Conqueror Record Label
Conqueror Record Label
Produced from 1926-March 1942 exclusively for Sears at a price of 39 cents. Designed as an expensive label to complement the Silvertone, Supertone, and Challenge labels. Pressed by Regal Record Company from 1926-June 1929 and then pressed American Record Company (ARC) from 1929 onward. When ARC took over the pressing, they dropped all mention of Sears on the record.
The trumpeters were removed in 1934 and replaced by a simplified shield design. When ARC was bought by CBS in 1938, CBS kept the Conqueror label and packaged the label in sets. In the label’s final days (1938-1942) the Conqueror’s shield appeared as black rather than red. Many of Conqueror’s artists used pseudonyms and because Sears was at various times contracting three different record companies to produce music and those record companies often drew from the same catalogs or master records there is considerable duplication of music. However, some records may be alternate takes, and records produced after the 1938 acquisition tended to be artists from the CBS catalogs.
Music Genres: Country, Jazz, Blues, Swing, Pop.
Pre-WW2 Label: Red background with decorative rim and trumpeters.
From 1934-1938 the record label has a basic red shield without the trumpeters.
1941-1945 Label: After being bought by CBS, the label switched to being all-black.
Post-WW2 Label: None.
Numbers from start to 1945: 7000-10000. Numbers 7254-7277 are race and country artists.
Notes: Famous artists found on this record label include: Big Bill Broonzy, Lucille Bogan (aka: Bessie Jackson), Amos Easton aka Bumble Bee Slim, Lil Johnson, and Memphis Minnie. Other important artists include Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Gene Autry.
Listen to Dear Old Western Skies by Gene Autry on a 1934 Conqueror Record.
Listen to My Gage is going up by Memphis Minnie on a Conqueror Record most likely from the early 1930s.
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.
Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942
Challenge Records by Sears
The Challenge record label was a budget label for Sears. It was produced from 1926-1930. It was pressed by the Starr Piano Company and would duplicate recordings found on Gennett and Champion records. Most were of anonymous recordings.
The Challenge Label sold for 24 cents and is generally of inferior quality. Starr struggled to produce records and, in its final years, Sears used The Scranton Button Company to press the records using master records from Plaza Music Company.
Music Genres: Waltz, orchestra, race records, blues, country, popular, reprints of Gennett and Champion records.
Pre-WW2 Label: This was the only label design for the record production: 1926-1930. Green and Gold with a Knight in Armor imagery. Note: Wikipedia for some reason has the record below but in black and white which is inaccurate.
1939-1945 Label: None by Sears
Post-WW2 Label: None by Sears.
Numbers from start to 1945: 101-810
The Challenge Label has an unknown number of recordings but the series consists of 3 digits.
101–271, 301–431, 501–506 = Gennett
532–698, 763–793, 811–999 = Plaza and successor American Record Corporation;
700–760 and 801–810 = Miscellaneous sources
Note: Many of the country artists were pseudonyms.
Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942
Silvertone Record Label (1916-1950) by Sears
Silvertone Records: For label discussion and analysis
Oxford Record Label
Oxford Record Label (1906-1916)
The Oxford Record Label was a Sears label that came after Sears’ discontinuation of their Harvard Label. They are single-sided and can be found as either a 7in. disc or a 10in. disc. At the start, Sears used Leeds and Catlin from 1906-1908 to produce the record, switched to Columbia from 1908-1909, then to Victor (using their Zon-o-phone masters) between 1909-1911, and then back to Columbia between 1911-1916. Indeed, Columbia continued to produce for Sears under the Oxford label a 7in. disc while Victor produced a 10in. disc. Recordings are mostly anonymous For an excellent review of the Oxford label see the sources below.
Music Genres: Waltz, Black or “Coon” music, Orchestra, Marches, Operettas.
Pre World War II Label: Purple with Oxford in a scripted style.
While not an Oxford Label it is an example of the Negro Laughing Song by George W. Johnson who was the first African-American to sing on a record.
Leg of Mutton Le Gigot, 1913.
Numbers to 1945: Columbia will switch to a new label called Silvertone in 1915/1916.
|1-1000 (by Columbia, Zonophone)||1000-2000 (by Columbia, Zonophone)|
|3000 – 5000 (by Columbia)||5000 (by Zonophone)|
Armed Forces Edition Books
Armed Forces Edition Books: A Reenactor’s Perspective and Analysis
One of things I like to do at reenactments is read. Once, after digging a slit trench with a fellow reenactor, I dug out a book I had on 1940s science from my pack and began to read it. We soon broke out into a wonderful discussion on the merits of of what-was-then 1940s science and technology. Fortunately, the Germans attacked way down at the other end of the line.
For the bibliophile reenactor there was not many options in terms of reading material.
You can use period printed books such as Purple Heart Valley, Guadalcanal Diary, or any other WW2 era book. However, you run the risk of damaging these books. Indeed, the paper they are made with is of a lighter material (due to a War Production Board ruling in 1944) and more prone to tearing.
Original magazines such as Yank or Saturday Evening Post are also an option. Again, same problem. These were printed on cheap and non-durable newsprint. Therefore, they are not designed to last and taking them out in the field is asking for trouble though soldiers at the time did use it for a variety of shall-we-say “hygiene solutions”. Reenactors have access to more modern cleanliness solutions.
For the soldier who had access to travel material or likes to sing there are city guides and army song books. Again same problem. All original, all cheaply printed, all designed not to last.
Alternatively, you could brush up on your language skills. Though you run into the same problem. Cheap books, not durable, and very limited copies produced compared to others.
Finally, one could read your copy of FM 21-100 for the dozenths time. Though, this manual was printed by the millions and there enough copies around that you might actually be able to take this into the field, destroy it, and be able to find another one cheaply.
However, there are some reenactors who do want to take out original copies to trash in the mud, dirt, and rain. Indeed, some individuals have reproduced newspapers and magazines but those are very costly to print especially in small numbers.
When I attend a reenactment I bring a copy of of FM 21-100 and some “trashed” magazines. These are magazines that have covers ripped off, pages missing, and are in a general state of disrepair. In other words, perfect for getting destroyed. I rationalize the possibility of destroying these artifacts of history as:
“They made millions of these magazines and enough are still around that preserving a WW2 magazine with a defect makes no sense when others can still be bought cheaply and in much better condition”
Currently, there exists an option to buy inexpensive Armed Forces Edition/Armed Services Edition reproduction books to take out in the field. Much has been written about the history of these “pocket-sized books”(see links below) so I won’t dive too much into the history of the books.
—NPR Story: By the Books: The Pocket-Size Editions that Kept Soldiers Reading
—Book: When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II
—Atlantic Monthly Article: Publishers Gave Away 122,951,031 Books During World War II
—The Art of Manliness has a historical review of the books
—Wikipedia has an article dedicated to it
—From the Library of Congress Books in Action: The Armed Services Edition
—Virginia University Special Collections Exhibit: Books go to War
—Listing of Armed Forces Edition Book Titles
—Listing of Armed Forces Edition Book Authors
—Related Publications of Interest including collectors guides
—Saturday Evening Post, June 1945: “What the GI Reads”
The current option that blends an economical advantage with historical accuracy are the books produced by The Legacy Project. The Legacy project is a non-profit that seeks to distribute stylized-Armed Forces Edition books to soldiers stationed overseas. Obtaining the books can be a bit tricky. I would suggest three places:
I was able to find my copy: Man in the Arena on Amazon. The books prices can range anywhere between 8-14 dollars (without shipping). Compared to trashing a mint condition original book the price is worth it. The book looks like this:
Similarities between Original Armed Forces Edition and Legacy Project’s Armed Forces Edition
1. Hip-sized style still the same
2. Cheap pulp paper
3. Back of the book is similar
4. Similar in a side-by-side comparison
Note: The War Time Production Board limited the the margin of books to conserve materials and space. Books produced by the Legacy product do not need to adhere to such rulings and hence there books are longer and thinner.
Differences between Original Armed Forces Edition Books and Legacy Project’s Books
Note: The reason, I would guess, has more to do with modern printing costs and technology.
1. The Legacy Project Armed Forces edition books have a glossy cover. The original ones do not.
2. The size of the Legacy Project’s books are not 100% accurate when compared to originals.
3. Included in the Legacy Project’s books are facets of modern publishing such as Web address, modern printing dates, and modern addresses.
4. Originals had staples that kept the binding together. Staples were along the binding and either included the the books cover in the staple punch OR skipped the cover and started at the first interior page. The books cover would then be glued. The Legacy Project’s books lack the staple and it appears that the binding is glue only.
5. Original books included on the first interior page an outline of the books title in dotted, solid, or double-solid line.
6. Original books have a listing of other Armed Forces Editions on the back interior page.
7. Original books have an Armed Forces Edition statement on the back of the front cover.
As a reenactor I value historical accuracy but realize that we are not living in the past and must strike a balance between what is practical and what is ideal. The Legacy Project’s Armed Forces Editions look very good close-up and are within the unofficial reenactor rule of 3-feet. Though there are some things that can be done to help “de-farb” the book. More on that later.
SCR-300 Radio for World War Two Reenactments
A collaborative effort between historical reenactors of how to use the SCR-300 Radio for World War Two Reenactments.
The SCR-300 Radio is a backpack (or manpacked) FM radio designed during WW2 as an inter-company or regiment radio. I purchased several in the late 1990s during the heyday of Cold War surplus sales.
Several years ago I worked with a buddy of mine to make available a resource that World War Two SCR-300 enthusiasts could use to analyze and learn about the radio. The article is posted on his website:
THE SCR-300 RADIOMAN
NOTES from TM 11-242 on the SCR-300 Wired Loops and Battery Case Catches
The SCR-300 originally came with wired clips. This is according to TM 11-242, 1943. See below
A work order was made in Nov of 1944 for spring catches
This was then replaced with a New Latch Directive in Jan 1945. The wired loops would fail to hold down the clip so a springed catch was added.
WW1 Correspondents Uniform
World War One Correspondents and their Uniform
Source: Military Collector and Historian. Vol 39, No. 4. Winter, 1987. Pg 158-160.
Click to access ww1_correspondents1.pdf
Buddy System In World War Two
Notes on the Buddy System in World War Two
This article originated after observing a disagreement between two reenactors. One was arguing that the buddy system did in fact exist in World War Two. Another reenactor argued the exact opposite, that such a system was yet another example of a modern military concept grafted onto the World War Two hobby. After all, this individual pointed out, the buddy system is not mentioned in FM 21-100. The truth of the matter is somewhere in the middle.Continue reading Buddy System In World War Two
Decca and Coral Records
New post as part of the 78 Record Project Series