Syrena-Grand-Record (Poland) / c. 1914

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Design: Yet another pre-WWI label image to reference pagan Greek mythology, and once again featuring hybrid humans. These women/bird beings (usually depicted as being three in number: one playing the lyre, one playing the flute and the third a singer), who dwelt on an island, were doomed to die if passing mariners did not fall victim to the lure of their irresistible music and song.

Here, the legend is reversed: the music issuing from a golden-horned phonograph as it passes by on the waters proves irresistible to the sirens, who are drawn away from their island to offer up to the machine a laurel circlet, symbolizing victory.

History: Label scan courtesy of Alec Flexer of Canada. Collector Bill Dean-Myatt of the U.K. writes: "This Polish/Russian label (sometimes spelled Sirena) was produced in Warsaw (then in Russian-controlled Poland) and is the only Polish label to have a trans-European presence. Some items recorded by Invicta (a.k.a. Guardsman) and Homophon appeared on the British Syrena label, which had a recording studio in London."

Variations of this label in this decade (click on image to view page):

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