U

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UNICORN.

Nothing whatsoever is known about this label; this example is stuck over a Coliseum. And as it freely declares that it was made in Germany, it must date before August 1914. Perhaps somebody bought up old or bankrupt stock of Coliseums (perhaps other labels too), and put the Unicorn labels on them? That is the simplest explanation; so Occam’s Razor is satisfied, even if the inquisitive record collector is not! This is only the second one I have ever seen.

UNIVERSAL.

Probably the first ‘Universal’ disc record was produced from Nicole masters by the Disc Record Company. Little is known about it, and few are known to exist. Then, there appeared a German Homophone product, as illustrated, for sale in Australia. But who had them made, and who sold them is a complete blank. Happily though, the dates so considerately provided ‘in the wax’ by Homophone help to give a ball park date. ‘A Sa Ma’ has a mother plating date of 7th February 1908 and closely-following stamper plating date of 18th March 1908. The other side, ‘Le P’tit Frère à Fernand’ bears 6th July 1907 and 15th September 1909 respectively. So this recording cannot have existed before September 1909; but how long it remained available is anybody’s guess. Also in the wax appears 32B and 33A. These might be catalogue numbers of another issue. The third label is clearly the Spanish version of Universal, and is included here simply to underline the International nature of the record industry. Standard instrumental repertoire could be pressed up for sale in any European country, regardless of where it was recorded. The rather later ‘Universal Double Disc’ was also made by Homophone in Germany and was sold in Australia. It is included here because it carries British recordings. ‘Rule Britannia’ bears a mother plating date of 6th April 1911 and a stamper date of 2nd September 1913. This is very good, because ‘You Made Me Love You’ was a smash hit of 1913. It is indeed reassuring when things sometimes fit in so well!

UP-TO-DATE.

See  letter from Don Taylor (Tasmania) in HD 177, 1990. Don provided a monochrome image of this label which is green with gold printing, bearing the make as ‘THE-UP-TO-DATE RECORD’. The design is simple and rather resembles the Universal label above. It had face numbers E-526 ‘The Anvil Polka’ and E-539 ‘Roses From The South’ with a band credit ‘Up To Date Orchestra, London.’ ‘Reproduced in Berlin (Germany)’. Whether it was a label recorded in London, pressed in Gemany solely for export to Australia & New Zealand is not known, but it would date from the few years leading up to 1914 and hence is included in this listing. Few can ever have seen an example of this scarce label.

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British disc records of the 'Acoustic' Era.