Grammophonhaus (Czechoslovakia) / c. 1919

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Design: The information contained in the upper segment does not appear to have been specifically designed for a record label, but was likely adapted from a design for office stationery, such as a letterhead or business card; the detail is very fine and the original art appears to have been done as an expensive 'intaglio' engraving, a 'high-class' process which produced an attractive glossy raised surface. Engravers were not limited by restrictive type styles or shapes, and thus the label name, with its curving baseline and double white inlines, was beyond the typical output of commercial letterpress or lithographic printers. The accuracy of register (where the second colour fits exactly within two thin black lines for the outer border) is also noteworthy, and speaks of a low production run.

The dynamic image of a slew of records spilling forth can also be seen on the Perfectograph label (right).

As suggested by the fact that that the recording information is hand-written (in an angular cursive style that leans toward Gothic), this company may have specialized in making limited-edition recordings on a custom basis, rather than mass-marketing.

History: Label scan courtesy of collector Gabriel Gössel of Czechoslovakia, who writes: "This single-sided 25 cm record from a company in Vienna contains probably the very first vocal recording in Slovak language made in Europe. This particular record bears no catalogue number, no matrix number and no data about interpreters. In the U.S., however, Slovak immigrants were making numerous recordings in the Slovak language at that time, or even earlier."

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