Heliophon Record

Heliophon-Record (Austro-Hungarian Empire) / c. 1909

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Design: Helios, in Greek mythology, was known as the sun-god; this is yet another example of the popular European fascination with 'classic' culture in the early 20th century which was being fueled by spectacular archaeological discoveries by German explorers (which new science the Nazi party would eventually try to co-opt in an effort to substantiate their perverse doctrines of racial superiority). The printing, in a light colour on a dark background, creates a 'negative' effect, which when reversed (below) shows the highly detailed image more clearly. The montage consists of a 'morning glory' phonograph and a somewhat disjointed and juvenile-looking winged Helios seated among the clouds, awkwardly holding up an Aeolian harp (by which 'pure' music was created as the winds of heaven passed through its strings). In keeping with Victorian-era mores, his nether regions are demurely covered by a flowing garment, while his head is haloed, Christ-like, by the rays of the sun. The stiff-looking organic ornamentation in the lower segment is typical of the late Victorian era.

History: Label scan courtesy of collector Gabriel Gössel of Czechoslovakia, who writes: "Heliophon-Record obtained their masters from both Beka and Columbia, which were pressed at the same time as records bearing Omega, Scala-Record and Desky Svatopluk labels."

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