Kalliope (Germany) / c. 1907

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Design: A tightly-arranged design using small ornamental units. The label name is lettered in an interesting block-serif style, the serifs appearing on one side only of the main stroke. The 'chandelier' arrangement can be seen on other German-made labels of the period (e.g. Artigas, Chantecler).

History: Label scan courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany; alternate colour scan (below) courtesy of collector Jukka Kettunen of Finland.

Thanks for updated info to Dr. Dieter Meyer of Germany, who writes: "Kalliope was one of the oldest record trade marks in Germany besides the Gramophone Co. It started as a manufacturer of mechanical musical instruments (Kalliope Fabrik Mechanischer Musikwerke) in 1895, and was located at Leipzig-Gohlis, Dorothéen Strasse 20. From 1898 on it became a limited company and the name was therefore changed to Kalliope Musikwerke A.G. [AG = Aktien Gesellschaft]. The factory was moved to Bitterfelder Strasse 1 in Leipzig-Gohlis, then a Leipzig suburb. Messrs. Espenheim, Wacker and Bock were the owners, though Gustav Espenheim left the firm on November 22 1898 and Christian Bock did so in 1908 (his place being taken by Hugo Zetsche). From ca. 1907 on they began manufacturing Kalliope records. The recordings were confined not only to Germany, but Kalliope pressed matrices made abroad (e.g. in the U.K.) at their Saxony premises, to export them back again. This business process can be verified by the inscription "Recorded in ... [e.g. London], pressed in Saxony" which can often be seen on the lower rim of many contemporary record labels.

"In 1910 the Sächsische Holzwaarenfabrik Dippoldiswalde business, located in a little town in the Erzgebirge (the Saxon-Bohemian Ore Mountain region) [1], was acquired by Kalliope, who moved their premises there, disposing of their Leipzig buildings for the (then) huge sum of 500,000 reichsmarks. Kalliope's business included not only the pressing of records, but also the building of 'Sprechapparate' or 'talking machines' in several dimensions, which were offered in both table-top and cabinet models.

"In 1914 Kalliope bought up the business of Anker-Phonogramm-Gesellschaft mbH, Berlin [2] to enter the recording business on an even larger scale, but the outbreak of WWI interfered with their plans for expansion. Beginning in 1917 to wind down its operations, by 1919 Kalliope had gone out of business altogether. Both the Anker and Kalliope brands were taken over by Menzenhauer & Schmidt, owned by Henry Langfelder and located at Runge Strasse 17, Berlin. He began to sell records with these labels from then on.

"During the late 1920s Kalliope offered a special edition label named Kalliope American (the so-called 'Flag' label). For these records, the firm started an exchange of matrices with American companies like Banner-Regal, Paramount and Broadway. These records, aimed at German jazz enthusiasts, presented recordings of leading American dance bands.

"From 1933 on the Kalliope label ceased to be marketed in Germany, but lived on in Austria up to the 'Anschluss' [occupation] in 1938. According to Horst H. Lange, noted discographer of jazz records in Germany [3], Austrian Kalliope then drew its matrices from Clangor. Following are some relevant illustrations:

- Publicity ad from 1907 showing mechanical musical instruments ("Stimmkamm-Instrumente")
- The Kalliope 'Flag' label
- Kalliope Sprechmaschine (Tischgrammophon or table model)."

Acknowledgments: [1] cf. http://www.dippoldiswalde.de/musikverein/ [2] The German Jazz and Hot Dance Discography 1903-1933, by Horst H. Lange. Berlin (Colloquium) 1966, ?1978 enlarged and revised. p. 16. [3] ibid. p. 29.

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