Berliner Concert Grand

Berliner Concert Grand (Canada) / c. 1903

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Design: Berliner discs, as this one, were often pressed in a relatively soft brown 'wax,' with a brass grommet inset around the spindle hole to prevent wear. To avoid scuffing (a problem with earlier records) the label is now pasted within a sunken area. 'Runic,' the condensed font used for the 'Country Girl Lancers' line, dates from the late Victorian era and was often used in newspaper advertising, as it allowed for a large type size in a narrow column width. The simple (and boring) task of imprinting blank 'shells' would likely have been given to the apprentices in the print shop, who might let typographic errors slip by; the line 'Grenadiers Guard Band' should have read 'Grenadier Guards Band.'

The record has an interesting blind-etched image on the reverse (below), showing the 'His Master's Voice' logo at the centre, surrounded by ornamented Roman capital lettering.

History: Emil Berliner, a German immigrant to America, developed Thomas Edison's invention of sound being captured in a groove. Rather than Edison's etched metal cylinder, Berliner used a wax disc. After becoming embroiled in legal battles, he sold his business interest to Victor and in 1898 moved to Montreal, where he set up another record manufacturing plant. Remaining on good terms with Victor, he would become their Canadian distributor. Musicologist and collector Bill Dean-Myatt of the U.K. notes: "I think this issue comes from G&T 285, using either matrix 2550 or 2557, which were recorded October 17 1902 by 'The Red Band.' As the Grenadier Guards wear red jackets, it was almost certainly them."

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