American Record Company 1

American Record Company (U.S.A.) / c. 1905

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Design: The Odeon logos, as seen on the previous label, do not appear here, while unusual swashes have been added to the initials A and R of the label name. The outer borders on this unusual issue are printed in blue only. Within the lettering of the word 'American,' the metal background of the shallowly-engraved letterpress printing plate has picked up ink from the rollers and is printing; the outer blue border, the label name and the info at the foot have been printed separately from the four-colour image at the centre. The high cost of the multi-colour presswork was probably the reason that the imprinting of the song title etc. was done by the cheap rubber-stamping process.

On all the images appearing on this label, it would appear that that area of the printing plate which shows the phonograph itself has suffered intentional physical damage of some sort, most likely in order to obscure the logo of the manufacturer.


History: Ellsworth Hawthorne and Horace Sheble were Philadelphia-based phonograph distributors who ran into trouble with Thomas Edison for pasting their own labels on his machines. Their third partner, John Prescott, had a brother named Frederick, who was a principal of the International Talking Machine Company (Zon-O-Phone), which in 1901 had been barred from producing records in contravention of Victor/Columbia's crucial patents. As a subsidiary of Zon-O-Phone, the American Record Company began to issue lateral-cut discs in 1904, but after Columbia won a decisive court case against Zon-O-Phone in 1906, it was forced to cease operations.


Design variations of this label in this decade (click on image to view page):


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