HARPER BROS – HODDER & STOUGHTON.
See Frank Andrews, HD 236. These records were contained in books of childrens’ stories and rhymes, imported from the U.S.A. Three 5.25″ single sided discs were contained in each of these ‘Bubble Books’. The discs were pressed by Columbia. Six books were advertised here in November 1920 at 7s 6d each (37.5p). Eventually 12 were sold here. Frank notes that they were still available in 1924. The records were the same size & type as U.S. Columbia’s ‘Little Wonder’ records, but Frank thinks the material was specially made for the Bubble Books. The master numbers are at the right of the label: 1150 and 1182. The 8-3 and 9-2 on the left suggest ‘Book 8, disc 3’ and ‘Book 9, disc 2’, but that leaves the 5 & 7 above the centre-hole unaccounted for… The legend on the back is indeed the same as the two Little Wonders we have here, with the addition: ‘Made in the United States of America’.
See Frank Andrews, HD 236; also Ray Stephenson: letter & image in FTR 1. Originally, Frank thought that the Harris Junior record might be a 6″ diameter disc. They were exclusive to ‘Harris – The Gramophone Specialist’ in Dublin, Ireland, and carried Irish material, possibly specially recorded for the firm. Naturally, the label was green, with gold printing, and bore shamrocks. But in FTR 1, Ray Stephenson sent in a colour label scan confirming this, except that he pointed out his disc was 10.25″ (26cm) diameter. The chief producers of this size of disc were ‘Edison Bell’ and Grammavox. The former first made discs in 1908, and went to 10″ circa 1912; but though Grammavox also switched to 10″ sometime during the 1914-18 war, their previous 10.25″ masters continued in use virtually into the mid-1920s. 1908 – 1925 is far too vague a time period! It all hinges on the origin of the Irish recordings. If they were indeed specially made for Harris (which from the titles seems rather likely) and were by EB, they would date from 1908-1912. If by Grammavox, the date range would be 1911 to sometime just after the Great War. But this is simply conjecture; however, we feel that the type face for the catalogue number looks more like ‘Edison Bell’ than Grammavox…
See Frank Andrews, HD 236. The proprietor of this extremely scarce label was Adolf Knopf. He was granted the trade mark in August 1913. Knopf was, or had recently been, U.K. co-manager of Dacapo Records. The label was manufactured in Germany by an unknown concern and was launched on 1st September for the 1913-1914 season. The initial catalogue contained seventy 12″ discs and six hundred 10″. Alas, Knopf was taken to court quite early in 1914 for not having obtained and stuck copyright royalty stamps on some records. A batch of 12,000 discs was mentioned. It was reported that of the 12,000, some had stamps on, and some did not. The magistrate fined Heart Records, and ordered that the unstamped discs be destroyed. Much hinges on what were the proportions of the stamped & the unstamped discs. If, say, it was fifty-fifty, then there should have been 6,000 Hearts that could be sold. But where have they all gone? If, on the other hand, only one disc in 10 bore a stamp, then 90% of the entire lot of 12,000 would have been destroyed, leaving only 1,200 for sale. If there were only ever 1,200 German-made Hearts to begin with, that would account for their extreme scarcity. In any case, with the outbreak of War in August 1914, no more discs could be imported from Germany, so Heart was re-launched, pressed this time by the Disc Record Company, of Harrow, Middx. The DRC itself was in increasing financial trouble at the time, and was wound up in the spring of 1915. Heart 130 and 143 are from the very last series of original recordings, mostly of Patriotic material (i.e. post-August 1914) pressed at Harrow. So for once, these discs can narrowly be dated between August 1914 and around spring 1915. The other side of 130 carries the name of the recording expert Guiseppe Gidino written in the wax under the label. (Gidino fought in the Italian army during the War, but it is pleasant to record that he was back in England by 1919. See http://www.recordingpioneers.com/RP_GIDINO1.html for more information on this versatile individual.)
See Frank Andrews, HD 236. Thanks to Frank’s indefatigable research, we know that one Richard Vogel was the British agent for these very elusive discs. They were made in Germany (possibly from Bel Canto masters) for Otto Hebron of Leipzig. Hebron got his German trade mark ‘Hebrophon’ only in September 1912. Allowing some time for them to be produced, they can hardly have come over here (and to France and Spain!) much before the end of 1912. It’s true the example above reveals no place of manufacture; but the outbreak of war in August 1914 would have prevented any more being imported. So if you are lucky enough to find a Hebrophon Record, it can be fairly accurately dated to late 1912 – August 1914.
There is a short history and partial listing of these discs at http://www.78rpm.net.nz/78s/her_min.htm . To sum up, the Herald Record was made for for J.E. Pidgeon Ltd. of Christchurch, New Zealand. They were a wholesaler (factor), and sold them on to dealers. They were made in the U.K.; one series ran from 1 to about 130, bearing the label show above, by ‘Edison Bell’. They were drawn from early ‘Winner’ issues, dated 1912-1913. Another series also appeared, made from Beka masters. These ran from 1001 to about 1050, or perhaps further. They would have been made, also in the U.K., by Lindström, and pressed at their factory at Hertford. These have slightly different labels – see the link above. Masters in this series date from 1909-1912, though few copies have been seen. Also, the fact that the recordings date from 1909-1913 does not mean that Heralds were made that early; they were almost certainly issued as single blocks – an ‘instant catalogue’ for Pidgeon. This was common practice at the time, and actually implies that Herald did not appear until after the latest date of recording. See also Pidgeon’s other label, Minstrel.
See Frank Andrews, HD 236. Made in Germany by Homophon for the Hibernia Record Co. of Dublin, Ireland. Hibernia was quite an old company, having been founded in 1900. By 1905 they were ‘sole factors for the “Edison Co.”’, which at that date would mean cylinder records. Both sides of No.1 above were recorded in 1910. It is striking that illustrations of both sides of the same record have been kindly donated by two extremely eminent discographers; and so, happily, are reunited here. Frank knows of Hibernia 110, so over a hundred were issued. Nevertheless, they are scarce; though we sincerely hope there are more of them in the Irish Republic. We recently acquired another Hibernia, both sides of which are illustrated. There is a slight variation in that the name of the record is in solid lettering, and the place of manufacture is given. It has a stamper plating date of 10th September 1912. For more on Homophone date codes, click here.
HIS MASTER’S VOICE. See also ‘GRAMOPHONE COMPANY’.
A number of monumental listings of various series of HMV records have been produced by dedicated scholars, such as:
(a) “A Numerical Listing of the HMV ‘B’ Series of 78 rpm Records”. Frank Andrews & Ernie Bayly. Pub. C.L.P.G.S., 2000. A massive A4 volume, in which details of virtually every 10″ B- prefix disc is given. Several export series are included. From B-2 (B-1 was never used) through to B-10968; from 1912 to 1961. In most cases, the dates of recording, of issue and of deletion are provided, along with composer credit for each side. Much more than a ‘label listing’, this is also a social and musical history book; an inexhaustible resource. It is still available, at surprisingly modest cost. Go to the bookshop at: www.clpgs.org.uk to get your copy.
(b) “His Master’s Voice: a complete listing of the C- prefix 12-inch 78 rpm Records”. Frank Andrews & Michael Smith. Pub. C.L.P.G.S. 2004. 398 pp. A companion to the above, also in A4 format, with details of 12″ discs from C-101 (1912) to issues of 1957. Recording dates, issue & deletion dates provided also. Again, still available. Go to the bookshop at: www.clpgs.org.uk to get your copy.
(c) The noted discographer Alan Kelly spent a phenomenal amount of time transcribing details of thousands of the Gramophone Co’s masters, from the EMI archives. He made these available at modest cost as CD-ROMs. Alas, he passed away in 2015, and as yet, it is not known when – or even if – they will somehow become available again.
Besides the above, a large number of other extensive and distinguished works have, of course, been published over the decades. These are mostly devoted to classical vocal, instrumental and orchestral works. All this is far beyond the modest purpose of these web pages; so please just google around, and you will find all the information you may desire.
The “His Master’s Voice” label first appeared in 1912, as did double-sided records under that marque, though they were at first confined to the more ephemeral sort. On the right is an early example of the ‘B-’ series, the company’s first ‘popular’ double-sided record. This colour and the basic design slowly evolved over a period of well over 50 years! Elsewhere on this web-site, there is a page devoted solely to B- series labels which will help you to give ball-park dates: HMV B- series labels 1912-1958 but of course, issues which remained in catalogue for many years would appear with successive labels.
Dr. Rainer Lotz kindly informed us that in the 1920s, the German Homophon concern exported some of its products, with an over-stuck label, as ‘The Hit’ record. These went to many countries, including English-speaking ones – Australia for certain. On the basis that these pages are inclusive rather than exclusive, Rainer’s sending appears here, on the grounds that ‘The Hit’ records may possibly have been imported into the U.K., within our time-scale of 1898 –circa 1926. If you find one, do please let us know.
See Frank Andrews & Arthur Badrock, TMR68, 1984. This was one of a related group of five small-diameter records, manufactured for the British Homophone company (see Homochord below) by none less than ‘Mighty HMV’. HMV tended not to manufacture discs for other people; one assumes they were generally absorbed in higher things. 8^) However, in 1926 they did a great deal of recording and pressing for Sternberg, head of British Homophone. HMV had adopted the new Western Electric recording system in early 1925, but these small 6″ (15.25cm) discs were made by the old mechanical system. It is conjectured that this was to keep the cost as low as possible, for there was a royalty of one penny per disc to be paid to WE for this new technology. The principal label concerned was ‘Homo-Baby’; the satellite labels were Sterno-Baby, Jolly Boys, Dixy, and one single Conquest disc. All are scarce to boot. However, not everything on Homo-Baby appeared on its clones.
HOMOPHON / HOMOCHORD – 1.
See Frank Andrews: BRI, and especially HD 147, 148, 149, 150, 1985-86. Frank gives another ‘tour de force’ in his 4-part detailed history. A very important label, based in Germany. It appeared here in December 1906, with both single and double sided discs. The single sided are extremely scarce; I have never seen one. So are the 12″ (30cm) discs; 2018 is the sole example we have. But above all, Homophon would manufacture records for others, and did so quite extensively. Homophone records are also interesting in that they bear two dates, embossed between the label and the groove. I have written this up on a separate web-page: Homophone Date Codes. These dates also appear on the Homophone ‘clones’ and so are a diagnostic feature of their origin. Also, ‘red white and blue’ label German-made Invictas have a similar code, but it is reversed. The implication is that Homophone pressed the Invictas; but that is conjectural. In mid-1908, the owners of the Zonophone marque took legal action claiming that the Homophone had based their name on Zonophone. They won, and so the name Homokord (as used in Germany) was adopted. It is conjectured that this spelling was soon changed to the more English ‘Homochord’. In the UK, Homophone survived into the early part of the Great War, as the rather plain labels of 4658 and 4662 attest. A new company – the British Homophone Co. Ltd., – was founded after 1920; but see immediately below, as well as Homochord -3.
HOMOKORD; HOMOPHON(?) – 2
See Frank Andrews, HD 236. A transient re-appearance of the label in 1920, prior to the foundation of the British Homophone Co. Frank believes that a Mr. Knight, of London, imported discs from Germany – the Homokord concern having, of course, carried on its normal activities in Germany during the war years (and indeed continued for a long period afterwards). If this is the case, the old-style record shown above might have been brought here at that time; but that is pure conjecture on my part. The grounds for the conjecture are that while both sides have a mother plating date of 13th September 1913, the stamper plating date is 15th July 1921, again for both sides. If it wasn’t for marketing in the U.K., where else was it intended for in 1921?
HOMOCHORD – 3.
In 1921 or 1922 a new British Homophone Company was founded by one William Sternberg, who had been involved in the gramophone trade for some years. The label, unsurprisingly, was Homochord. The discs were initially pressed at the Universal Music Co., factory at Hayes, Middlesex, and at first drew on material available from the Aeolian Co’s Vocalion masters, which allowed U.S. material to appear. But they also made their own recordings, and gained a good reputation for the quality of their piano discs, the piano being notoriously difficult to record well. 10″ discs were at first in a H-100 series for sides of both local & U.S. Vocalion origin. Later, Pathé pressed Homochord, naturally using their own masters as a source. These continued the same catalogue series, but were prefixed C-. Besides the regular 12″ series with the HB- prefix, eight 12″ red label ‘celebrity’ discs were issued in 1924, P-5001 to P-5008. These are scarce; the source of the masters is not known to us. Thanks to Anthony Robson for kindly sending us the above image. Later still, about 1925, The Gramophone Company pressed Homochords, from their own masters as well as recording much fresh material unique to Homochord, though most of the latter were electrically recorded and so out of the scope of these pages. An example of the ‘recycling’ by HMV of an old Victor acoustic master is shown: D-886, where ‘Clifford Golding’ is a pseudonym for Gilbert Girard, who recorded these sides for Victor on 18th September 1922. Sternberg kept up, at least to start with, the old tradition of putting dates in the wax of their own recordings. They are probably not recording dates, but e.g. a stamper plating date; still, they give us a ball-park date for the earlier discs. The label, acquiring its own recording studio & factory, continued until about 1934, with many prefixes, when it was bought out by EMI. British Homophone itself survived as a contract pressing plant until the 1980s.