALDWIN RECORDING STUDIOS, INC.  (Discs)   •   BALKAN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BALLEN RECORD COMPANY / GOTHAM RECORD CORPORATION)  (Discs)   •   BANDWAGON RECORDS, INC. / BENNETT RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BANNER RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   BARTHEL RECORDS / BARTHEL, INC.  (Discs)   •   BATT MASIAN COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BEBE DANIELS, INC.   •  BEE BEE BEE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BELL RECORD COMPANY / BELL RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   BELL RECORD COMPANY, LTD.  (Discs)   •   BELL RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   BEL-TONE RECORDING CORPORATION (I)  (Discs)   •   BELTONE RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   BERLINER COMPANIES: American Gramophone Company; United States Gramophone Company; Berliner Gramophone Company  (Discs)   •   BESA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BETTINI PHONOGRAPH LABORATORY  (Cylinders)   •   BIBLETONE  (Discs)   •   BIG NICKEL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BLACK AND WHITE RECORDS / BLACK AND WHITE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BLUE DANUBE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BLU-DISC RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BLUE BONNET MUSIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BLUE LABEL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BLUE NOTE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BLUE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BLUE RIBBON MUSIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BLUE STAR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BLU-WHITE RECORD COMPANY, LTD.  (Discs)   •   BONEY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BONGO RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BOP RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BORNAND MUSIC BOX RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BOST RECORDS COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BOSTON TALKING MACHINE COMPANY / PHONO-CUT RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BRADLEY, RICHARD AND ASSOCIATES  (Discs)   •   BRIDGEPORT DIE & MACHINE COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BRINCKERHOFF & COMPANY, INC. / BRINCKERHOFF STUDIOS, INC.–TIME ABROAD / GENERAL SOUND CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   BROADCAST RECORDERS, INC.  (Discs)   •   BROADCAST RECORDING STUDIOS / BROADCAST RECORDS  (Discs)   •   BRONZE RECORDING STUDIO / BRONZE RECORD & RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BROOME, GEORGE  (Discs)   •   BRUNSWICK-BALKE-COLLENDER COMPANY  (Discs)   •   BRUNSWICK RADIO CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   BRUNSWICK RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   BULLET RECORDING AND TRANSCRIPTION COMPANY / BULLEIT ENTERPRISES, INC.  (Discs)   •   BURKE & ROUS  (Cylinders)   •   BURNETTE, SMILEY  (Discs)   •   BURT (MANUFACTURING) COMPANY, THE  (Discs)

C & S PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   C. H. BOURNE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CADET RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CADILLAC RECORD COMPANY (I)  (Discs)   •   CADILLAC RECORD COMPANY (II)  (Discs)   •   CALIFORNIA RECORD (MANUFACTURING) COMPANY (Discs)   •   CALIFORNIA RECORDING COMPANY (Discs)   •   CAMEO RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   CANZONET RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CAPITAL SOUND STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   CAPITOL RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   CAPITOL ROLL & RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CAPRI RECORDS  (Discs)   •   CARDINAL RECORDS, INC.   •   CA-SONG RECORD COMPANY / AUTO-PHOTO RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CASTLE RECORD COMPANY ( (Discs)   •   CASTLE RECORDS, INC. (I)  (Discs)   •   CASTLE RECORDS, INC. (II)  (Discs)   •   CAVALCADE MUSIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CAVALIER RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CECILLE MUSIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CELPS RECORD (& SUPPLY) COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CELTIC RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   CENTRAL NEBRASKA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY   •   CHAMPION RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CHAMPION RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   CHANCE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CHANGER PUBLICATIONS, INC.  (Discs)   •   CHARLES E. WASHBURN COMPANY / COAST RECORD (MANUFACTURING) COMPANY / RODEO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   CHARM RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   CHARLES ECKARD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CHARTER RECORDS  (Discs)  •   CHEROKEE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CHICAGO CENTRAL PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   CHICAGO RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CHICAGO RECORDING STUDIOS, INC.  (Discs)   •   CHICAGO TALKING MACHINE COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   CHIEF RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CINCINNATI RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CIRCLE RECORDS / CIRCLE SOUND, INC.  (Discs)   •   CLARK PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CLARION RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CLARION RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   CLASSIC RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CLAUDE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CLEF RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   CLIPPER RECORDS  (Discs)   •   CLOVER RECORDS COMPANY, LTD.  (Discs)   •   CLUB RECORDS  (Discs)   •   CO-ART RECORDS COMPANY  (Discs)   •   COBRA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   COLEMAN RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   COLLECTORS ITEMS, INC.  (Discs)   •   COLORADO PHONOGRAPH COMPANY / COLORADO AND UTAH PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  •   COLUMBIA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY AND RELATED COMPANIES: American Graphophone Company; Columbia Graphophone Company; Columbia Graphophone Manufacturing Company; Columbia Phonograph Company, Inc.; Columbia Phonograph Company, General  (Cylinders and Discs)   •   COLUMBIA RECORDING CORPORATION / COLUMBIA RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   COMAR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   COMET, INC.  (Discs)   •   COMMODORE MUSIC SHOP / COMMODORE RECORD CO., INC.  (Discs)   •   COMPO COMPANY, LTD. / H. S. BERLINER LABORATORIES (New York branch)  (Discs)   •   COMMAND RECORDS  (Discs)   •   COMMERCIAL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   COMPASS RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CONCERT HALL SOCIETY, INC.  (Discs)   •   CONCERT PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Cylinders)   •   CONSOLIDATED PHONOGRAPH COMPANIES, LTD. / CONSOLIDATED PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   CONSOLIDATED RECORD(ING) CORPORATION / CONSOLIDATED RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   CONTINENTAL PHONOGRAPH AND RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CONTINENTAL RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   COOK LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   CORMAC RECORDS  (Discs)   •   CORONET RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   COSMOPOLITAN RECORDS, INC. / COSMO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   COURTNEY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   COVA RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   COVERED WAGON RECORDS  (Discs)   •   COWBOY RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   COZY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   CRITERION LABORATORIES / CRITERION RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   CROWN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CROWN RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   CROWN RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   CROWN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   CRYSTAL RECORDING STUDIO  (Discs)   •   CRYSTAL TONE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   CRYSTALETTE RECORDS OF CALIFORNIA / CRYSTALETTE RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   CUDAHY RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)

D. E. BOSWELL & COMPANY (Cylinders) •   DAMON RECORDING STUDIOS, INC. / DAMON TRANSCRIPTION LABORATORY  (Discs)   •   DANA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   DANCELAND RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DAVIS, JOE: Beacon Record Company / Celebrity Records / Joe Davis Record Company / Davis Record Corporation / Jay-Dee Records  (Discs)   •   DAY DISTRIBUTING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DC RECORDS  (Discs)   •   DE LUXE RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   DECCA RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   DELMAC RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DELRAY RECORDING COMPANY / PARADISE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DELVAR RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DERBY RECORDS CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   DIAL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   DIAMOND RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   DIAMOND RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   DISCOVERY RECORDS, INC. / DISCOVERY RECORDS OF NEW YORK, INC.  (Discs)   •   DOLPHIN, JOHN: Dolphin’s of Hollywood / Recorded in Hollywood  (Discs)  •   DOME RECORDS (INC.)  (Discs)   •   DOMESTIC TALKING MACHINE CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   DOMINO PHONOGRAPH CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   DOMINO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   DONETT HIT RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DOT RECORDS  (Discs)   •   DOWN BEAT RECORDING COMPANY / SWING BEAT RECORDS / SWING TIME RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DOWN HOME CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   DOWN HOME RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DOWN RIVER RECORDS  (Discs)   •   DUDLEY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   DUKE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DUPLEX PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Discs)   •   DURIUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION / DURIUM PRODUCTS, INC.  (Discs)

E. A. EILY RECORD COMPANY (Discs) •   E. O’BYRNE De WITT & SON(S) / JAMES O’BYRNE DeWITT, INC.  (Discs)   •   E. T. HERZOG RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   E. T. PAULL MUSIC COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   EAGLE RECORD COMPANY / ABC-EAGLE RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  •   EBONY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ECHO RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ECHO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   EDISON, THOMAS A.: Edison Phonograph Works; National Phonograph Company; North American Phonograph Company; Thomas A. Edison, Inc.  (Cylinders and Discs)   •   EDISON PHONOGRAPH COMPANY OF OHIO  (Cylinders)   •   EKKO RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   ELECTRIC RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   ELECTRO-VOX RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   EMANON RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   EMBASSY RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   EMERALD RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   EMERSON PHONOGRAPH COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)  •   EMERSON RECORDING LABORATORIES, INC.  (Discs)   •   EMPEY RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   EMPIRE BROADCASTING SYSTEM  (Discs)   •   EMPIRE RECORD COMPANY / CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   EMPIRE RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   ENCORE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ENGLEWOOD RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ENTERPRISE RECORDS (INC.)  (Discs)   •   ESLAVA RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ESQUIRE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   ETNA RECORDING COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   EVERSTATE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   EVERYBODYS RECORD, INC.  (Discs)   •   EXCELSIOR PHONOGRAPH COMPANY / EXCELSIOR & MUSICAL PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   EXCELSIOR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   EXCLUSIVE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   EXNER RECORD COMPANY / F. B. EXNER  (Discs)

F AND P RECORDS  (Discs)   •   FAMOUS RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   FAMOUS RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   FAMOUS SINGERS RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)  •   FANFARE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   FARGO RECORDS  (Discs)  •   FAVORITE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   FBC DISTRIBUTING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   FEDERAL RECORD CORPORATION  (Cylinders and Discs)   •   FINE ARTS RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   FINE RECORDING COMPANY / FINE RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   FLETCHER RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   FLINT RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   FLORA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   FLORIDA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   FLORIDA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   FM RECORDS / FM RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   FOLKRAFT RECORDS  (Discs)   •   FOLKWAYS RECORDS & SERVICE CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   FORTUNE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   FOX RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   49th STATE HAWAII RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   FRANK’S FOLK TUNE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)  •   FRAN-TONE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   FREEDOM RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   FRANWIL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   FRIENDS OF RECORDED MUSIC, THE  (Discs)   •   FRONTIER RECORDS  (Discs)

GAELIC (PHONOGRAPH) RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   GALA RECORD COMPANY / CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   GAMUT RECORDS  (Discs)   •   GEE BEE RECORDS   •   GEDDINS, ROBERT L. (BOB): Big Town Recordings; Down Town Recording, Inc.; Cava-Tone Recording  (Discs)   •   GEM RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   GENE AUSTIN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   GENERAL PHONOGRAPH CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   GENNETT RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   GEORGIA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  •   G.I. RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   GILT-EDGE RECORD COMPANY / 4 STAR RECORD COMPANY, INC  (Discs)   •   GLOBE DISTRIBUTORS  (Discs)   •   GLOBE PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   GLOBE RECORD COMPANY [I]  (Discs)   •   GLOBE RECORD COMPANY [II]  (Discs)   •   GLO TONE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   GOLD MEDAL RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   GOLD-RAIN RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   GOLD SEAL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   GOLD TONE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   GOLDBAND RECORD COMPANY / GOLDBAND RECORDING STUDIO  (Discs)   •   GOLDEN RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   GOOD TIME JAZZ  (Discs)   •   GOTHAM RECORD COMPANY / GOODY RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   GRAMOPHONE SHOP, THE  (Discs)   •   GRAND CENTRAL MUSIC COMPANY / REGO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   GRAND RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   GREATER NEW YORK PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   GREEK RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   GREEN RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   GREGOL ENTERPRISES  (Discs)   •   GREGORY RECORD COMPANY / BOBBY GREGORY RECORDS / CATHY-BOBBY GREGORY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   GREY GULL RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)  •   GRIMES MUSIC PUBLISHERS / CLEF PUBLICATIONS  (Discs)   •   GUILD RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   GOLD STAR RECORDS   •   GULF RECORD COMPANY, INC.

H & M LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   HAMP-TONE RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   HANDY RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HAPPINESS RECORDS  (Discs)   •   HARDING, ROGER  (Cylinders)   •   HARDMAN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HARGAIL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   HARMONIA RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   HARMONY RECORD COMPANY   •   HARMONY RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   HARMONY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   HARMS, KAISER & HAGEN  (Cylinders)   •   HARRIS RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HARRY LIM RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   HART-VAN RECORD RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HAVEN RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   HAWTHORNE & SHEBLE [MANUFACTURING] COMPANY  (Cylinders and Discs)   •   HEADLINE RECORD CORPORATION OF NEW YORK  (Discs)   •   HEART RECORDS, INC.  (Disc)   •   HIGH TIME RECORDS  (Discs)   •   HI-LITE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)  •   HIT RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HOLIDAY RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HOLIDAY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   HOLIDAY RECORDS (OF HOLLYWOOD)  (Discs)   •   HOLLYWOOD ENTERPRISES, INC.  •   HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   HOLLYWOOD (PHONOGRAPH) RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HOLLYWOOD RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HOLLYWOOD STAR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   HOLMES ROYAL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HOT RECORD SOCIETY / H. R. S. RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   HOT ROD RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HOUSTON RECORDS  (Discs)  •   HOWARD RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   HUB RECORDS  (Discs)   •   HUCKSTERS RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   HUNTING, RUSSELL  (Cylinders)   •   HY-TONE RECORDING COMPANY / HY-TONE MANUFACTURING & DISTRIBUTING COMPANY  (Discs)

IDEAL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   IDESSA MALONE DISTRIBUTORS / IDESSA MALONE ENTERPRISES / STAFF RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   IMPERIAL RECORD COMPANY (I)  (Discs)   •   IMPERIAL RECORD COMPANY, INC. (II)  (Discs)   •   IMPERIAL RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   IMPERIAL TALKING MACHINE COMPANY  (Discs)   •   IMPRESARIO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   INDESTRUCTIBLE PHONOGRAPHIC RECORD COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   INDEPENDENT RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   INDIGO RECORDINGS, INC.  (Discs)   •   INTERNATIONAL PHONOGRAPH AND RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   INTERNATIONAL RECORD COMPANY [I]  (Discs)   •   INTERNATIONAL RECORD COMPANY (II)  (Discs)   •   INTERNATIONAL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   INTERNATIONAL RECORDS AGENCY  (Discs)   •   IOWA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   ISLAND MUSIC AND RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ISRAEL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   IVORY RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)

J. B. ALLISON RECORDING LABORATORIES • J. O. B. RECORDS  (Discs)   •   J. W. MYERS STANDARD PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   JADE RECORD COMPANY   •   JAMBOREE RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   JAMES D. VAUGHAN, PUBLISHER  (Discs)   •   JAZZ DISC  (Discs)   •   JAZZ INFORMATION RECORDS  (Discs)   •   JAZZ LTD.  (Discs)   •   JAZZ MAN RECORD SHOP  (Discs)   •   JAZZOLOGY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   JEWEL RECORD COMPANY (I)  •   JEWEL RECORD COMPANY (II)  (Discs)   •   JOCO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   JOHN CURRIE ENTERPRISES  (Discs)   •   JONES (RECORDING) LABORATORIES / JONES RESEARCH SOUND PRODUCTS  (Discs)   •   JUBILEE RECORDS COMPANY, INC. / JAY-GEE RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   JUKE BOX RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   JUMP RECORDS  (Discs)

KANSAS CITY TALKING MACHINE COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   KANSAS PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   KAPPA RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)  •   KARL ZOMAR LIBRARY, THE / COLUMBINE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   KEEN-O-PHONE COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)  •   KEM RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   KENTUCKY PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   KEYNOTE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   KHOURY’S RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   KING JAZZ, INC.  (Discs)   •   KING RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   KISMET RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)

LA BONITA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   LA MARR RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LABORATOR ED. JEDLICKA  (Cylinders)   •   LABORATORY ASSOCIATION, THE (Discs)   •   LAMB’S RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   LAMBERT COMPANY, THE  (Cylinders)   •   LAMPLIGHTER RECORDS  (Discs)   •   LARK RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LASSO RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LATIN AMERICAN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   LAURENT RECORDS, LTD.  (Discs)   •   LEE SALES COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   LEDA RECORDS COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LEEDS & CATLIN COMPANY  (Cylinders and Discs)   •   LEI RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)  •   LEO KUPANA’I STUDIO  (Discs)   •   LESLIE RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   LIBERTY MUSIC SHOP(S)  (Discs)   •   LIBERTY PHONOGRAPH COMPANY   •   LIBERTY RECORD COMPANY [I – Hollywood] / BLAZON RECORDS  (Discs)   •   LIBERTY RECORD COMPANY [II – New York]  (Discs)   •   LIBERTY RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LIBRARY OF CONGRESS  (Discs)   •   LIFE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LIFE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   LINA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   LINCOLN, BENJAMIN  (Discs)   •   LINCOLN RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   LINDEN RECORDINGS / LINDEN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   LINDWOOD RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LITTLE WONDER RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LISSEN RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   LLOYD’S NOVELTY AND CURIO SHOP  (Discs)   •   LONDON GRAMOPHONE CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   LONE STAR MUSIC PUBLISHERS   •   LONE STAR PUBLISHING AND RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LOUISIANA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY, LTD.  (Cylinders)   •   LUCKY 7 RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   LYRAPHONE COMPANY OF AMERICA  (Discs)   •   LYRIC PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)

M & S DISTRIBUTING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   M & S ELECTRIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MACY’S RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MacGREGOR & SOLLIE, INC. / MacGREGOR & INGRAM RECORDING LABORATORIES / MacGREGOR TRANSCRIPTIONS STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   MAESTRO MUSIC COMPANY / MAESTRO RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MACKSOUD, A. J.  (Discs)   •   MAGNOLIA RECORDS COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   MAIN STEM MUSIC SHOP  (Discs)   •   MAIN STREET RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MAJESTIC PHONOGRAPH COMPANY, INC. / MAJESTIC RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   MAJESTIC RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   MAJOR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MALOOF PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MANHATTAN MUSIC CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   MANHATTAN RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   MANOR RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MARGO RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MAR-KEE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MARS RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MARSH LABORATORIES, INC.  (Discs)   •   MARSHALL, CHARLES  (Cylinders)   •   MARSHALL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MARVEL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MARVEL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MARY HOWARD RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   MASTER RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MASTER RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   MASTERTONE RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   MAUNAY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MAYFAIR RECORD & RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   MELFORD RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MELLO-STRAIN RECORDS, LTD.  (Discs)   •   MELLOW MUSIC SHOP / MELLOW RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MEL-MAR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MELMORE, INC.  (Discs)   •   MELODISC RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MELODY LANE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MELODY MODERNE, INC. / MEMO RECORDS CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   MELODY RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   MELODY TRAIL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MELROSE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MELTZER, SAM  (Discs)   •   MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE  (Discs)   •   MERCURY RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   MERIT RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MERO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   METROPOLITAN PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   METROPOLITAN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   METROTONE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   M-G-M RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   MICHIGAN PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   MIDA RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MIDGET MUSIC, INC. / MIDGET MUSIC PRODUCTIONS / FIDELITY RECORDS [I]  (Discs)   •   MILLER PUBLICATIONS, INC.  (Discs)   •   MINNESOTA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   MIRACLE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MIRROR RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   MISSOURI PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)  •   MODERN MUSIC RECORDS / MODERN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MONARCH RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   MONROE, JOHN  (Cylinders)   •   MONTANA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY   •   MORRISON MUSIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MOTIF RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MOVIETONE MUSIC CORPORATION   •   MURRAY SINGER RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MUSIC ART RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MUSIC ENTERPRISES, INC.  (Discs)   •   MUSIC FOR SOCIETY RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   MUSIC, INC.  (Discs)   •   MUSIC-MART RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MUSIC ON PARADE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MUSIC YOU ENJOY, INC.  (Discs)   •   MUSICAL PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   MUSICRAFT CORPORATION / MUSICRAFT RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   MUTUAL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   MUZAK, INC. / ASSOCIATED MUSIC PUBLISHERS RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)

NATIONAL FILM AND RECORDING COMPANY / RICHARD BRADLEY AND ASSOCIATES  (Discs)   •   NATIONAL PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   NATIONAL RECORDS COMPANY  (Discs)   •   NATION’S FORUM  (Discs)   •   NATURAL HIT RECORD COMPANY, A  (Discs)   •   NEBRASKA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   NEW ENGLAND PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   NEW JAZZ RECORD COMPANY / PRESTIGE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   NEW JERSEY PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   NEW MUSIC QUARTERLY RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   NEW YORK PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   NEW YORK PHONOGRAPH RECORDING COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   NEW YORK RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   NEWARK RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   NORCROSS PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)  •   NORDSKOG PHONOGRAPH RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   NORTH AMERICAN PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)  •   NUMELODY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   NUTMEG RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)

OHIO PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   OHIO TALKING MACHINE COMPANY  (Discs)   •   OKEH PHONOGRAPH CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   OKLAHOMA TORNADO RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   OLD DOMINION PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  •   OLYMPIC DISC RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   OPERA RECORD COMPANY / OPERA RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   OPERA RECORDS  (Discs)   •   OPERAPHONE COMPANY / OPERAPHONE MANUFACTURING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   ORA NELLE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ORPHEUM RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ORPHEUS RECORD AND TRANSCRIPTION COMPANY  (Discs)   •   OTTO HEINEMAN PHONOGRAPH SUPPLY COMPANY, INC. (Discs)

PACE PHONOGRAPH CORPORATION / BLACK SWAN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PACEMAKER RECORD AND TRANSCRIPTION COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PACIFIC RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PACIFIC COAST RECORD CORPORATION, LTD.  (Discs)   •   PACIFIC PHONOGRAPH AGENCY / PACIFIC PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   PAGE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PALDA RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PAN-AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS / PAN-AM TRANSCRIPTIONS  (Discs)   •   PAN-AMERICAN RECORD COMPANY / BIRWELL CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   PANHELLENIC / PANHELLENION PHONOGRAPH RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   PARAGON RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   PARAMOUNT RECORD MANUFACTURING AND RECORDING COMPANY   •   PARAMOUNT RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PARAMOUNT RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   PARADE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PARKWAY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   PAROQUETTE RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   PATHÉ FRÈRES PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PATHÉ PHONOGRAPH & RADIO CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   PEACOCK RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PEAK RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   PEARL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   PEARSON’S PRODUCTIONS, INC.  (Discs)   •   PENGUIN RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   PEOPLE’S ARTISTS, INC.  (Discs)   •   PEOPLE’S SONGS  (Discs)  •   PHILO RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   PHONO RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PHONOGRAPH RECORD AND SUPPLY COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   PHONOGRAPH RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PHOTO & SOUND, INC.  (Discs)   •   PHOTOTONE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   PILOT RADIO COMPANY / CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   PIX RECORDS  (Discs)   •   PLANET RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PLEASANT RECORDS  (Discs)   •   POLONIA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Discs)   •   POLORON RECORDS  (Discs)   •   POLYPHONE COMPANY, THE / TALKING MACHINE COMPANY, THE  (Cylinders)   •   PREMIER RADIO ENTERPRISES, INC. / PREMIER RECORDS  (Discs)   •   PREMIER RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PREMIUM RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   PRESIDENT RECORDS  (Discs)   •   PREVIEW RECORDS  (Discs)   •   PRODUCERS RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)  •   PROCESS RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   PUBLIC RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)

Q.R.S COMPANY  (Discs)   •   QUAKER MUSIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   QUALITY RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   QUINN RECORDING COMPANY / GOLD STAR RECORDS RECORDS  (Discs)

RABSON’S MUSIC SHOP  (Discs)   •   RADIO CORPORATION OF AMERICA — RCA VICTOR DIVISION  (Discs)   •   RADIO RECORDERS, INC.  (Discs)   •   RADIO-RUNDFUNK CORPORATION / EUROPA IMPORT COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RADIO TRANSCRIPTION COMPANY OF AMERICA, LTD.  (Discs)   •   RAINBOW RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RAINBOW RECORDS, INC. / RAINBOW RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   RAVEN RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RAYMOR–McCOLLISTER MUSIC / RAYMOR RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   REC-ART RECORDINGS / REC-ART STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RECORD MERCHANDISING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RECORD SYNDICATE TRUST  (Discs)   •   RED BARN RECORDING COMPANY   •   RED BIRD RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   REED & DAWSON / REED, DAWSON & COMPANY  (Cylinders)  •   REEVES SOUND STUDIOS / REEVES SOUNDCRAFT CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   REGAL RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   REGAL RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   REGAL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   REGENT RECORDS  (Discs)   •   REGIS RECORD COMPANY / REGIS RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)  •   RELAX RECORDS  (Discs)  •   REMINGTON RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   RELAX RECORDS  (Discs)   •   REX TALKING MACHINE CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   REYNARD, JAMES KENT  (Discs)   •   RHAPSODY RECORDS [I]  (Discs)   •   RHAPSODY RECORDS [II]  (Discs)   •   RHUMBOOGIE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RHYTHM RECORDS COMPANY  (Discs)  •   RHYTHM RECORDINGS, INC.  (Discs)   •   RICH PUBLICATIONS / RICH-ART ENTERPRISES, INC. / RICH-ART RECORDS  (Discs)   •   RICH RECORDINGS  (Discs)  •   RICH-R’-TONE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RICHTONE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RKO PATHE STUDIOS Discs)   •   RODEHEAVER RECORD COMPANY / RODEHEAVER RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   ROBIN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   RODEO RECORDS  (Discs)   •   RONDO RECORDS / RONDO RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ROOST RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ROY MILTON RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   ROY RECORDS  (Discs)  •   ROYAL RECORD COMPANY / SEPIA RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   ROYCROFTERS, THE  (Discs)   •   ’R-TIST RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   RUMPUS RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)

S & D RECORDS  (Discs)  •   S & G RECORDS  (Discs)   •   S. B. W. RECORDING COMPANY / CARL SOBIE PUBLISHING  (Discs)   •   SACRED RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   SAN ANTONIO PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   SAN ANTONIO RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   SAPPHIRE RECORD & TALKING MACHINE COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SAPPHIRE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SARAFIAN SOHAG / SOKHAG RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SARCO RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)  •   SAUVENAIR RECORDS COMPANY  (Discs)  •   SAVOY RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)  •   SCANDINAVIAN MUSIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SCANDINAVIAN MUSIC HOUSE  (Discs)   •   SCHIRMER RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SCHRIBER AND GUSTAFSON  (Discs)  •   SCOOP RECORD COMPANY [I]  (Discs)   •   SCOOP RECORD COMPANY [II]  (Discs)   •   SCOOP RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SCOTT RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SCRANTON BUTTON COMPANY / SCRANTON RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SEARS, ROEBUCK & COMPANY – SILVERTONE RECORD CLUB  (Discs)   •   SECURITY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SEECO RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   SELECTIVE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SENSATION RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SELLERS COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SERENADE RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   SESSION RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   SEVA RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   SEYMOUR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SHARP RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SIEMON HARD RUBBER COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SIGNATURE RECORD COMPANY / SIGNATURE RECORDING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   SILVER SPUR RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SILVER STAR RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SILVER STAR RECORDING COMPANY   •   SITTIN’ IN WITH RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   SLATE ENTERPRISES, INC.  (Discs)   •   SOLO ART RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   SONART RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   SONGCRAFT, INC.  (Discs)  •   SONORA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY, INC. / SONORA PHONOGRAPH CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   SONORA RADIO AND TELEVISION CORPORATION / SONORA RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SONOROUS MUSIC COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   SORORITY FRATERNITY RECORDS AND PUBLICATIONS / MAYHAMS AND CO-ED RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SOUTH DAKOTA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  •   SPANISH MUSIC CENTER / CODA RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SPECIALTY RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SPIKES BROTHERS PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SPIN RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   SPIRE RECORDS COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   SPIRE RECORDS, LTD.  (Discs)   •   SPIRO RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   SPOKANE PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)  •   SPOTLIGHT RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   SPOTLITE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SQUARE DEAL RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   STANCHEL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   STANDARD PHONO / PHONOGRAPH COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   STAN-LEE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   STANLEY RECORDING COMPANY OF AMERICA, INC.  (Discs)   •   STAPLETON INDUSTRIES  (Discs)   •   STARR PIANO COMPANY – GENNETT RECORDS DIVISION  (Discs)   •   STATE PHONOGRAPH COMPANY OF ILLINOIS  (Cylinders)   •   STEINER, JOHN  (Discs)   •   STERLING RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   STINSON RECORDS / STINSON TRADING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   STRAND RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   STRONG RECORD COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   SULLIVAN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SULTAN RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SUNBEAM RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   SUNRISE RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)  •   SUNSET RECORD COMPANY  •   SUNSET RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   SUNSHINE PRODUCTIONS AND RECORDS  (Discs)   •   SUPER DISCS  (Discs)   •   SUPREME RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   SWAN RECORDING COMPANY, INC.  (Discs)   •   SWING RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)

TALENT RECORDS / STAR TALENT RECORDS  (Discs)  •   TALKING PHOTO CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   TALK-O-PHONE COMPANY, THE  (Discs)   •   TANNER MANUFACTURING AND DISTRIBUTING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   TECH-ART RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   TECHNICORD RECORDS  (Discs)   •  TELE-RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   TEMPO RECORD COMPANY OF AMERICA  (Discs)   •   TEMPO-TONE RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •    TENNESSEE PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  •   TENNESSEE RECORDS  (Discs)   •   TEXAS PHONOGRAPH COMPANY   •   TEXSTAR RECORDS  (Discs)    •   THOMAS W. HATCH, PUBLISHER  (Discs)   •   3 MINUTE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   TIMELY RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   TITAN PRODUCTION COMPANY  (Discs)   •   TIME ABROAD, LTD.   •   TOKEN RECORDS  (Discs)  •   TOP RECORD COMPANY / TOP RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   TOPS MUSIC ENTERPRISES / TOPS RECORDS  (Discs)   •   TOWER RECORDS  (Discs)   •   TRILON RECORD MANUFACTURING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   TRI-COLOR RECORDS  (Discs)  •   TRIUMPH RECORDS  (Discs)  •   TROPHY RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)  •   TRU TONE PRODUCTIONS, INC. / TRU TONE RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)

UNION OF IRISH INDUSTRIES, INC.  (Discs)  •   UNIQUE MUSIC PUBLISHERS AND RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   U. S. PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   UNITED ARTIST RECORDS  (Discs)   •   UNITED BROADCASTING COMPANY / MASTER RECORD COMPANY / SWING-MASTER RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   UNITED HEBREW DISK & CYLINDER COMPANY / UNITED HEBREW RECORD COMPANY  (Cylinders and Discs)   •   UNITED MASTERS, INC.  (Discs)   •   UNITED SOUND STUDIOS / UNITED SOUND SYSTEMS  (Discs)   •   UNITED STATES PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   UNITED STATES RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   UNITED STATES RECORD MANUFACTURING CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   UNIVERSAL PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   UNIVERSAL RECORDING LABORATORIES / UNIVERSAL RECORDING CORPORATION / UNIVERSAL RECORDS  (Discs)   •   UNIVERSAL RECORDING STUDIOS / UNIVERSAL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   UNIVERSAL TALKING MACHINE (MANUFACTURING) COMPANY  (Discs)   •   UPTOWN RECORDS  (Discs)   •   URAB RECORDING STUDIO (UNITED RECORDING ARTISTS BUREAU)  (Discs)   •   URBAN RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)

VAN-ES RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   VARGO, INC. / VARGO RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   VARIETY RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   VELVET TONE RECORD COMPANY   •   VERNE RECORDING CORPORATION OF AMERICA  (Discs)   •   VICTOR AND VICTOR PREDECESSOR COMPANIES: Johnson Sound Recording Company / Consolidated Talking Machine Company / Victor Talking Machine Company  (Discs)   •   VITACOUSTIC RECORD COMPANY / VITACOUSTIC RECORDS, INC  (Discs)   •   VOGUE RECORDINGS, INC.  (Discs)   •   VON BATTLE RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   VOX CORPORATION OF AMERICA  (Discs)   •   VOX PRODUCTIONS, INC.  (Discs)   •   VULCAN RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)

WALCUTT, MILLER & COMPANY / WALCUTT & LEEDS / THE WALCUTT & LEEDS, LTD.  (Cylinders)   •   WALLIS ORIGINAL RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   WARNER RECORD COMPANY / WARNER RECORDING LABORATORIES / WABINE RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)   •   WEST COAST PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   WEST COAST RECORDINGS  (Discs)   •   WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   WESTERN RECORDS / WESTERN RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   WESTERN RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   WESTERNAIRE RECORDS / CONSTELLATION RECORD AND DISTRIBUTING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   WHEELING RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   WILLIAMS & RANKIN  (Cylinders)   •   WILLIAMS, J. MAYO: Southern Record Corporation / Harlem Records, Inc. / “Ink,” Inc. / Mayo Music / Ebony Records)  (Discs)   •   WHITE CHURCH RECORDING COMPANY  (Discs)   •   WILLOW WALK INDUSTRIES  (Discs)  •   WINSETT RECORDING LABORATORY  (Discs)   •   WINSTON HOLMES MUSIC COMPANY  (Discs)   •   WISCONSIN PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)   •   WOR ELECTRICAL RECORDING AND TRANSCRIPTION SERVICES / WOR RECORDING STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   WORLD BROADCASTING SYSTEM, INC. / WORLD TRANSCRIPTION STUDIOS  (Discs)   •   WORLD RECORDS, INC.  (Discs)   •   WORLD’S GREATEST MUSIC  (Discs)   •   WRIGHT RECORD CORPORATION  (Discs)   •   WRIGHTMAN, NEALE: Neale Wrightman Publishers / Wrightman Music, Inc. / Wrightman Record Company / Wrimus Company  (Discs)   •   WYOMING PHONOGRAPH COMPANY  (Cylinders)

YADDO  (Discs)  •   YERKES RECORDING LABORATORIES  (Discs)   •   YOUR RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)  •   ZARVAH ART RECORD COMPANY  (Discs)

From the “Gennett Record Gazette” – Joie Lichter, Bob Tamm, and the Questionable “Gene Bailey” (1924)

The Gennett Record Gazette was a nifty promo publication filled with photos, release lists, facts, and “alternative facts.” Here are a couple of excepts from Vol. I, No. 4 (April 1924) — one correcting a likely error in Johnson & Shirley’s American Dance Bands on Records and Film, and the other opening a discographical can of worms.

Joie Lichter’s and Bob Tamm’s Milwaukee orchestras visited Gennett’s Richmond, Indiana, studio on March 4, 1924 — Lichter recording five sides, with Tamm squeezing in a single title midway through the session, according to the Gennett ledgers. (“Tamm” or “Tamms”? It appears both ways in press reports and ads of the period, but “Tamm” is favored by a good margin.)

For god-only-knows what reason (since its compilers give none), ADBRF lists the Tamm side as a pseudonymous Lichter recording, even though the ledger, and the detailed information reported below, make that seem unlikely. For what it’s worth, Brian Rust credited the Tamm side to Tamm in his earlier  American Dance Band Discography, from which ADBRF was largely taken. If anyone can offer any credible reason for the change in ADBRF (credible excluding things like “so-and-so is sure he hears such-and-such” or “Joe Blow remembers that somebody said…”), please let us know, and of course be sure to cite the source. If it checks out, we’ll be happy to post it.

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Our next excerpt involves the ubiquitous Bailey’s Lucky Seven. For years it’s been taken for granted that this was a Sam Lanin group, and aural evidence does strongly suggest that was the case on many sides. Many others, however, are more generic-sounding. Unfortunately, the Gennett ledgers offer no clues in either case. (Note that the Bailey’s personnel listings in the various Rust and Johnson & Shirley discographies are all conjectural, even if the authors don’t make that clear. None of it is from file data or other primary-source documentation.)

But here we have one “Gene Bailey, of Bailey’s Lucky Seven” running a question-and-answer column in the Gennett Record Gazette. Not surprisingly, “Bailey” gave no answer whatsoever to the fan’s question concerning the Lucky Seven’s personnel, or where the band was performing, other than a vague reference later in the column to one “Saxophone Joe.”

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So, was there a real Gene Bailey involved with these recordings, and if so, in what capacity? Or was this just yet another case of the Gennett folks having fun with pseudonyms? We favor the latter, since we’ve found no trace of a Gene Bailey having been  active on the New York-area musical scene, either as a musician or a manager, at the time. (These were all New York recordings.  The cartoon above, by the way, is based on a well-known 1923 photo taken in the New York studio, which was configured differently than the Indiana facility).

There’s an old anecdote about Gennett borrowing the names of employees or other locals for its artist pseudonyms. And a Gene Bailey does turns up in the social notices of several eastern Indiana newspapers at the time, although with no mention of any musical connection. But just to muck things up a bit, Gennett once issued a record credited to “Jene Bailey’s Orchestra,” claiming (in the ledger as well as in their ads) that Mr. Bailey personally conducted the side:

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Of course, much of Gennett’s promotional material should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. This was, after all, a  company whose “Colored Records” catalog included a photo of an unknown black band that was captioned “Ladd’s Black Aces” — a confirmed pseudonym on Gennett for the all-white Original Memphis Five.

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While we’re on subject, here’s a terrific book that all Gennett fans should own, by Charlie Dahan and Linda Gennett Irmscher (Arcadia Publishing). It’s available on Amazon.com, and a real  bargain at just $21.99 — crammed with rare photos and little-known facts, and covering a much broader scope than the earlier Kennedy tome. Highly recommended!
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(That’s Art Landry’s Call of the North Orchestra on the cover. At the top, you can see the heavy drapes that contributed to the Indiana studio’s notoriously muddy acoustics.)

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Len Spencer Arrested (1897)

Russell Hunting wasn’t the only recording-industry pioneer to be arrested in the 1890s. In March 1897, Len Spencer and two of the Emerson brothers were taken into custody in Newark, New Jersey, charged with stealing cylinders from the United States Phonograph Company.

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Len Spencer’s Phonoscope biography, 1898

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The trouble began in early 1897, after Spencer and the Emersons (Victor H., George E., and Clyde D.) resigned from United States Phonograph to work for the American Graphophone Company (Columbia).

According to the charges, Spencer, George Emerson, and Clyde Emerson took a substantial number of records from U.S. Phonograph, which they allegedly sold to a “rival concern.” The company was not identified in the press reports, but quite likely it was Columbia, which had a history of copying other companies’ cylinders and marketing them as their own (see, for example, American Graphophone Co. v. United States Phonograph Co., et al., U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, In Equity No. 4005, an 1898 case in which Calvin Child confirmed the practice).

Victor Emerson was not charged. Details of the arrest were reported by the New York Sun on March 9, 1897:

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But unlike Hunting, who went to jail for three months for making and peddling “obscene” records, Spencer and the two Emersons  escaped unscathed. On March 25, 1897, the prosecutor declared that the state had no case, and defendants were discharged.

A few weeks later, Spencer formally announced his employment by Columbia:

 

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Spencer didn’t remain exclusive to Columbia for long, and by the early 1900s he had reclaimed his former status as one of the most prolific studio free-lancers. Victor Emerson went on to serve long and well as Columbia’s chief recording engineer before resigning in 1914 to launch his own label.

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Odds & Ends from the Recording Industry’s Infancy (1891-1893)

Sarah Bernhardt recording in Bettini’s “Phonographic Salon”
(New York, 1892)

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Members of the United States Marine Band recording for Columbia; at least six recording machines appear to be in use, each producing a master from which copies will be transcribed for sale. (Washington DC, 1891)

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Getting their nickel’s worth (1891)

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A gallery of first-generation recording artists. Aside from Russell Hunting and Len Spencer (shown here as “Leon”), all retired from recording in the early 1900s, if not earlier. (1892)

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No electricity? No problem! Just hook up this Edison water-powered model to your kitchen sink. (No running water? OK, well there’s a treadle-driven model…) (1892)

Russell Hunting Goes to Jail (1896)

Russell Hunting was a major figure in the early recording industry — an editor of The Phonoscope (an early trade paper), a prolific recording artist both here and in England, and eventually, the technical director for Pathé’s New York studio.

He also made raunchy records that he sold under the counter at his Clinton Place studio and shipped to shady establishments from Coney Island to California in the mid-1890s. They were colorful enough that they caught the attention of Anthony Comstock of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, who spent two years trying to identify the culprit.

The story’s been told elsewhere, but never as well as in the New York World‘s tongue-in-cheek account (below). Hunting went to jail for three months.

 

 

 

The John Fletcher Story, Part 2: The Olympic-Remington Debacle (1921 – 1922)

The John Fletcher Story, Part 2: The Olympic-Remington Debacle (1921–1922)
By Allan Sutton

 

 

The following is a condensed excerpt from the author’s Harry Pace, John Fletcher, and the Black Swan Saga (in preparation for 2018 publication)

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Pathé was not yet producing lateral-cut discs when it took over  John Fletcher’s Operaphone Company as a subsidiary. [1] By early 1920, however, it was preparing to do so, and the universal-cut Operaphone discs (being readily playable on lateral-cut machines) might have been seen as a potential competitive threat. It probably was no coincidence that Operaphone’s sudden disappearance in early 1920 occurred at precisely the same time as Pathé’s launch of its new lateral-cut Actuelle discs.

Little more was heard of John Fletcher until March 1921, when The Talking Machine World reported the launch of the Olympic Disc Record Corporation. [2] Incorporated with $260,000 capital in Maryland (although it never operated there [3]), Olympic announced that it would “manufacture the highest possible quality phonograph records, and plans to engage the best artists available.”

Much was made of the fact that the Remington Phonograph Company held a controlling interest in Olympic. Olympic’s  executive roster was identical with that of Remington Phonograph, except for one outsider — John Fletcher, who was listed as secretary of the new company. [4] Remington’s failure a year later would  take Olympic down with it, but in early 1921 the acquisition was hailed by industry insiders as a promising move by a rising new phonograph manufacturer.

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    The Remington Phonograph Corporation, picturing president Philo E. Remington, was registered on July 20, 1920. The company filed a trademark application for Reminola records on the same date.

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The Remington Phonograph Corporation had been incorporated in January 1920. [5] The company was headed by former Remington Typewriter Company executive Philo E. Remington (president), along with James S. Holmes (vice-president and general manager), and M. B. Thomas (secretary and, later, treasurer). [6] Eliphalet Remington, son of the founder of the Remington Arms Company, served on the board of directors. [7] Although Remington Phonograph’s promotional materials strongly suggested that the company was affiliated with Remington Arms, it was not, as later testimony would confirm. [8]

The phonograph plant was to have been housed in the Remington Typewriter factory at Ilion, New York, [9] a plan that was quickly abandoned. Instead, the company purchased an existing factory (formerly used by an unnamed manufacturer of bank and office fixtures) in Brooklyn’s Bush Terminal Building. [10] Shipments of the first phonograph model, coupled with a national advertising campaign, began in late July or early August 1920. [11] Three additional models began shipping that autumn.

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Remington’s main selling point was its reproducer, which was said to do away with the “cramped or imprisoned tone” of other models.

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Remington Phonograph clearly was anticipating record production as early as the summer of 1920. In July of that year, the company filed a U.S. trademark application for use of the Reminola brand on phonographs and records. [12] Although his application claimed use since May 5, 1920, no evidence has been found that that Reminola records were ever produced commercially. Early reports stated that Remington’s records would be manufactured at Ilion, but as 1921 dawned, they had yet to appear.

Then, in April 1921, came the first listing of Olympic records, as May releases. TMW reported that the company had already begun recording and pressing records in its Brooklyn facility. [13] A month later, it was reported that Olympic had acquired Fletcher’s idled Operaphone facility (which included a studio and pressing plant) on Meadow Street in Long Island City. Edward Kuhn (a former Edison supervisor) was hired as an advisory mechanical engineer as recording and manufacturing were transferred to the Long Island facility. By then, Fletcher had been elected to Remington Phonograph’s board of directors. [14]

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Olympic advertised aggressively, albeit to little apparent effect. The double-page spread ran in a 1921 edition of The Talking Machine World.

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Olympic got off to an unsteady start, despite an aggressive advertising campaign. Once again in charge of a recording program, Fletcher repeated past mistakes. Although Olympic was marketed as a premium-priced label, its main offering was bland pop and light classical fare, much of it performed by the same New York-area dance bands and studio freelancers who could be heard on dozens of other labels, many of them better-produced than Olympic.

The only relatively bright spot was an operatic series (with program notes printed on the labels) featuring such lesser lights as Regina Viccarino, Henrietta Wakefield, and Percy Hemus. Broadway star Greek Evans was pressed into service as an operatic baritone on several releases. However, only ten issues appeared, most of them single-sided.

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Olympic used many of the same freelance studio singers and New York-area dance orchestras (like Harry Yerkes’ Jazzarimba Orchestra, above) that could be heard on dozens of other labels. Some of the operatic recordings (right) later turned up, in disguise, on the cut-rate National Music Lovers label.

..

Olympic’s recording and technical quality were mediocre, and with few stars or anything out of the ordinary in the way of repertoire in its catalog, the label could not hope to compete with Columbia, Victor, and other comparably priced brands. The company boasted a large number of retailers, but many (like the “trunk, bag, and umbrella” store shown below) carried phonographs and records only as side-lines. Sales lagged as advertising fell off, and the final Olympic Disc Record Corporation releases appeared in December 1921. At the same time, the parent Remington Phonograph Company was failing.

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Remington in decline: In late 1921, the company began steeply discounting its phonographs.

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On December 1, 1921, Remington and Olympic were thrown into receivership on the complaint of vice-president Holmes, who contended that it was impossible to proceed with business unless additional capital could be raised. In addition, Holmes disclosed that a number of legal actions against the companies were likely. Remington Phonograph claimed liabilities of $22,500 and assets of $100,000. The situation was more dire for Olympic, with liabilities of $33,000 and assets of $60,000. [15] Later testimony revealed that Remington had lost money from the start, despite rosy statements to investors.

On December 9, the Olympic Disc Record Corporation filed a petition in bankruptcy. [16] With Remington itself on the verge of collapse, management’s answer was to press its already-disgruntled investors for still more money. A meeting of Remington stockholders on January 30, 1922, turned violent, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported:

Interrupted by cried of “liar,” “thief,” “throw him out,” and “wait until we get you outside,” James P. Holmes, vice-president of the Remington Phonograph Company [sic], tried in vain yesterday to soothe the ruffled feelings of five-hundred disgruntled stockholders… Most of them appeared to be persons of small means… The manager of the hotel came on the run when a bedlam of hisses and howls greeted Holmes’ further efforts to preside. The manager settled this argument by threatening to call the police and have the whole crowd ejected if the noise continued. [17]

A proposal that stockholders sink still more money into a reorganization was shouted down. Eventually, Edwin Starr Ward, an attorney representing the stockholders, was allowed to present his report. Philo Remington, he alleged, was merely a company figurehead, drawing a minimum $5,000 annual royalty for the use of his name. Of the 22,500 shares he had originally owned, he was now said to hold only 1,100. Ward concluded, “The business was carried on in a wasteful, ignorant, and extravagant manner and with utter disregard for the interests of stockholders.” Finally, the New York Times reported, “the gathering broke up in disorder.” [18]

The Olympic and Remington operations were quickly dismantled. Louis Jersawit, the receiver for both companies, gave notice in the New York Times for March 3, 1922, that all of Olympic’s assets and property were to be auctioned on March 25. Offered for sale was,

a fully equipped plant for the manufacture of phonograph records, phonograph records completed and in the course of completion, all materials and property used in the manufacture of phonograph records, all patents, copyrights, and trademarks, all office and factory furniture and fixtures, together with the complete equipment of the factory of the said defendant, Olympic Disc Record Corporation, contained in the premises at 156 Meadow Street, Long Island City… [19]

The purchaser would be none other than John Fletcher, in partnership with Black Swan’s Harry Pace—the American recording industry’s first racially mixed executive team. Fletcher retained possession of his Olympic masters, some of which he proceeded to reissue under colorful aliases on Black Swan, in the process scuttling Pace’s pledge to issue only recordings by black artists (although in fairness, it should be noted that Pace himself had already broken that pledge on several occasions).

Some Olympic masters would also find their way to other companies, including the Bridgeport Die & Machine Company, New York Recording Laboratories, and Scranton Button Company, which parceled them out to their client labels for several years. Some of Olympic’s celebrity operatic issues even ended up, in disguise, on Scranton’s cut-rate National Music Lovers label. [20]

Fletcher had escaped the Remington Phonograph Corporation’s collapse unscathed, at least from a legal standpoint, but other Remington executives would not. An investigation of Remington Phonograph revealed that of the $1 million allegedly collected on stock sales, only $440,000 showed on Remington’s books. In addition, shareholder complaints continued to mount over misleading promotional materials and artificially inflated stock prices. The result was an investors’ lawsuit charging that the Remington Phonograph Corporation “was grossly mismanaged by its officers, who are now under indictment for fraudulent use of the mails in connection with the selling of the stock of the corporation.” [21]

The indictment referred to in the shareholder’s suit originated in  the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, which charged Philo Remington and five other Remington Phonograph executives or associates with stock fraud. On June 1, 1922, all six were ordered held on $5,000 bond each, pending arraignment. [22] The investigation would drag on into the spring of 1924, before finally going to trial on April 4. Of the six who were originally charged, only Morris Pomerantz (a salesman whose connection to the company is unclear) escaped indictment.

At the trial, Harry Sieber (who had succeeded Thomas as treasurer) testified that Remington Phonograph had “never earned a dollar,” and that the stock price “was shoved up whenever that seemed expedient.” His testimony was followed by a parade of stockholders who declared they had been misled into believing that Remington Phonograph was affiliated with Remington Arms and Remington Typewriter. Among the evidence presented was a booklet devoted to the history of both companies, which Remington Phonograph had mailed to potential investors. [23] Two other key pieces of evidence were discovered to have mysteriously disappeared, but copies were allowed into evidence. [24]

By the end of the thirteen-day trial, seven of the original nine counts had been dismissed as faulty, and most of the evidence relating to misleading use of the Remington name had been excluded. Philo Remington and James Holmes were acquitted. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the other three. [25]

In the meantime, John Fletcher, having not been caught up in the Remington investigation, had been busy. In the space of two years, he had bought his way into Black Swan, contributed significantly to its collapse, and now was about to pack his bags for Chicago, where one last failure awaited him.

________________________

Part 1 — Music for Everybody (1900–1921)

Part 3 (Coming Soon) — A Not-So-Black Swan (1922–1923)

Part 4 (Coming Soon) — Beating a Dead Horse in Chicago (1924–1925)

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 Notes

[1] “Pathé Frères Phonograph Co.” (re: Operaphone as a Pathé subsidiary). Moody’s Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities. New York: Moody Manual Co. (1922), p. 940. Pathé’s control of Operaphone beginning in the later ‘teens was never disclosed publicly.

[2] “New Concern to Make Records.” Talking Machine World (Mar  15, 1921), p. 3

[3] Two of Olympic’s board members resided in Baltimore, perhaps explaining the decision to incorporate in Maryland.

[4] “New Concern to Make Records,” op. cit.

[5] Untitled notice. Talking Machine World (Jan 15, 1920), p. 121.

[6] “To Enter Talking Machine Field.” Talking Machine World (Mar 15, 1920), p. 226.

[7] “Announcing the Remington Phonograph Corporation” (ad). Talking Machine World (Jun 15, 1920), p. 62.

[8] “Remington Phonograph Head on Trial for Fraud.” Olean [NY] Times Herald (Apr 9, 1924), p. 5.

[9] “Holmes with Remington Corp.” Talking Machine World (May 15, 1920), p. 62.

[10] “Reviews Remington’s Progress.” Talking Machine World (Sep 15, 1920), p. 124.

[11] “Remingtons Now Being Shipped.” Talking Machine World (Aug 15, 1920), p. 51. Shipments of additional models began in September or early October.

[12] Remington Phonograph Corporation. “Reminola,” U.S. trademark application #135,214 (filed Jul 20, 1920).

[13] Some pressings had been produced by March 14, 1921, when they were demonstrated at Remington Phonograph’s first annual shareholders’ meeting.

[14] “Remington Co. Doubles Stock.” Talking Machine World (Apr 15, 1921), p. 33.

[15] “Receiver Is Appointed for Remington Phonograph.” New York Tribune (December 2, 1921), p. 19.

[16] “Business Troubles — Petitions in Bankruptcy.” New York Tribune (Dec 10, 1921), p. 17.

[17] “Heads of Defunct Firm Threatened.” Philadelphia Inquirer (Jan 31, 1922), p. 2. The New York Times, in the article cited below, gave the number of stockholders attending as four-hundred.

[18] “Stockholders in Wrangle.” New York Times (Jan 31, 1922), p. 3

[19] “Receivers’ Sales.” New York Times (Mar 4, 1922), p. 19.

[20] Sutton, Allan. Pseudonyms on American Records, 1892–1942 (Third Revised and Expanded Edition). Denver: Mainspring Press (2013).

[21] Frankland et al. v. Remington Phonograph Corporation et al. (119 A. 127).

[22] “6 Remington Officers in $5,000 Bail.” Rochester [NY] Democrat and Chronicle (Jun 2, 1922), p. 1

[23] “Promoters Listen to Luring Letters.” Philadelphia Inquirer (Apr 5, 1924), p. 2.

[24] “Evidence Missing. Letters Used in Alleged Fraud Case Are Stolen.” Cincinnati Enquirer (Apr 5, 1924), p. 9.

[25] “Two Are Acquitted in Remington Case.” Philadelphia Inquirer (Apr 23, 1924), p. 3.

“Paramount’s Rise and Fall” Has Sold Out – Others to Follow Soon

Alex van der Tuuk’s Paramount’s Rise and Fall sold out this morning, after a long and successful run (in two editions) as one of our most important titles. We have no further copies available for sale.

The following titles are now in very short supply (less than one carton of each) as we continue to phase out book sales in favor of online data distribution, in affiliation with UC-Santa Barbara’s DAHR project. These titles will not be reprinted once current supplies are gone — Best to order soon, if interested:

Bolig: Victor Black Label Discography, Vol. II

Bolig: Victor Black Label Discography, Vol. IV

Bryant, et al.: American Record Co., Hawthorne & Sheble

Bryant, et al.: Leeds & Catlin Records

Charosh: Berliner Records in America

Sutton: Recording the ‘Twenties

You can browse and order all remaining titles on the Mainspring Press website, while supplies last.

Please note that Mainspring Press does not sell on Amazon.com; Mainspring titles on Amazon are being offered by third parties (sometimes at ridiculously inflated prices) with whom we are not affiliated. Most are used copies and are duly noted as such, but some copies being offered as “new” may be remaindered hurt/second-quality copies, which we have made available to resellers on occasion. Mainspring Press sells only on its own website, and on eBay as mspBooks.

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The John Fletcher Story — Part 1: “Music for Everybody” (1900 – 1921)

THE JOHN FLETCHER STORY
Part 1: “Music for Everybody” (1900 – 1921)
By Allan Sutton

This article is a substantially expanded version of a posting that originally appeared on the Mainspring Press website in 2001.

 

John Fletcher isn’t a name that normally comes up in discussions of recording industry pioneers. He managed to fail at virtually every venture he undertook (and there were many), and his involvement with Black Swan almost certainly contributed to that label’s demise. And yet, he was typical of many entrepreneurs who challenged the major companies during the record industry’s early boom years and, in doing so, managed to produce some intriguing records.

Fletcher, who began his career as a professional musician, claimed to have first recorded as a member of the Edison studio orchestra in the late 1890s. In a July 1918 interview with the Talking Machine World, Fletcher recalled, “My first phonographic experience was as a player in the old Edison cylinder laboratory in Orange, N.J., when you had to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, be on the job, in your chair, and ready to play at 8 o’clock.” [1]

By the early 1900s, John Fletcher was performing and recording with  Sousa’s Band, as a cornetist. He is almost certainly the “_Fletcher” cited by Brian Rust in early editions of Jazz Records (the name was deleted in some later editions, with no explanation offered).

Fletcher recalled, “The band was engaged for three weeks to make records for the Victor Company. At the time, the company’s laboratory consisted of a small room on the third floor in a building in the neighborhood of Tenth and Lombard streets, Philadelphia, and it was in this small room that I got my first insight into the mysteries of sound recording.” [2] (A search of the Victor files failed to turn up a contiguous three-week block of Sousa sessions. Perhaps Fletcher was referring to the period of May 31 through June 26, 1902, during which the band was in the studio on thirteen days.)

Fletcher toured Europe with Sousa’s Band, then reportedly joined the New York Symphony Orchestra upon his return. He is known to have made at least two recordings as a cornet soloist, for Indestructible cylinders in 1908 and 1910, [3] but his growing interest in sound recording soon eclipsed any desire to continue working as a musician. “During this time,” he told TMW, “I realized how imperfect were the methods then in vogue to record symphonic music with a few instruments, and I finally resolved to devote my future career to recording the various instruments comprising the grand orchestra, in sufficient numbers to produce the musical sensation caused by the combined tonality of such a large number of instruments.” [4]

Fletcher began to experiment with recording processes. He eventually devised what he termed “an extremely narrow” vertical-cut groove playable with an ordinary steel needle, for which he filed a patent application on July 3, 1915. Fletcher claimed that his process produced a record “found to be extremely durable in use,” a claim not supported by many of the surviving specimens in which it was employed. By the time the patent was finally granted in mid-1918, Fletcher had abandoned the fine-groove vertical cut.

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Fletcher’s fine-groove vertical-cut patent, 1915 (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.)

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On December 15, 1914, The Talking Machine World reported that Fletcher, E. F. Gerner, and M. Naughton had filed incorporation papers in New York for the Operaphone Manufacturing Corporation, which was to produce phonographs and records. [5] George Thomas served as president of the company, and Fletcher managed recording and manufacturing. The company opened a New York office at 2 Rector Street (which was later moved to 200 Fifth Avenue), a pressing plant at 156 Meadow Street in Long Island City, and a recording studio at an unknown location. The latter was moved into the pressing plant in late 1916. [6]

The exact date on which Operaphone records were first sold remains uncertain, but a trademark application, filed belatedly by Fletcher on September 13, 1919, claimed use of the Operaphone name on records beginning March 1, 1915. [7] The initial offerings were seven-inch discs employing Fletcher’s fine-groove vertical cut, bearing pressed labels (using a “frosted” background, reminiscent of the Edison Diamond Disc, but with sharply raised type) and retailing for 25¢ each. Fletcher did little advertising during Operaphone’s earliest days; in fact, Crescent (an Operaphone client label) began advertising in The Talking Machine World a month before Operaphone itself. [8]

Fletcher was pursuing two conflicting goals — the production of a cheap record that virtually anyone could afford (reflected in his “Music for Everybody” slogan), and the recording of serious symphonic repertoire, an inherently costly undertaking. In the end, he opted for the former. Despite its name and Fletcher’s lofty ambitions, the Operaphone label leaned heavily toward current popular tunes, public-domain “standards,” and light-classical snippets, most often rendered by the house band or the usual studio free-lance performers.

There were occasional selections by more distinguished artists, including retired Metropolitan Opera soprano Gertrude Rennyson and Broadway star May Naudain, but they were the exceptions. Some other Operaphone artists, like “Dan Perry,” were purely fictitious; “Perry” turns out to have been studio denizen Arthur Collins, based upon unmistakable aural evidence.

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An early “frosted”-label Operaphone pressing (left), and a re-pressing of the same master using the later etched label. “Dan Perry” was actually Arthur Collins in disguise. (Author’s collection)

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By the time that Operaphone finally began advertising regularly in early 1916, Fletcher had discontinued seven-inch discs and was producing eight-inch fine-groove pressings that he claimed would play “as long as the average twelve-inch records of other makers,” which in fact they did not. The copy was later revised to read, “more music than the ten-inch records of other makes,” which was still a bit of an exaggeration. Truth-in-advertising finally prevailed in 1917, when the wording was changed to “play at least as long as high-priced ten-inch records.”

The initial eight-inch Operaphone releases were listed in the January 1916 edition of The Talking Machine World, as February releases. [9] Retailing for 35¢, the eight-inch discs initially used the same dim, “frosted” labels as the seven-inch discs, which were soon replaced by more legible embossed labels with paint-filled type. In August 1916 the company finally announced, with some fanfare, that it was switching to paper labels. [10]

Fletcher also erred by sometimes coupling mismatched selections on his early releases, placing, for instance, a tired old hearts-and-flowers ballad on the flip side of a current pop tune—the same error Columbia had committed, then corrected, several years earlier. In September 1916, Fletcher promised that Operaphone would offer more compatible couplings on future releases. [11]

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The first paper Operaphone label (left), introduced in August 1916. The design had already appeared very briefly in etched form. Crescent was Operaphone’s earliest known client label. (Kurt Nauck collection)

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Despite such a bumpy start, Operaphone reported in August 1916 that production at the pressing plant had tripled in eight months. [12] Fletcher had also expanded his client list beyond Crescent and was now pressing eight-inch Operaphone discs under an array of labels that included All Star, Elginola, and the earliest version of  Domestic. He soon secured Canadian distribution for Operaphone through the Canadian Phonograph Company of Toronto. During the spring of 1917, offices were moved to 489 Fifth Avenue, to allow easier access to the Long Island plant (which now also housed the recording studio) via the Queensboro subway line. [13]

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Advertisements for eight-inch Operaphone discs, 1916

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To all outward appearances, the Operaphone Manufacturing Corporation was a thriving business in the spring of 1917. And then it seemingly vanished, without explanation or even a passing mention in the trade papers. Fletcher finally alluded to the closing in his 1918 interview, recalling, “After facing abnormal conditions, due to the steadily increasing prices of raw materials, the Operaphone Company seized the psychological moment to shut down its factory… .” [14]

In short, Fletcher had badly under-priced his goods. A price increase might have been feasible had the eight-inch Operaphone disc been a high-quality product, but it was far from that. Weakly recorded, pressed in poor material, and offering little out of the ordinary in the way of artists or repertoire, the records had nothing to recommend them other than their unusually low price. Fletcher later admitted that the eight-inch discs “incurred tremendous expenses with returns that were hardly commensurate.” [15]

*     *     *     *     *

One year later, a new type of Operaphone record suddenly appeared on the market, with no prior notice of its impending arrival. First advertised in April 1918, the records were credited to a reorganized Operaphone Company, Inc. [16] They were an obvious departure from the earlier series, being ten-inch vertical-cut discs that employed a groove of normal dimensions. What was not obvious was that John Fletcher, although still running the company, was no longer making his own recordings.

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Pathé supplied the masters for Operaphone’s new ten-inch series, the labels of which carry Pathé’s usual “U.S. Consumption Only” disclaimer. Many issues, like this one, were pseudonymous; “Albert Faber” was actually Eleanor Rae Ball.

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Fletcher, having mothballed his Long Island City studio, was now obtaining his recordings from the Pathé Phonograph Company. Pathé recorded its masters on oversized cylinders, which could be dubbed in any number of disc formats using the pantograph, a mechanical transcribing device that contributed to the rumbling and clanking heard on acoustic Pathé products.

The new ten-inch Operaphone discs used material from the Pathé catalog, but Pathé’s involvement would not have been apparent to the average record buyer. Having been transcribed using a steel-needle cut, the discs bore no physical resemblance to their sapphire-cut Pathé counterparts, and the artists often were masked by pseudonyms. A TMW reporter opined that the new records “mark a distinct improvement over the former Operaphone products,” but expressed no suspicions as to their true source. [17]

In conjunction with his new series, Fletcher announced that he was “planning to devote more time to…the recording of the entire symphonic repertoire.” In fact, Fletcher so far had not devoted any time to such an undertaking, beyond releasing a few orchestral lollipops on Operaphone. Unsurprisingly, given his track record and the fact that he was now simply leasing existing Pathé material, his plan was never implemented.

During the summer of 1919, a subtle change appeared in the wording of Operaphone’s advertising. Previously, the records had been touted as playing on “all universal tone-arm machines” (i.e., an arm that could be converted to play either lateral- or vertical-cut discs, usually by simply pivoting the reproducer into the proper position). In June, that was amended to read simply, “play on all phonographs.” The reason was that Pathé had begun dubbing Operaphone masters in a universal-cut format that was playable (albeit with rather mediocre result) on lateral or vertical machines without the need for a convertible arm. The earlier label, which pictured a reproducer in the vertical-cut position, was replaced by a redesigned version that dispensed with the illustration and listed the Smallwood universal-cut patent, #639,452.

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The final Operaphone label, showing Smallwood’s universal-cut patent number. Pathé was careful to disguise its more prestigious artists on Operaphone; “Rosner’s Dance Orchestra” was actually Joseph Knecht’s Waldorf Astoria Orchestra, and “Helene Buepre” was Claudia Muzio. (Kurt Nauck collection)

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As with the previous Operaphone series, material came from the Pathé catalog, the artists were often disguised, and the records bore no physical resemblance to their Pathé sapphire-ball counterparts. The records were also pressed under several client labels, including Empire and World. Oddly, a comparison of Talking Machine World advance listings reveals that in some cases, the Operaphone release dates preceded those of the corresponding Pathé records by a month or more. This unusual reversal of normal client-label procedure might have been explained by the fact that Operaphone by then had become a full-fledged Pathé subsidiary. The corporate relationship was never acknowledged to the general public, but it was disclosed in various editions of Moody’s. [18]

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Operaphone’s June 1920 list. “Wilbur Fairbanks” was Noble Sissle in disguise. The many other Operaphone aliases are unmasked in the author’s Pseudonyms on American Records — Third Revised and Expanded Edition (Mainspring Press).

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By the autumn of 1920, there were subtle signs that all was not well with Operaphone. In September, the company opted for a cheaper black-and-white advertisement in TMW, instead of its customary two-color. The color was back in October, but the company did not advertise in December, at the height of the all-important holiday sales season, and no new releases appeared in TMW’s advance list that month. A new ad, with only ten releases rather than the usual twelve, appeared in January 1921—perhaps not coincidentally, the same month in which Pathé entered the lateral-cut market with its new Actuelle label.

A small ad in February, with no new releases listed, would be Operaphone’s last. A month later, TMW reported that the Operaphone Company was “winding up its affairs and will shortly withdraw from the records field.” [19] In the same issue, John Fletcher was listed as secretary of a freshly launched venture — the Olympic Disc Record Corporation. [20]

 

Coming Up:

Part 2 – Fist-Fight in the Boardroom: The Remington-Olympic Saga (1921)

Part 3 – A Not-So-Black Swan (1922–1923)

Part 4 – Beating a Dead Horse in Chicago (1924–1925)

__________________

 

[1] “Noted Career in Record Field.” Talking Machine World (July 15, 1918), p. 96.
[2] Ibid. Victor moved into the Philadelphia studio in November 1901, according to recording engineer Harry O. Sooy, and did most of its recording there until early November 1907, when a  new Camden studio opened. Contrary to numerous discographies, no Victor recording was done in Camden during this period; for details, see “Camden, Philadelphia, or New York? The Victor Studio Conundrum (1900–1920),” on the Mainspring Press website.

[3] “Pretty Peggy” (Indestructible 940, released c. December 1908); and “Infantry Calls, No. 1” (Indestructible 1308, released April 1910).

[4] “Noted Career in Record Field,” op. cit.

[5] “To Make Phonographs.” Talking Machine World (December 15, 1914), p. 43.

[6] “All Departments Under One Roof.” Talking Machine World (November 15, 1916), p. 71.

[7] Operaphone Company: “Operaphone.” U.S. trademark application #122,654 (filed 9/13/1919).

[8] “Crescent Records for Quick Delivery” (ad). Talking Machine World (December 15, 1915), p. 19. Crescent’s fine-groove discs of 1915–1916 were simply Operaphone pressings under a different label. The company later used other suppliers.

[9] “Record Bulletins for February, 1916—Operaphone Manufacturing Company.” Talking Machine World (January 15, 1916), p. 81.

[10] “Announce New Record Labels.” Talking Machine World (August 15, 1916), p. 26.

[11] “To Revise Operaphone Catalog–All Operaphone Records to Bear Two Selections of the Same Type.” Talking Machine World (9/15/1916), p.82.

[12] “Announce New Record Labels,” op. cit.

[13] “Operaphone Corp. Moves Offices.” Talking Machine World (May 15, 1917), p. 6.

[14] “Noted Career in Record Field,” op. cit.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Ten Inch Operaphone Records—Hill and Dale—Double Disc” (ad). Talking Machine World (April 15, 1918), p. 96.

[17] “Exhibitors of Talking Machines and Supplies at Music Show.” Talking Machine World (June 15, 1918), p. 101.

[18] “Pathé Frères Phonograph Co.” (lists Operaphone as Pathé subsidiary). Moody’s Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities. New York: Moody Manual Co. (1922), p. 940.

[19] “Operaphone Co. to Withdraw.” Talking Machine World (Mar 15, 1921), p. 71.

[20] “New Concern to Make Records.” Talking Machine World (March 15, 1921), p. 3.

© 2017 by Allan R. Sutton. All rights are reserved.

 

John O. Prescott: From “Blue Indians” to Hopi Indians

John O. Prescott ranks high on the list of undeservedly forgotten recording pioneers. Although eclipsed by his brother Frederick (founder of the International Zonophone Company and the Berlin-based International Talking Machine Company, the producers of Odeon records), John O’s accomplishments — which ranged from co-founding what would become the Nipponophone Company in 1910 to serving as Gennett’s chief technician in the 1920s — were equally impressive.

John Prescott’s role in the American Record Company (which was backed by brother Fred’s Odeon operation) and its marketing arm, Hawthorne, Sheble & Prescott, is covered in detail in American Record Company, Hawthorne & Sheble, International Record Company: Histories and Discographies (Bryant & Sutton, Mainspring Press, 2015) and need not be repeated here. What we’ll be examining in this article is Prescott’s career after American Record’s demise.
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The American Record Company discs — nicknamed “Blue Indian records” by the trade, for their distinctive blue pressings and American Indian trademark — were quite successful until Columbia succeeded in shutting the company down for patent infringement in January 1907. [1] The partnership split, with Ellsworth A. Hawthorne and Horace Sheble regrouping as the Hawthorne & Sheble Manufacturing Company, and John Prescott going his own way. Little more was heard of Prescott until November 1907, when The Talking Machine World reported, “He left last week for a fortnight’s hunting on Long Island, and on returning he may have something of interest to announce to the trade relative to his work in a fresh field.” [2]

The “something of interest” probably was the Twoforone Champion Record (presumably a double-sided disc), for which Prescott filed a trademark application on February 24, 1908. [3] Prescott had been quietly preparing to resume record production ever since the collapse of the American Record Company. In January 1907 he had applied for a U.S. patent on a new pressing process that included a provision for double-sided discs. [4] Two months later, TMW reported that he had taken over the former American Record Company studio, which he was managing in the guise of “The Laboratory Association.” [5] But with the means of production all in place (but not the necessary patents, assuming it was to have been a lateral-cut disc), Champion apparently failed to launched.

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Prescott’s trademark filing for Champion Records (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office).

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Instead, Prescott retired to his home in Summit, New Jersey, where his new neighbor was brother Fred (who, having sold his interest in International Talking Machine and returned home a wealthy man, was now happily engaged in his new hobby of raising chickens). But Prescott could not remain idle for long, and in May 1909 he sailed on the Lusitania for what was to have been a brief visit to London. Instead, he ended up on an extended tour that took him from England and France (where he was highly impressed by Emil Pathé’s demonstration of the vertical-cut disc) to Russia, then on to China and Korea—and, finally, to Japan, where his career would soon take an unexpected turn. Prescott was no fan of the country, as he made clear upon his return in August 1909. “Excuse me from permanently living in Japan,” he declared. “The beautiful pictures we see there of entrancing landscapes … are on postal cards only … Nobody has any money excepting the very rich, and they are comparatively few in the teeming millions of ordinary Japs.” [6]

Back in the U.S., Prescott leased the Laboratory Association studio to the Sonora Phonograph Company in September 1909. The company was planning to produce its own discs in both vertical- and lateral-cut formats (Sonora’s April 1910 TMW ad depicted a vertical-cut Sonora disc and a lateral-cut Crown disc, although the latter is not known to have been produced). However, Prescott does not appear to have had any involvement with the company, other than as landlord. The studio initially was managed for Sonora by former Zonophone engineer George Cheney, who departed for Phono-Cut before production got fully under way. [7]

In the meantime, Prescott had returned to Japan, despite his professed dislike of the place. In January 1910, The Talking Machine World reported that he was managing a recording studio in Tokyo. [8] The owner of that studio (whose name was not given by TMW) was the Japan-American Phonograph Manufacturing Company, Ltd., the only record manufacturer operating in Japan at that time. [9] Financed, owned, and managed by American businessmen, including Prescott, the company initially produced the Symphony Record label.

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The now-rare Symphony label was soon supplanted by the Nipponophone brand. Nipponophone got its start as the sales agent for the Japan-American Phonograph Manufacturing Company. (Author’s collection)

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Japan-American’s sales agent was the Nipponophone Company, which soon substituted its own Nipponophone label for Symphony. By the autumn of 1910, the Japan-American / Nipponophone combine was producing and marketing records on a fairly large scale under Prescott’s management.

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Prescott (seated at left) in Japan, 1910

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In addition to his expertise, Prescott brought along a ready-made catalog of Western recordings — the American Record Company masters. Nipponophone’s “Foreign Records” catalog of c. 1910–1911 included a substantial number of old American recordings that were renumbered and offered in new couplings, sans artist credits, with the occasional amusing mistranslation  (“A Gay Gossoon” became “A Gay Cartoon,” “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend” became “Dream of the Rabbit King”). [10] The records were intended for foreign residents and tourists, but demand for them must have been meager, and they are extraordinarily rare today. A badly damaged specimen, showing the original American numbers in the wax, was found on the West Coast many decades ago. A second specimen was later reported, but as so often happens, the supposed owner did not respond to a request for a confirming photograph or other proof of its existence.

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A page from Nipponophone’s “Foreign Record” catalog listing anonymous reissues from American Record Company masters. The uncredited artists included Arthur Collins, Byron G. Harlan, Frank C. Stanley, Len Spencer, and Steve Porter. (Bryant Papers, Mainspring Press)

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By the end of 1910, Prescott had enough of Japan. He resigned from the Japan-American Phonograph Company, and his place was taken by Thomas Kraemer, [11] who had been associated with the Hawthorne & Sheble Manufacturing Company. Prescott’s stay had done nothing to improve his opinion of that country, its climate, or its workforce. Upon his return to the States in early 1911, he complained,

“The air is so humid that you soon fall into a condition of lassitude difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. To be sure, if you can adapt yourself to Oriental ways; that is, take things as they come in an indifferent, easy-going way, perhaps one could manage. An active American, coming from home full of life, snap, and ginger, and wanting to take hold and accomplish something the way we do it here, is forced to give up or become Orientalized. Excuse me, I am not built that way.” [12]

In June 1911, Prescott departed once again for Europe, where he “expected to look the trade over a little” before attending the coronation of George V in London. [13] Perhaps not coincidentally, his trip occurred at about the time that the London-based Disc Record Company, Ltd., acquired some American Record Company masters, which were parceled out to Britannic, Defiant, Pelican, The Leader, and other minor labels for the British and export markets. Whether the masters came from Prescott, from the Lindstrom organization (which had taken over the International Talking Machine Company’s assets), or from some other source, has not been established.

Little more was heard of John Prescott until August 1912, when The Talking Machine World reported that he had been in Constantinople for “a year or more,” managing an unnamed record company. [14] For the next eight years, Prescott’s name would be largely absent from the American trade papers.

Prescott eventually resurfaced in the 1920s. In 1920, brother Fred had placed some rather boastful ads in The Talking Machine World soliciting work as a consultant, but it was John who landed a steady job, at the Starr Piano Company’s Gennett Records division in Richmond, Indiana.

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Brother Frederick in search of work, 1920 (Talking Machine World)

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In August 1921, Gennett resumed recording in Richmond, after a hiatus there of nearly five years. [15] John Prescott was hired as chief technician of the Richmond facility, with duties that included wax formulation and oversight of the pressing plant. He also seems to have had some say in regard to master approval, and notes referring to “J. O” are sprinkled throughout the Richmond recording ledgers of the mid-1920s. It’s tempting to speculate that he was responsible for naming the company’s budget-priced Champion label, hearkening back to his aborted 1908 venture, but documentary evidence of that is lacking.

The “Blue Indian” man finally came face-to-face with actual Indians in May 1926, as part of a Gennett team that traveled to Arizona’s Grand Canyon to record traditional Hopi songs. The expedition was undertaken in association with the Smithsonian Institution, under the supervision of Dr. J. Walter Fewkes, head of the Smithsonian’s Department of Ethnology. Music Trade Review reported that the Santa Fe Railroad was assisting in moving the recording apparatus from Richmond and had obtained government permission to transport the Indians and their ponies the one-hundred miles from their reservation to the Grand Canyon.

Along with Gennett recording engineer Ezra C. A. (Wick) Wickemeyer, Prescott oversaw the cutting of fourteen masters (# 12526 – 12537, with a single take each for first ten sides, and two takes each for last two) in a makeshift studio at the El Tovar Hotel. The company, having experienced mixed results in its initial attempts at electrical recording, dispatched its more trustworthy acoustic equipment. Twelve masters were received in Richmond on June 2, followed by the two alternate takes on June 15. The masters were processed for commercial release under standard Gennett catalog numbers, after which they were deposited with the Smithsonian. [16]

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KAKAPTI: Ma’Qutu (Rabbit Hunt) (as “Makwatu”)  
El Tovar Hotel. Grand Canyon, Arizona: Late May 1926
Gennett 5759 (mx. 12530)

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Exactly when Prescott left Gennett has not been discovered, but he apparently continued to work in the sound-recording field at least into the early 1930s. On January 27, 1929, he and Frederick A. Kolster filed a patent on a photo-electric sound-recording system that they assigned to the Federal Telegraph Company of Newark, New Jersey. [17] After that, Prescott’s trail grows cold. He died in Pasadena, California, on July 14, 1946.

 

[1] American Graphophone Co. v. American Record Co., 151 F. 595.

[2] Untitled notice. Talking Machine World (November 15, 1907), p. 79.

[3] Prescott, John O. “Twoforone Champion Record.” U.S. Trademark application #32,975 (filed February 24, 1908). Prescott was well acquainted with double-sided pressing methods. American Record had pressed double-sided discs as special-order items, under Ademor N. Petit’s patent #749,092, which was controlled by Frederick Prescott. Assuming the Twoforone was double-sided and had been launched in a timely manner, it likely would have beaten Columbia’s Double Disc to market.

[4] Prescott, John O. “Mechanism for Making Sound Records.” U.S. Patent #847,820 (filed January 15, 1907).

[5] Untitled notice. Talking Machine World (March 15, 1907), p. 39.

[6] “’Talker’ Conditions in Foreign Countries.” Talking Machine World (September 15, 1909), p. 41.

[7] “Geo. K. Cheney to Boston.” Talking Machine World (May 15, 1910), p. 14.

[8] “J. O. Prescott in Japan.” Talking Machine World (Jan 15, 1910), p. 3.

[9] “The Talking Machine Trade in Japan.” Talking Machine World (January 15, 1911), p. 4.

[10] The Nipponophone Company, Ltd. “Foreign Records” (Tokyo, c. 1910–1911). A listing of the Nipponophone issues can be found in American Record Company, Hawthorne & Sheble, International Record Company: Histories and Discographies (Bryant & Sutton, Mainspring Press, 2015), available from Mainspring Press.

[11] Untitled notice. Talking Machine World (April 15, 1911), p. 30.

[12] “Returns from Japan.” Talking Machine World (February 15, 1911), p. 35.

[13] “J. O. Prescott in Europe.” Talking Machine World (July 15, 1911), p. 54.

[14] “A Visitor from Turkey.” Talking Machine World (August 15, 1912), p. 25.

[15] “Starr Recording in New York.” Talking Machine World (February 15, 1917), p. 100. Gennett recorded in Richmond during 1915–1916, using often-obscure Midwestern artists. Recording activities were moved to New York in late 1916 or early 1917, to take advantage of better-known East Coast talent and accommodate those who “found it rather inconvenient to travel out to Richmond.” Regular recording sessions resumed in Richmond on August 20, 1921, according to the Gennett ledgers.

[16] “To Record Hopi Indian Songs on Gennett Records.” Music Trade Review (May 29, 1926), p. 81.

[17] Prescott, John O., and Frederick A. Kolster. “Sound-Reproducing System.” U.S. Patent # 1,776,046 (filed January 7, 1929).

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DAHR Update: American Zonophone 7″ and 10″ Data (1899 – 1905)

The final editing of Mainspring’s 7″ / 9″ American Zonophone data has been completed, and conversion to online format for the Discography of American Historical Recordings will begin later this month. Thanks to the editors at UC-Santa Barbara, some previously undocumented remakes and other details have been added from UCSB’s holdings of the original discs.
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The level of detail far exceeds anything published so far on American Zonophone, including listings of all known remakes (the company remade like there was no tomorrow in its early days!), alternate versions, relabelings and reissues, catalog listing dates, Oxford releases, breakdown by issued diameters, and other fine details you won’t find anywhere else. There will also be an illustrated, footnoted historical introduction that puts some old Zonophone myths to rest, and a guide to label types.

This is Mainspring’s first direct-to-online venture (i.e., there will be no printed edition). We’ll keep you updated on its progress.

 

Last Call for “Berliner Gramophone Records in America: A Discography” (Paul Charosh)

We just opened our last carton of Paul Charosh’s Berliner Gramophone Records in America: A Discography. We won’t be reprinting or producing an updated edition once these copies are gone.

Just to clarify: This is the second, most recent edition of Paul’s Berliner discography. (The obsolete first edition, originally published by Greenwood Press in 1995, is now being sold by a different company as a cheap-looking reprint — but cheap it isn’t, at $30 more than our updated edition!)

Quantities are very limited. Order soon from the Mainspring Press website to avoid missing out!

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Just a reminder — Mainspring is in the process of phasing out its discography line, and we’re already running low on many titles, none of which will be reprinted once current inventory is sold. If you’re interested in a particular title, best to buy soon!