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-to 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 it 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, is 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

-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.

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 used 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-to 1930 and a more expensive line called Conqueror from 1928-to 1942.

Most of the records made for Sears were duplicate recordings, reprints of existing catalog numbers, or anonymous recordings. Some of the 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. An 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 of which the lyrics can be seen at that link.

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 manufacturers.

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

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.


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.