James E. Hough.

Transcription of James E. Hough’s record, presented to various members of the British gramophone trade in early 1925.

Hough was born in Failsworth, near Manchester, in 1849. His local accent is still unmistakable. A few words have eluded us, but what the heck.

You are reported the be the ‘Father of the Trade’, I have been told, and you ought – indeed it is your duty – to give us a little fatherly advice.

For over thirty years I have been closely identified with the gramophone industry, and in that time have had many fights, played many games, seen many things, won many friends, among whom I count you in particular.

The House of Edison Bell is, as you are aware, is the pioneer of the gramophone industry in this country. During this long experience, we have seen many developments. It is a far cry down the passage of time to the early days of the phonograph: the tin foil record; the wax cylinder; the duplicated cylinder; the gold-moulded cylinder; the single-sided disc; the double-sided disc are some of the many milestones long(?) seen on the way. And there are others which crowd upon the mental vision(s) as we contemplate the past existence of our industry.

I say nothing of machines and accessories pertaining thereto. Of these, in later years too, have come ???? upon us, one which is closely allied to the gramophone. I refer of course, to radio. The house of Edison Bell was quick to grasp, develop, and improve upon the many accessories required for this new ????, and today we are in a unique position in this direction.

The best advice I can give you, fellow… fellow traders, is always to play the game, and play clean.  And if you have to fight, and you sometimes will, to hit straight… and never below the belt. Business, especially in gramophones, records and radio is no ???? occupation; it demands rather, virility, resourcefulness, courage; and if you will only take the trouble to generously wield(?) it, those manly qualities, success is a matter of certainty.

Carry on with tradition; this is what you need to know – I give it to you for what it is worth. May this New Year – Season – bring you all, my friends, health, peace and prosperity.

Yours very truly, James…. E. Hough.

Hough died in March 1925, age 76. But let us remember him not
as a tired old man, but as he was in his prime:

Frank Andrews Archive. 


British disc records of the 'Acoustic' Era.