Berolina (Germany) / c. 1912

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Design: A well-drawn image, with the angular decoration at the left and right being similar to that seen on the contemporary German-made Era and Albion labels.

History: Label scan courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany, who writes: "I assume that the lady is a representation of 'Berolina,' a historic Berlin sculptural landmark. The record label is extremely rare; but unfortunately, there is no manufacturer data. Because the oratorio 'El Otario' was first performed in late 1909, I would date the record to about 1911."

Thanks for the following upated information to Dr. Dieter Meyer of Germany, who writes: "Berolina records were produced by the Berolina Schallplatten GmbH of Berlin N 24, Friedrichstrasse 105 a, owned by the record dealer Paul Küchler of Berlin and entrepreneur Albert Vogt, who was very well connected to the record industry in Tsarist Russia. Up to 1910 he was a 'sleeping partner' in the Moll & Kybarth Company, formerly Nigrolit-Werke, manufacturers of the Metropol-Record, but he went back to Berlin in 1912 to launch his own factory there. He chose the Berolina, a statuary landmark representing the city goddess of Berlin, holding in her stretched-out hand a gramophone record, as a trade mark for his Berolina label. These labels used to be either brown or lilac in colour. Records came in  7" and 10"  diameter.

"When competition grew harder in the middle of 1912 he additionally brought about a second label equally connected to the city of Berlin, showing a bear standing upright before a silhouette of several towers and spires, and aptly called Bärola Record, Bär being the German word for bear and as well a heraldic symbol of the town. Bärola Records cost only RM 1,50 and were designed to be a challenging brand ("Kampfplatte") to fight low-price competitors. Music critic Max Chop wrote a review ("Phono-Kritik") on the new brand in the Phonographische Zeitschrift dated February 15, 1912.

"Matrices of Berolina manufacture can be found as well on German as on British records of that time, e.g. Bella, Besttone-Rifanco, Grand Gala, John Bull, The Leader and Guardsman. When WWI broke out in 1914 Berolina ceased to produce records. The Berlin directory ("Adressbuch") of 1915 fails to give their name any longer. Albert Vogt, however, stayed in the business. Later on, together with August Kybarth (1878-1945), an old business friend of his, he went into the management of the Clausophon A.G. of Thalheim in the Ore Mountains.

"This information is drawn from an article on the subject in the periodical Der Schalltrichter, Deutscher Grammophon Club e.V., Jahrgang 22, Nummer 36, Juli 2010 (ISSN 1619-1951), on pages 50 - 55, published by Messrs. Michael Gunrem and Rainer Lotz, authors of Das Buch der deutschen Schallplattenmarken (German Record Label Book) 1890-1959."

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