Thursday, August 22, 2013

The very rare sleeve for Marconi Velvet Tone Records. 1907-08

Now many in the record collecting world are quite familiar with the famous and to a degree infamous Marconi Velvet Tone Record. Which was introduced by Columbia in 1907. It was a very well made record that was not only unbreakable, but also flexible. In an age of easily broken 78 RPM recordings it seemed to be a great answer to the problem.

 However, it was not. It was an advanced recording that was produced with just mediocre pressings of existing Columbia records. One of the recordings I have has an announcement! Announcements were discontinued in 1903! This gives an idea of what was being put on these records. Some good stuff, but also some rather old and out of date recordings as well.

 By 1908 they were gone. They were too ahead of their time and the needles needed to play them caused them the greatest pain. Cause you could not remove them from your phonograph till it was worn out. So it required you to play only Marconi records or regular records. You could not mix. This was one of their great problems.and soon they were dropped. 

However, there was a short number tried in the South American market in 1908 in double disc format. These are quite rare today. 

 But nothing is more uncommon than the original sleeves for these records. The sleeves were made of a heavy cardboard and had a thin cellophane window in the place for the record label. Some what reminiscent of Victor's and G&T's celebrity record sleeves of the 1903-1905 period. They had a picture of Marconi and info on the records. But most of all the sleeve announces to all that this invention of the Marconi record is as wonderful as wireless! 

 The regular Marconi label after they put up the picture of him with his hairpiece.(See an earlier article on these records)

 The back with all the do's and don't's of the Marconi Velvet Tone.

The quite rare record sleeve in it's original form in 1907

As you can see it was really a big thing to Columbia as these records were as wonderful as wireless.

The last straw and the South American Marconi Records in double disc form in 1908