Berliners Gramophone

E. Berliner's Gramophone (U.K.) / 1901

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Design: The label name, which does not follow the outer curve as usual, is organized in a tight block, showing a conscious attempt at design. The 'scribing cherub' trade mark would soon be developed into a visually appealing element that would appeal to point-of-sale buyers (see the Gramophone Concert Record label of 1908).

History: German emigrant Emile Berliner (1851-1929) pioneered the use of flat wax discs for sound recordings, rather than the cylinders used by celebrated inventor Thomas Edison, who was the first to discover the secret of embedding sound within the walls of a groove in tinfoil, recovering it by way of an amplified needle-point. Cataloguing on the face of the earliest records was achieved by blind-embossing the information, as here. Printed paper labels would soon be introduced by Eldridge R. Johnston, an engineer who had supplied spring-wound motors for Berliner's machines (which were previously hand-cranked). Berliner founded associated gramophone companies in New York (The Gramophone Company, 1896), Montreal (The Berliner Gram-O-Phone Co., 1897), Berlin (Deutsche Grammophon) and London (The Gramophone Co., 1897). Scan courtesy of collector Kjell Thorsen of Norway.

Alternate label scan courtesy of UK music researcher and collector Bill Dean-Myatt, who notes that this 7 inch record was recorded in London on February 19, 1901. The wording reads: 'E. Berliner's Gramophone / Covered by English and Continental Patents / Talk. / A political meeting. / Spoken by Burt Shepard / and Brass Quartet / London.'




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