Raphael Tuck

Raphael Tuck (U.K.) / c. 1926

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Design: These cute miniature records carry no label, but the point-of-sale presentation envelope (below) shows some wonderful graphics.

History: The firm of Raphael Tuck had its beginnings in London in the 1860s, and soon became famous for publishing many series of attractive postcards, which are now very collectible (the 'Oilette' signature was descriptive of the illustration, which imitated the oil painting originals). Their central London offices were bombed during WWII and all their files of original artwork were destroyed, but many of its wide range of products can be seen on an online catalogue.

Image scan courtesy of musicologist and collector Bill Dean-Myatt of the U.K., who writes: "These Tuck's postcards are 85mm (3.5/16th inches) in diameter and the records are glued on to the cards, thus obliterating most of the picture. As often as not, the picture on the card bears no relationship to the music on the record, e.g. a picture of Loch Etive is allied to a recording of The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, whilst Annie Laurie is set against a picture of The Gardens of Kent."

Thanks also to collector Georg Richter of Germany for additional scans (below), and sound file. He writes: "These records were mass-produced, not individually recorded. The only one in my collection presented some challenges in recording because of warpage, as can be seen in a photo of the side of the record:

Obviously, the groove section was originally covered by the missing part of the picture, to be removed for playback. Enjoy Down a Little Turning by a famous unknown dance band!"

The words 'Gramophone Record' (above) appear in a perspective pseudo-brush script, with charming chunky lettering for 'Tuck's Postcards' in a style made immensely popular in the early 1920s by children's book illustrator Mabel Lucie Attwell. Evidently the records were made post-1925, judging from the 'New Electric Recording' sticker on the right hand side of the post card (electric microphones became the new industry standard at that time, replacing the outsized horns used in earlier acoustic recording studios).

The list of songs above is typeset in two very popular American-designed typefaces from the early 20th century: Della Robbia for the text (1903) and Cheltenham for the headings (1904).

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