Design: While visiting the London Gram-O-Phone offices in 1899, where he was supervising his business interests, German-born U.S. inventor Emile Berliner saw a painting by artist Francis Barraud of Nipper the dog listening to his master's voice issuing from the horn of one of Eldridge Johnson's machines. He asked Barraud to make a duplicate, and took it back with him to the U.S., where he registered the image as a trademark, which was granted to him in July 1900. However, by that date Berliner, who had become embroiled in a lengthy legal stand-off with rival entrepreneurs, had tired of the business hassles and had transferred his 'Gram-O-Phone' patent rights to machinist Eldridge Johnson (who had originally been engaged by Berliner to manufacture spring-wound motors for his machines; Johnson would rename his reorganized company 'The Victor Talking Machine Company' in 1901). Berliner's 'His Master's Voice' logo first appeared on Canadian records issuing from his Montreal office (as above) before it was shared with Eldridge Johnson for use on U.S. Victor record labels and publicity material. It was not until 1924, when Berliner sold his company and its logo to Victor, that Victor would own the full rights to its usage.
History: A rare early single-sided product of Emil Berliner's Gram-O-Phone Company. After having transferred his patent rights to Victor (while still retaining a financial interest in that company) Berliner took up residence in Montreal, where he acted as sole authorized Canadian distributor of all Victor recordings. Label image courtesy of Jean Theriault of Canada.