78 Records Collector Notes

78 Records Production

78 Records Collector Notes:

Note on Musicians: Some seemingly “no-name” musicians may actually be well-known musicians in disguise. For example, Fletcher Henderson often went under (with or without his consent) the pseudonym “Sam Hill” or “Dixie Stompers”. This was done by some unscrupulous musicians to avoid payments to their contracted record label thereby earning money on the side. Additionally, some labels would copy a hit record and release it under a different musician’s name, thus avoiding paying the musician more money.

Note on Record Label: Generally speaking records that have a label (the sticker in the center) that is more ornate, decorative, colorful etc. may be worth more money.

Note on Size: Almost all record companies experimented with different record sizes: 5inch, 8inch, 7inch, 9inch, 10inch, 12inch, and 14inch.

Notes on Color: Generally speaking records pressed in red or that have a predominantly red label are the classical series while records pressed in green or that have a predominantly green label are the ethnic or foreign series.

Notes on Record Type: Vertical Cut records is where needle picks-up sound along the bottom of the record. The sound is determined by the depth of the grooves. A Lateral Cut record where the needle picks-up sound in a side-to-side motion across the record.

Notes on Collecting: 1910s/1920s blues music can be highly collectable. You know it is “blues” when the label says: Blues, Stomp, Shuffle, Foxtrot as part of the song or includes Banjo, Guitar, Harmonica or Jazz on the label.

Some well known blues/jazz musicians include:

Robert JohnsonLeadbellyBlind Lemon Jefferson
King OliverJelly Roll MortonBix Beiderbecke
Blind Willie JohnsonBlind Willie McTellBessie Smith
Louis ArmstrongSidney BechetWilly “Lion” Smith

See: http://www.jazz-on-line.com/ for a source of downloadable pre-WW2 music that could’ve been heard on the radio.

Paramount Records

Paramount Records (1918- Aug. 1932; 1934; 1948-1970)

Paramount Records was produced by New York Recording Laboratories (NYRL) who were owned by the Wisconsin Chair Company, which was headquartered in Port Washington, Wisconsin. The last Paramount label records were sold were in Aug 1932. The Black Swan Record Label was bought by Paramount in May 1924, discontinue it, and then re-introduce it as the Paramount Black Swan Label in June 1924. A redesign of the Black Swan Label would be introduced. The following year, in 1925, Paramount Records would acquire the Broadway Record Label from Bridgeport Die and Machine Company of Bridgeport Connecticut.

America Record Company (ARC) would buy the Paramount label in 1934 and release a few records before discontinuing the label. ARC would also drop the Broadway Label in 1934. Decca would pick the Broadway label up for a brief time in 1935 only to discontinue it within the year.

Paramount was revived in 1948 by the Wisconsin Chair Company and by 1952 was producing reissues of older recordings. By 1970, the recordings of Paramount were sold to the Jazzology Records group but the name “Paramount Records” was sold to Paramount Pictures.

During the first 7 years until Aug 1926, all Paramount label records were blue and gold. The Paramount logo was an eagle with spread wings. In 1926 the color changed to black with the phrase “Electrically Recorded” in lowercase type near the right of the spindle hole. Labels printed before 1925 state the following phrases “This Record is Made Entirely in Our Own Laboratories in New York City and Grafton Wisconsin” or “This is a Vertical Cut Record Made in our own Laboratories” around the rim of the record.After 1925 the phrase along the record-bottom rim changes to “The New York Recording Laboratories Inc.”.

Music Genres: Race Records, Country, Blues.

Pre-1941 Label: 1918-Aug 1926. Consists of blue and gold coloring.

Record Label: Pre-Aug 1926. Note the blue and gold coloring
Paramount Record Label: 1918-Aug 1926. Note the blue and gold coloring

Sometime after Aug. of 1926 the label had a redesign to black and gold.

Paramount Record Label: 1926-1932. The phrase “Electrically Record” came about in 1926 and the phrase “The New York Recording Laboratories Inc.” came about in 1925. Note the black and gold coloring.
Paramount Record Label: 1926-1932. The spindle-hole phrase “Electrically Record” came about in 1926. The phrase along the bottom, “The New York Recording Laboratories Inc.”, came about in 1925. Note the black and gold coloring.

Black Swan: Black Swan, an almost exclusively “race record” label. This label may be seen in orange and black, yellow, red, blue, black, purple, or red. Paramount would buy the Black Swan Label in May 1924, discontinue it, and then re-introduce it as the Paramount Black Swan Label (keeping the black swan logo but adding the Paramount wings) in June 1924.

Black Swan Record Label: Black Swan, an almost exclusively “race record” label. May be seen in orange and black, yellow, red, blue, black, purple, or red. Note black swan icon at top.
Black Swan Record Label: Note black swan icon at top.
Record Label: Black Swan label as bought by Paramount in 1924.
Record Label: Black Swan label as bought by Paramount in 1924.

Broadway Record Label:  This record label was in production by Paramount from 1925  to 1933. ARC would drop the label. Decca would pick the Broadway label up for a brief time in 1935 only to discontinue it within the year. Note the black and gold coloring.

1941-1945 Label: None

Post World War II Label: 1948 redesign. Silver and black coloring.

Paramount Record Label: Post WW2 production
Paramount Record Label: Post WW2 production

Numbers from start to 1945: 1-20000

Notes:
The 12000- series is the labels “Race Record” series.

Sources:
http://www.redhotjazz.com/blackswan.html
http://www.mainspringpress.com/nyrl.html
–Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
–Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.


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Oriole Records

Record Label: 1924-1927. Orange and black.

Oriole Records (1924-1938)

Oriole (the US label not the UK label which is separate) was a budget label that was sold exclusively in McCrory’s chain of stores. This store was one of the many “five and dime” style stores. Records sold for $25 cents. McCrory’s started in Pennsylvania but went out of business in 2002. Manufactured by Scranton Button Company. In 1929 American Record Company would take over Oriole. The first Oriole records were black on orange with 1923 displayed. By mid-1924 the 1923 copyright date disappears. The orange label would be replaced in 1927 by a design in gold on black and white. ARC would keep the label colors but shrink the label size. In 1935, the colors change to gold on maroon but retaining the original design. Oriole Records would be dropped in 1938. The label contained my anonymous and pseudonyms. Indeed, Fletcher Henderson record under the pseudonym Sam Hill.

Music Genres: Pop, Country, “Race” records, Blues.

Pre-1941 Label: Orange, Black, and Maroon

Early Label 1924-1927

Record Label: 1924-1927. Orange and black.
Record Label: 1924-1927. Orange and black.

Mid Label: 1927-1935

Record Label: 1927-1935. Gold, black, white color scheme.
Record Label: 1927-1935. Gold, black, white color scheme.

Late Label: 1935-1938

Record Label: 1935-1938 Gold on maroon
Record Label: 1935-1938 Gold on maroon

1941-1945 Label: None

Post-WW2 Label: None

Numbers from start to 1945: 100-8000

Notes: The 8000 series are the race records.

Sources:

Fletcher Henderson on the Oriole Label

-Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.

-Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.


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Emerson Records

Emerson Record Label 1923

Emerson Records: 1915-1928

Emerson Records were founded by a Victor H. Emerson a former-employee of Columbia records. Emerson Records were part of the Emerson Phonograph Company (also founded by Victor Emerson).  The first Emerson discs were 5.5in. and 7in. discs of various New York musicians recorded under the band name “Emerson Symphony Orchestra”. After World War One the business expanded to include 9in. and 10in. records. To market to the immigrants they created a line of 12in. classical records. Emerson then began to contract with musicians such as Eddie Cantor to record exclusively for the label. The rapid expansion after World War One coupled with a newly opened recording studio in Los Angeles over-extended the company. It would be bought-up by the Scranton Button Company in 1924. The Scranton Button Company would eventually stop selling Emerson Records and apply the Emerson name only to radios. Late Emerson records are very rare and are identified by a “Electrosonic Emerson” meaning Emerson switched to using microphones to record. This switch occurred as the Scranton Button Company was phasing the line out. By 1928 Emerson was no longer a label and parts of catalog were sold or leased to other companies. While the record branch would no longer exist the name Emerson and the factories that produced phonographs would be used to produce household electronics graduating from phonographs to radios then TVs, air-conditioners, and now other small consumer electronics. Indeed, Emerson exists today as Emerson Radio and includes the iconic over-sized treble clef as part of its logo.

Music Genres: Classical, Pop, Ethnic, Foreign, Jazz, Urban Blues, and “Race-Records”.

Numbers from label start to 1945: 300-10903 with the 19000 series being ethnic German music and the 12000 series being ethnic Italian music.

Pre-World War II Label: Black, Blue, Red (being the Premier label designed to compete with Columbia’s Red Seal), or Maroon always with a shield.

Emerson Record Label Early
Black, Blue, Red (for Premier), or Maroon always with a shield.

Emerson would have a label change mid-1923. The label would drop the shield and favor an oversized musical treble clef. Colors would be the same as the early Emerson label.

Emerson Record Label 1923
Record Label: Mid-1923. The New Emerson label. Black or Red or Blue. With an oversized treble clef.

 

1941-1945 Label: None

Post World War II Label: None

Notes: None

Sources: 

-Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.

-Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

-Emerson Premier Label

-Emerson Records, a History and Discography.


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Supertone Records

Supertone (1924; 1928-mid 1931) by Sears

Supertone was a record label made for Sears. It was marketed as a higher-quality label and replaced the Silvertone. Supertone was introduced in 1924 and discontinued in the same year. The 1924 series of Supertones were made by the Fletcher Record Company and are the rarer of the two label designs. Supertone would re-emerge in mid-1928 and last until 1931. From 1928-1931 over 800 records were issued. The 1928-1931 labels were black with the words “Super Electrically Recorded” in block letters below the shield. This meant that the recording artist used a microphone to record the sound rather than play into a horn.

About halfway through the series the reference to Sears, Roebuck and Co was replaced by the words “Licensed RCA Photophone Recording”. These Supertone labels were pressed by Starr Piano Company until 1931. Many of the Starr produced recordings were done under artist pseudonyms. In the final year of the Supertone Record label, Sears switched record manufacturers from Starr to Brunswick Radio Corporation. These new Supertones had an S-prefix before the record number. Like the early Fletcher made Supertone records, these Brunswick Supertones are rare too. Supertone Records were discontinued in 1931 by the Great Depression and the desire for Sears to bring back the Silvertone Label.

Music Genres: Band, Waltz, Orchestra, band, jazz, blues, Midwestern dance.

Numbers from start to 1945: 1000-9000

Pre-World War II Label:

The artist on this label, below, are the Miami Syncopators – You can take me away from Dixie (but you can’t take Dixie from me)  1502-A. The Miami Syncopators were a pseudonym for Harry Reser and his Orchestra.

Record Label: 1924. This label design lasted only one year.
Supertone Record Label: 1924. This label design lasted only one year. A white, gold, and black design. Note the Sears phrase at the bottom.

The artist below is Gene Autry (as known as the Singing Cowboy)  In the Shadow of the Pine 9704-B.

Supertone Record gene-autry
Supertone Record Label 1928-1931. Produced by Starr Piano Company. Note the” Licensed RCA Photophone Recording” phrase at the bottom. A gold and black design.

Sometimes this song is referred to as In the Shadow of the Old Pine Tree:

The final Supertone Label is an artist called Buell Kazee, A Mountain Boy Makes his First Record-Part 1 S-2084.

Supertone Record Label by Brunswick Radio. Produced in mid-1931.
Supertone Record Label by Brunswick Radio Corporation. Produced in mid-1931. Note the “S” prefix and the Brunswick Radio Corp phrase at the bottom.

You can listen to the song by clicking the link below:

Buell H. Kazee A Mountain Boy makes his First Record-Part 1

Sources:
-Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
-Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943).Mainspring Press, CO.2000.
http://www.mainspringpress.com/sears-labels.html


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Silvertone Records

Silvertone 1916

Silvertone Record Label (1916-1950) by Sears

Silvertone records would replace the Oxford line of records in 1916. These early Silvertone records had an orange background and were produced and pressed by Columbia Records. In 1917, Silvertone changed the label background to purple with block lettering. However, one year later, in 1918 Sears would discontinue the Silvertone line. Though, it would re-emerge  in 1919 with a new silver and blue label. These labels were produced and pressed by Federal Records. After a fire at the plant, Sears would create a new tan label in the early/mid 1920s and use many suppliers including Columbia, Starr, Brunswick, Emerson, and Pathe. These tan labels contain rare anonymous recordings.

Silvertone would be discontinued again in mid-1928. Sears would eventually replace the Silvertone label with a Supertone label (produced and pressed by Starr Piano Company) in the 1930s. Silvertone would re-emerge as a label for Sears in 1940 and be discontinued one year later, in 1941. The 1940-1941 Silvertone was produced and pressed by Columbia Record Corporation. Silvertone would come back one last time in 1950. These were red vinylite pressings produced, this time, by Mercury Records. Sears would go on to produce the Challenge budget record label from 1926-1930 and a more expensive line called Conqueror from 1928-1942.

Most of the records made for Sears were duplicate recordings, reprints of existing catalog numbers, or anonymous recordings. Some of records produced for Sears under the Silvertone label were alternate recordings. These are especially rare and valuable.

Music Genres: Band, Waltz, Orchestra, Band, Jazz, Blues.

Pre-1941 Labels: Orange, purple, tan, or blue in color. Silvertone in block or scripted lettering. Image of a piper with a two-person audience or just the piper appeared on pre-1920 labels.

Silvertone 1916
Silvertone 1916. Orange background. Made by Columbia Records.

While not on the Silvertone label: When the Lusitania Went Down, 1915.

Silvertone Record Label Late 1917
Silvertone Record Label late 1917. Purple with gold lettering.  Made by Columbia Records

 

Silvertone mid 1920s
Silvertone’s blue and scripted lettering label. Produced by Federal from 1918/1919-1924

 

Silvertone mid 1920s
Silvertone’s Tan Label. Made in 1923 or 1924. Made by a variety of different manufactures.

World War II Label: Scripted lettering and a blue background with the piper image replaced with an SR (Sears and Roebuck) logo at the top.

Silvertone1940-1941
Silvertone 1940-1941.Brought back by Sears. Mainly produced by Columbia.

Post World War II Label: Scripted blue lettering on a white background.

Silvertone Post-WW2 1950
Silvertone Post-WW2 1950. Produced by Mercury for Sears on red vinyl.

As an example of what the post-WW2 Silvertone sounds like: Stardust by Glenn Osser in 1950.

 

Numbers from start to 1945: #200-25000.

Sources:

http://www.mainspringpress.com/sears-labels.html

Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.

Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.


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Velvet Tone Records

Velvet Tone Record

Velvet Tone Records (1925-1932)

Velvet Tone was introduced in 1925 by Columbia as a budget label. It was discontinued in 1932. The label recorded 1,500 records and focused mainly on pseudonymous performances by Columbia stars and miscellaneous free-lance musicians. The exception was that in 1930 a 7000 series was introduced devoted to blues and race items. The label relied on acoustic recordings rather than the newer technology of electrical recordings.

Velvet Tone Record
Record Label: 1925-1932 Velvet Tone with a four-point star and in bright blue and gold coloring.

Sources
–http://www.columbiarecords.com/timeline/#!date=1893-09-14_09:55:12!
–http://lp-originales.info/documents/online_editable_page_1.php
–Rust, Brian. The American Record Label Book. Arlington House Publishers, NY. 1978.
–Sutton, Nauck. American Record Labels and Companies: An Encyclopedia (1891-1943). Mainspring Press, CO.2000.

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From Bird to Dog: Bluebird Record Labels

Bluebird in Blue and Black

From Bird to Dog: Bluebird Records (1932-1945)

Bluebird records were part of the RCA-Victor Corporation. It was created as a budget label by RCA-Victor in 1932 in order to enter the discount-record market. Original Bluebirds were 8 inches but were dropped by March of 1933 in favor of 10in. records.

Continue reading From Bird to Dog: Bluebird Record Labels