Two rare shots of a behemoth record press inside Victor’s Camden NJ plant, taken in 1928 for a Keystone Stereoview Company series on American industry. These were operated by foot-pedal. Note the finished scroll-label pressing in the top photo.
Conditions in the Victor pressing plant reportedly were better than in most. Columbia’s Bridgeport plant was a notoriously nasty place prior to its purchase by CBS; so much so, that in the mid-1930s John Hammond wrote a scathing exposé that resulted in its eventual unionization. .
November 1907 marked the return of the Victor studio to Camden, from Philadelphia, after an absence of more than six years. The impending move got only a vague mention in that month’s Talking Machine World, in a story on a visit by distributor Max Landay, who said, “I understand the company will remove their recording laboratory from Philadelphia to Camden, into premises that are ideal.” The move was documented by Harry O. Sooy, Victor’s chief recording engineer:
During November  we moved the Laboratory from 424 So. 10th St., Philadelphia, to the building S.W. Corner Front and Cooper Streets, Camden, N.J., in which we occupied the fourth floor. The first large type “D” recording machine was installed in the Camden Laboratory prior to our moving into same. [“D” refers to Wilbur N. Dennison, who assigned a large number of patents to Victor over the years.]
Here’s the complete pictorial section of Victor’s November 1907 catalog, courtesy of Victor expert John Bolig:
By the way, John’s landmark Victor Discography Series titles are selling out quickly as Mainspring winds down its book operation. Several are already out of print, and remaining inventory is in very short supply. If there are any titles you need, hurry over to the Mainspring Press website and order while you still can!
Chaliapin performs the roles of Boris, Pimen, and Varlaam, in the Rimsky-Korsokov revision of Mussorgsky’s original work. Discographic data are from the Gramophone Company and Victor Talking Machine Company files, courtesy of Drs. Alan Kelly and John R. Bolig.
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — Yet One More Tale [Pimen, Act I]
Moscow: August 31, 1910
His Master’s Voice 022157 (mx. 2016½c) Orchestra of the Imperial Moscow Opera directed by I.Semenov
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — In the Town of Kazan [Varlaam, Act I]
Camden, NJ: January 30, 1922
His Master’s Voice D.A. 100 (mx. B 26100 – 2) Studio orchestra directed by Josef Pasternack
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — Once at Eve [Pimen, Act IV]
St. Petersburg, Russia: November 26, 1911
His Master’s Voice 022252 (mx. 2548c) No conductor listed in the Gramophone Company file
FEODOR CHALIAPIN: Boris Godunov — Farewell and Death of Boris [Boris, Act IV]
St. Petersburg, Russia: October 15, 1911
His Master’s Voice 022221 / 022222 (mxs. 2492½c / 2493c) No conductor listed in the Gramophone Company file