Friday, June 22, 2012

When did Victor Talking Machine start showing on Victor record labels?

The Victor Talking Machine Company was established on October 3, 1901. It was not a totally new endeavor, as it came out of the backwash of the Berliner Gramophone Company. Eldridge Johnson was the founder of Victor and long before the VTM was founded he had started a few companies. The first one was the Consolidated Gramophone Company of Philadelphia. The second was the Victor Record manufactured by Eldridge R. Johnson of Camden NJ. On Oct 3, 1901 Berliner and Johnson joined forces and a whole new company was founded as mentioned before. The record label at this time was known as a Johnson pre dog and was started in early 1901  after dropping the Consolidated label due to court room antics.

 The recordings made at the time where quite primitive and did not really have what we call star quality. Although a few who did record were known outside of the record business. One thing that has always got my attention was when did the records start to say Victor Talking Machine on the label? It was my guess that it was November of 1901. I was always looking at records and recording dates to see how late one could go before we stopped seeing the Johnson label. This is why I have included this record here. It was a descriptive recording of a dog fight. It was a very popular record by the way and was recorded and re-recorded many times between 1901 and 1902. This example here is number 3463, and it is pretty late. It was recorded on December 14, 1901. This is well over two months after the change of names and still the record, which probably came out for the Christmas trade still has Eldridge Johnson on the label. This is just a few weeks before 1902 and still a Johnson label?  As I mentioned before I would have thought that November would make sense. But as I now see a record that would not have been available till December  18th has the Johnson label.

 Now it could have been an economic measure being that they still had a lot of Johnson labels left, or it could be that the changeover to Victor Talking Machine and creation of a new pre dog label  had not yet taken place. If I can go by this record I can take a guess and say that it was not till 1902 that the VTM  pre dog record label came into existence. This also makes me think when did Nipper make his appearance? The copy write for Victor and the use of Nipper looking into a gramophone was made around June of 1902. I would gather that perhaps Nipper would not grace the Victor label for several months after this date as well. Lets say perhaps July or August. But I can not be sure yet, still some investigating to do.