Taihei (Japan) / c. 1940

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Design: The two thirds/one third split is similar to the Columbia design of the late 1920s. The shell trademark of the Taihei Gramophone Company, with its upturned crescent below and star, is interesting: whether it has to do with the religion of Islam, also symbolized by a crescent moon and star, is unknown; neither does it seem related to the Shell Oil company. 'Hanshin Line,' at the foot, is evidently an electric railway, so 'Taihei' may describe the approximate location of the company.

History: Unknown (have info? Please send to info.re.78s@shaw.ca). The 'Electrical Process' notation, indicating improved sound reproduction over the old acoustic-horn method, was a selling-point for a few years after its inception in the mid-1920s but was eventually discontinued.

Thanks to Jovan Kovacevic of Serbia for the following updated info: "I found some info on the Taihei Gramophone Co. Ltd. and their Taihei label. "Shell brand" IS actually related to the Shell oil company! Taihei Gramophone was founded in 1924 as a joint venture between the Rising Sun Petroleum Co. (which was Japan's Shell company at the time) and Nipponophone. At first it was called Naigai Gramophone Co., Ltd., and released under the Naigai Record label. In 1930 it became known as Taihei Gramophone, and that was when Taihei records started appearing. In 1935 Taihei Gramophone merged with two smaller companies, Nitto and the Japan Crystal Gramophone Co., Ltd. to form Dainippon Gramophone Co., Ltd. which continued to release under Nitto, Taihei and Crystal and also other labels like Kirin, Olympia and Comet. In 1942 (I may be translating this wrong, so I can't be sure of this info being valid), the government allocated the use of Taihei's Tokyo and Nishinomiya factories to Dainippon Yuubenkai (owners of King Record) and they were used to produce things needed for the war effort instead of records. The factories were bought back by Dainippon Gramophone in 1950, which changed its name to Taihei Onkyo Co., Ltd. in 1951 and after securing a contact with Mercury in 1952, to Japan Mercury Co., Ltd. in 1953. They didn't do particularly well on the market in the 50s, lost their contract with Mercury in 1957 and seem to have been closed for good by 1960."

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