Puretone (U.S.A.) / c. 1924

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Design: On this rather rare label, the decorative possibilities inherent in Gothic lettering are explored to good effect, with no loss of legibility, though the lettering is rather crude in execution. The angular, spiky lettering contrasts well with the smooth-flowing curves of the attractive ornamentation above, while the white release arrests the eye, bringing brightness to the design.

History: The Bridgeport Die & Machine Company (BD&M) of Connecticut, which had started out in 1912, began pressing masters for other companies in about 1918; as well as doing the production work for several smaller labels, their major clients included Paramount, Emerson and the New York Recording Laboratories (NYRL), one of whose main product lines was the Puritan label. The similar-sounding Puretone label, which featured red shellac discs, was supposedly pressed by BD&M for an 'unknown distributor or retailer,' however, perhaps (and this is just a guess) a marketing niche existed whereby BD&M was able to distribute the 'Puretone' label in geographical areas where licensing agreements with NYRC prevented them from distributing the 'Puritan' label (according to Sutton & Nauck's American Record Labels and Companies, most of the catalogue numbers are identical). Certainly there is a great deal of similarity in the graphic design approach (compare with the Puritan label, with its wiry Gothic calligraphy and Art Nouveau ornamentation). BD&M went bankrupt in 1925. Label scan courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany.

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