1901 – The Victor Talking Machine Company was incorporated. After a merger with Radio Corporation of America, RCA-Victor became the leader in phonographs and many of the records played on them.
The Victor Talking Machine Company ( 1901 – 1929) was a United States corporation, the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time.
The company was incorporated in Camden, New Jersey in October of 1901 by Eldridge R. Johnson . It was created by merger and reorganization of two existing companies: Emile Berliner’s Berliner Gramophone Company, which produced disc records, and Johnson’s Consolidated Talking Machine Company, which produced machines for playing disc records. The company was named “The Victor” in honor of legal victories by Johnson and Berliner over Zonophone and others concerning their rights to patents on and distribution of their products.
Victor had the rights in the United States and Latin America to use the famous trademark of the dog Nipper listening to an early disc phonograph. (See also His Master’s Voice.)
In 1901, the phonograph cylinder still dominated the market for recorded sound. Disc records and phonographs were widely considered to be little more than toys, for they were cheaper, less reliable and usually of lower audio fidelity than the cylinder records. Johnson embarked on efforts to change these perceptions. He built more reliable spring-wound phonographs out of durable materials and hired engineers to research improved sound for the recordings. Within a few years, Victor was producing records with some of the finest audio fidelity of the era.
After increasing the quality of disc records and phonographs, Johnson began an ambitious project to have the most prestigious singers and musicians of the day record for Victor Records, with exclusive agreements where possible. Often these artists demanded fees which the company could not hope to make up from sale of their records. Johnson shrewdly knew that he would get his money’s worth in the long run in promotion of the Victor brand name. Many advertisements were printed mentioning by name the greatest names of music in the era, with the statement that they recorded only for Victor Records. As Johnson intended, much of the public assumed from this that Victor Records must be superior to cylinder records.
The Victor recordings by Enrico Caruso were particularly successful. They were often used by retailers to demonstrate Victor phonographs; Caruso’s rich powerful low tenor voice highlighted the best range of audio fidelity of the early audio technology while being minimally affected by its defects. Even people who otherwise never listened to operaCharles Garnier’s Opera, Paris, opened 1875 Opera is an art form consisting of a dramatic stage performance set to music. The drama is presented using the typical elements of theater such as scenery, costumes, and acting. However, the words of the opera, often owned a record or two of the great voice of Caruso. Caruso and Victor Records did much to boost each other’s commercial popularity.
The origins of country music as we know it today can be traced to two seminal influences and a remarkable coincidence. Jimmie RodgersFor the singer of “Honeycomb”, see Jimmie Rodgers (pop singer). Jimmie Rodgers ( September 8, 1897 May 26, 1933) James Charles “Jimmie” Rodgers was the first country music superstar. Rodgers, known as The Singing Brakeman and The Blue Yodeler was born in and the Carter FamilyThe Carter Family was a rural country music group that performed between 1927 and 1943. Their music had a profound impact on later bluegrass, country, “pop”, and rock musicians, as well as the U. folk revival of the 1960s. The original group was a trio co are considered the founders of country music and their songs were first captured at an historic recording session in Bristol, TennesseeBristol is a city located in Sullivan County, Tennessee. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 24,821. It is the twin city of Bristol, Virginia, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of State Street. Along with Kingspo on August 1Some entries on this page have been duplicates from June 28. The correct dates for such events need to be determined. August 1st is the 213th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (214th in leap years), with 152 days remaining. Events 527 Justinian I 1927Centuries: 19th century 20th century 21st century Decades: 1870s 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s Years: 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 See also 1927 in aviation 1927 in film 1927 in literature 1927 in mu where Ralph PeerRalph Peer ( May 22 1892 January 19 1960) was born Ralph Sylvester Peer in Independence, Missouri. He died in Hollywood, California. Peer was a talent scout, recording engineer and record producer in the field of country music in the 1920s and 1930s. was the talent scout and sound recordist for Victor Records.
Name and logo
There is some controversy as to how the name came about. Fred Barnum gives various possible origins of the “Victor” name; in “‘His Master’s Voice’ In America”, he writes, “One story claims that Johnson considered his first improved Gramophone to be both a scientific and business ‘victory.’ A second account is that Johnson emerged as the ‘Victor’ from the lengthy and costly patent litigations involving Berliner and Frank Seaman’s Zonophone. A third story is that Johnson’s partner, Leon Forrest Douglass, derived the word from his wife’s name ‘Victoria.’ Finally, a fourth story is that Johnson took the name from the popular ‘Victor’ bicycle, which he had admired for its superior engineering. Of these four accounts the first two are the most generally accepted.”
Victor had the rights in the United States and Latin America to use the famous trademark of the fox terrier Nipper listening to a Berliner Gramophone. (See also His Master’s Voice.) The original painting was by Francis Barraud in 1893, as a memorial to his deceased brother, a London photographer, who willed him his estate including his DC-powered Edison-Bell cylinder Phonograph with a case of cylinders — some home-recorded — and his dog Nipper. Barraud noticed that whenever he played a cylinder recorded by his brother, the little dog would run to the horn, cock his ear and listen intently. Barraud’s original depicts Nipper staring intently into the horn of an Edison-Bell while both sit on polished wooden surface. There is some controversy amongst historians as to whether this surface is the top of a table or the lid of the deceased master’s coffin. This dispute originated long after Barraud’s death and he made no comment during his life as to what the polished wooden surface is supposed to depict, if it depicts anything other than an artistic device for fixing Nipper and the Phonograph in space.
After several years the painting was still unsold. Since the horn on the Edison-Bell in the painting was black, a friend of Barraud’s suggested that he might paint one of the bright brass-belled horns on display in the window at the new Berliner Gramophone shop on Maiden Lane. The London branch was managed by an American, William Barry Owen. Barraud paid a visit to the branch with a photograph of the painting and asked to borrow a horn. Owen gave Barraud a Berliner Gramophone and asked that he paint it into the picture and then he would purchase the painting. The original painting shows the contours of the Edison-Bell Phonograph beneath the paint of the Gramophone when viewed in the correct light.
The “His Master’s Voice” logo as rendered in immense circular leaded-glass panels remain in the 1915 factory building tower, now converted to apartments.
Acoustical recording era
After increasing the quality of disc records and phonographs, Johnson began an ambitious project to have the most prestigious singers and musicians of the day record for Victor Records, with exclusive agreements where possible. Often these artists demanded fees which the company could not hope to make up from sale of their records. Johnson shrewdly knew that he would get his money’s worth in the long run in promotion of the Victor brand name. These new “celebrity” recordings bore red labels, and were marketed as “Red Seal” records. For many years these recordings were single-sided; only in 1923 did Victor begin making double-sided “Red Seal” records. Many advertisements were printed mentioning by name the greatest names of music in the era, with the statement that they recorded only for Victor Records. As Johnson intended, much of the public assumed from this that Victor Records must be superior to cylinder records.
1917 Victor Record label
The Victor recordings by Enrico Caruso between 1904–1920 were particularly successful, with those recorded until mid-1916 usually conducted by Walter B. Rogers and the remainder conducted by Josef Pasternack and Rosario Bourdon. They were often used by retailers to demonstrate Victor phonographs; Caruso’s rich powerful low tenor voice highlighted the best range of audio fidelity of the early audio technology while being minimally affected by its defects. Even people who otherwise never listened to opera often owned a record or two of the great voice of Caruso. Caruso and Victor Records did much to boost each other’s commercial popularity. He made his final recordings in September 1920, only three months before his final appearances at the Metropolitan Opera. Some of these recordings were remastered by RCA Victor to the 45-rpm format and re-released in the early 1950s as companions to the same selections by Mario Lanza in the “Red Seal” series. Interestingly, however, the labels for the Caruso versions, although designated “Red Seal,” were printed on a lighter (gold) background to distinguish them from the Lanza records. Many of both were also pressed on translucent red vinyl.
Victor recorded numerous classical musicians, including Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, Victor Herbert, and Sergei Rachmaninoff in a series of recordings at its Camden, New Jersey studios. Rachmaninoff, in particular, became one of the first composer-performers to record extensively; he first made several recordings for Thomas Edison in 1919, then became an exclusive Victor artist from 1920 to 1942.
Orchestras were at a disadvantage in acoustical recordings, due to the limited frequency range of the recording equipment. Musicians had to gather as closely as possible around the recording horn. Percussion instruments, in particular, were used sparingly since many of them could not be heard on the recordings. However, Victor made numerous recordings with bandmaster Arthur Pryor conducting his own “Pryor’s Orchestra” in 1904-06, and Victor staff conductor Walter B. Rogers directing Victor’s own “house” orchestras, the Victor Orchestra (for popular works) beginning in 1904 and the Victor Concert Orchestra (for more “classical” literature) beginning in 1907. (A very few 1903-04 14-inch issues are credited to the “Victor Symphony Orchestra”; these may have been conducted by either Pryor or Rogers.) The concert orchestra of Victor Herbert made several recordings for the company in 1903; these early discs may not have been conducted by Herbert himself, but Victor signed Herbert and his orchestra to a long-term contract in 1911, engaging them to record symphonic and theatre music under Herbert’s direction (most of the labels credit “Victor Herbert’s Orchestra/Personally directed by Victor Herbert”). Victor also imported early orchestral recordings made by its European affiliates, notably performances by the La Scala Orchestra under Carlo Sabajno and the New Symphony Orchestra of London under Landon Ronald. Victor expanded its American orchestral recording program by making recordings of the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Karl Muck and the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski in 1917; Victor’s relationship with Stokowski and Philadelphia remained firm for decades. In 1920–21, Arturo Toscanini made his first recordings, conducting the La Scala Orchestra, which was then on an American tour. Victor went on to record the New York Philharmonic Orchestra with Willem Mengelberg and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra with Rudolph Ganz from 1922, and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under Alfred Hertz from 1925; Hertz’s earliest discs, made at Victor’s new Oakland studios, were the company’s last acoustical orchestral sessions.
The origins of country music as we know it today can be traced to two seminal influences and a remarkable coincidence. Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family are considered the founders of country music and their songs were first captured at an historic recording session in Bristol, Tennessee on August 1, 1927, where Ralph Peer was the talent scout and sound recordist for Victor Records.
During the 1920s Victor also released “race records” (that is, records recorded by and marketed to African Americans).
Victor acquired its Canadian counterpart, Berliner Gramophone of Canada, in 1924.
Electrical recording era
Victor “scroll” label from 1930, featuring the company’s house band directed by Nat Shilkret.
In 1925, Victor switched from the old acoustical or mechanical method of recording sound to the new microphone based electrical system developed by Western Electric. Victor called their version of the improved fidelity recording process “Orthophonic”, and sold a line of new designs of phonographs to play these improved records, called “Orthophonic Victrolas”. The large top-of- the-line “Credenza” models of Orthophonic Victrolas had a 1.8 m (6 foot) long horn coiled inside the cabinet, and are often considered the high point of the development of the commercial wind-up phonograph, offering audio fidelity seldom matched by most home electric phonographs until some 30 years later. They were introduced on “Victor Day”, November 2, 1925.
Victor’s first commercial electrical recording was made at the company’s Camden, New Jersey studios on February 26, 1925. A group of popular Victor artists, including Billy Murray, Frank Banta, Henry Burr, Albert Campbell, Frank Croxton, John Meyer, and Rudy Wiedoeft gathered to record “A Miniature Concert.” Several takes were recorded by the old acoustic process, then additional takes were recorded electrically for test purposes. The electric recordings turned out well, and Victor issued the results that summer as two sides of one 12-inch 78 rpm record. Victor quickly recorded the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Stokowski in a series of electrical recordings, initially at its Camden, New Jersey studios and then in Philadelphia’s Academy of Music. Among Stokowski’s first electrical recordings were performances of Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns and Marche Slave by Peter Tchaikovsky. Frederick Stock and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra made a series of recordings for Victor, beginning in 1925, first in Victor’s Chicago studios and then in Orchestra Hall. The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alfred Hertz made a few acoustical recordings early in 1925, then switched to electrical recordings in Oakland, California, which continued until 1930. Within a few years, Serge Koussevitsky began a long series of recordings with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston’s Symphony Hall. Toscanini made his first Victor electrical recordings with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1929.
In 1926, Johnson sold his controlling interest in Victor to the banking firm of Seligman & Spyer, who in 1929 sold to the Radio Corporation of America, which then became known as the Radio-Victor Division of the Radio Corporation of America later RCA Victor. (See RCA and RCA Records for later history of the Victor brand name.)
The Victor Company of Japan (JVC), founded in 1927, severed its ties to RCA Victor at the start of World War II, and is still one of the oldest and most successful Japanese record labels as well as an electronics giant.
Victrola Model XVI, 1910s
In September 1906, Johnson and his engineers designed a new line of phonographs with the turntable and amplifying horn tucked away inside a wooden cabinet. This was not done for reasons of audio fidelity, but for visual aesthetics. The intention was to produce a phonograph that looked less like a piece of machinery and more like a piece of furniture. These internal horn machines, trademarked with the name Victrola, were first marketed to the public in August of that year and were an immediate hit. Soon an extensive line of Victrolas was marketed, ranging from small tabletop models selling for $15, through many sizes and designs of cabinets intended to go with the decor of middle-class homes in the $100 to $250 range, up to $600 Chippendale and Queen Anne-style cabinets of fine wood with gold trim designed to look at home in elegant mansions. Victrolas became by far the most popular brand of home phonograph, and sold in great numbers until the end of the 1920s. RCA Victor continued to market phonographs with the “Victrola” name until the early 1970s.