Books About the Phonograph and Recording Industry

A book about machines:"A Big Book About Phonographs"!
Companion to Popular American Recording Pioneers
Blue Amberol Cylinders: Complete Index
Cylinder Lists: Index to Columbia & Indestructible Cylinders
The Talking Machine Industry.
Talking Machine World -- Back Issues.
Victrola and 78 Journal
Country Music on 78s
The Master Musician
Talking Machine World from 1918
Victrola Guide -- Instructions for the Setting Up, Operation & Care of the Victrola
Diamond Disc Index
Orthophonic Victrola Guide from 1926
Instructions for Repairing the Victor Motors and Exhibition Sound Box

A book about machines: "A Big Book About Phonographs"!

A Book About Machines
NEW history of Victrolas and other vintage machines. 244 pages, spiral binding, unique! Subtitled "Original Articles & Rare Talking Machine Advertisements." It compiles newly-written articles from experts (R. J. Wakeman, Ron Pendergraft, David Spanovich and others who had contributed regularly to Victrola and 78 Journal) and rare visuals from elusive trade journals such as Talking Machine World as well as Voice of the Victor, which was the house organ of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Articles cover:

  • Victor's Orthophonic machines
  • ("Victor's Orthophonic Credenza--the King of Machines?"
  • Portable (or suitcase-like) machines that were made by various companies from 1921 to 1926
  • History of America's Portable Talking Machines")
  • Types of phonograph needles (steel, Tungs-tone, fibre, cactus)
  • How to restore Victrola cabinets
  • Off-brand phonographs introduced from 1917 through 1922 (nice illustrations!)

Articles from The Voice of the Victor include "

  • The New Victrola XVII" (December 1916).
  • Information about reproducers (Victor called them "sound boxes").
  • Articles about machines made by Victor, Columbia, Edison, Brunswick, Cheney, Artophone, Trumpetone Company (soundbox looks like a trumpet!), Sonora, Cathedral Phonograph, Swanson Portable Phonograph, Peter Pan, Claxtonola, the Lampograph Company (machines made like lamps!), Magnola, Pathe, Bluebird Talking Machine Company, National Talking Machine Company, Charmaphone, Fulton Talking Machine Company (maker of the Maestrola), Aeolian-Vocalion, Buehn Phonograph Company (this was mainly an Edison distributor), Plaza Music Company (learn about the camera-size "Kompact"!), Hiawatha Phonograph Company (Chicago firm), Player-Tone Talking Machine Company, Modernola, Kodisk ("
  • Snapshots of Your Voice"--early home recordings, with Irving Kaufman featured in advertisements!)
  • Consolidated Talking Machine Company.

Many Victrola guides are duplicated, too--for example, manual for the Victrola 50, "Instructions for Unpacking a Victrola 215," "Instructions How To Operate the Victor Fibre Needle Cutter," "Instructions for the Operation of the Victor Automatic Brake." Sonora literature, Cheney literature, early Edison cylinder and disc machines, etc. This is a book about MACHINES, not about records or artists.

Companion to Popular American Recording Pioneers by Tim Gracyk

Companion to Popular American Recording Pioneers

Rare visuals (photos, birth and death certificates, record industry literature, and so on!); spiral binding.  This book duplicates rare documents that served as primary research material for Tim Gracyk's book titled Popular American Recording Pioneers:

If you want to learn about recording pioneers and the early years of the recording industry, you'll love these 340 pages (full size paper) of rare items duplicated from my files. Collectors have not seen this material before. Some items here--private letters, legal contracts, photographs, marriage certificates, and death certificates--had never been published in any form before. Why is it called a companion to the Encyclopedia? Because the encyclopedia itself (my well-known book POPULAR AMERICAN RECORDING PIONEERS, 1895-1925--see above, item #2) is a separate book.

This Companion is full of the visuals--the photographs, one-of-a-kind documents, trade journal articles--that I would have put in my encyclopedia if that book had not been too big already. What is in this "companion"? It begins with an informative Introduction.

Then items are presented in chronological order, with nearly every item having some date on it. They include:

  • Four rare catalogs from the 1890s (titles and artists on hundreds of brown wax cylinders!)
  • Pages from Emile Berliner's National Gramophone (or Gram-o-phone) Company catalog dated April 1899
  • Zon-O-Phone promotional literature from 1900
  • Pages from the unpublished autobiography of Leon Douglass (he was an inventor and first vice president of the Victor Talking Machine Company)
  • Death certificates of some recording artists
  • Marriage certificates of some recording artists
  • Pages from the 1905 book Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stores
  • Catalog for B&R Records (early 1905)
  • A 1904 Zonophone catalog
  • Pages from Victor recording logs
  • Pages from the trade journal Talking Machine World
  • Pages from trade journal Musical Observer, pages from trade journal Melody ("
  • A Monthly Magazine for Lovers of Popular Music")
  • Pages from Conn's trade journal Musical Truth (photos of dance bands--Coon-Sanders, Isham Jones, Benson's Orchestra, others)
  • Pages from trade journal Phonograph Monthly Review
  • Contracts (for example, one dated April 30, 1917, making Vernon Dalhart exclusive to the Edison Company for two years)
  • Letters to and from recording artists (a letter dated 1931 from Harry Macdonough to Jim Walsh
  • Letters from Vernon Dalhart to a friend
  • Letters exchanged by members of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band
  • A letter dated 1932 from an advertiser telling Sam Lanin that his radio show has been canceled; more)
  • A "Request for Return of Copyright Deposits" dated Feb. 4, 1929, for the MGM short film made by Billy Murray and Henry Burr and the other Eight Popular Victor Artists
  • Letters dated 1906 from San Francisco's main phonograph dealer (Peter Bacigalupi wrote some of these letters just before the earthquake, others just after)
  • List of Lakeside cylinders
  • Letter from the Artophone Corporation promoting new "blues"
  • records issued by Paramount (Artophone was the St. Louis supplier)
  • Paul Whiteman concert program dated March 3,1925.

Pages duplicated from Talking Machine World will fascinate anyone who also collects phonographs--rare ads for the Cameraphone (July 1924), Carryola portable, Brilliantone needles, Magnola Talking Machine Company, etc. Also duplicated is the rare "Instructions for the Operation and Care of Portable Victrolas." Much more...too much to list here!

Pages duplicate materials that range from 1894 to 1932, with pretty much equal treatment given to each decade though perhaps a bit more from the 1920s than any other period. Spiral binding, state-of-the-art xeroxing equipment used, book made at top-quality printing shop (nice covers!). I wish something like this book had been available back when I started to collect phonographs and listen to the old records because, with this book, you see the "big picture," the industry as a whole! Want to see what the old recording artists looked like? Photographs of George W. Johnson, George J. Gaskin, Edward M. Favor, Irving and Jack Kaufman, Peter Bacigalupi's Edison shop in San Francisco in 1898, Billy Murray in 1947, the Norfolk Jazz Quartette (1921), Eddie Elkins, Ben Selvin, Fiddlin' John Carson, Henry Whitter, Fred W. Hager (this prolific recording artist was Okeh's music director by the 1920s--he supervised sessions in Chicago when King Oliver made Okeh records in 1923!), Earl Burtnett, Tom Gerunovich, Victor's Oakland pressing plant, Harry Humphrey...just the tip of the iceberg. Makes available many of the primary sources I studied when writing my huge encyclopedia of recording pioneers.

Blue Amberol Cylinders: Complete Index

A wonderful index to Blue Amberol cylinders with extra pages from old phonograph trade journals--spiral-binding; 224 pages.

Blue Amerol Cylinders: Complete Index

Next, we have Blue Amberol Cylinders: Complete Index. Here is a COMPLETE listing of every Blue Amberol cylinder issued in America by Thomas A. Edison's phonograph company! But this book covers much more than Edison cylinders. It has a complete index of Edison Blue Amberols cylinders PLUS I added miscellaneous pages from record catalogs, trade journals, and so on.

224 pages. Half the book contains a COMPLETE Blue Amberol cylinder index, about 100 pages listing the thousands of Blue Amberols issued by Thomas A. Edison, Inc., from November 1912 to late 1929 (this index is the famous Dr. Duane Deakins list of cylinders, completed in 1960, so if you don't have the Deakins index, here it is--and this expanded format is better quality than the old original format that Deakins used since my book has spiral binding, which lasts longer than the old staples that Deakins had used!).

The other half of the book consists of RARE pages that I compiled from my file cabinets. These 100+ pages cover OTHER record companies. Record catalogs and promotional literature duplicated, include a Columbia brown wax cylinder catalog dated 1898 (32 pages, with drawings of Cal Stewart, Will F. Denny, Steve Porter, Dan Quinn, Vess Ossman, etc.), pages from a Kansas City Talking Machine Company catalog issued in 1898, Zonophone's "The Zon-O-Phone Record" dated October 1900 announcing new Zon-o-phone discs (Victor Herbert Band!), hundreds of Columbia records listed in a catalog dated 1904 (7-inch and 10-inch discs as well as two-minute cylinders--catalog issued by the Kansas City Talking Machine Company, which stocked Columbia records), photo of Peter Bacigalupi's phonograph shop in San Francisco circa 1898, Lakeside cylinders (circa 1915), contract signed by Cal Stewart to make Uncle Josh records only for Edison (May 1911), article about Leeds & Catlin factory, Columbia Indestructible Cylinder Records promotional item, the best pages from TALKING MACHINE WORLD (the recording industry's outstanding trade journal--I duplicate the most interesting pages from 1916-1929), best pages from rare PHONOGRAPH MONTHLY REVIEW (1926-1932).

Let me say more about the main part of this book = ALL BLUE AMBEROLS made by Edison are accurately indexed! There are two indexes, really. The first is by ARTIST (alphabetical). Look up any artist (among 300-400 artists), and all Blue Amberols made by that artist are listed (titles & numbers--if you wonder what titles were done by Collins and Harlan, that info is now at your finger's tip). The 2nd index is by TITLE: look up any title (among the thousands issued on Blue Amberols) and it cites the artist and gives cylinder number. Handy if you wonder whether Edison issued a specific title on Blue Amberol (some titles on Diamond Discs were not issued on Blue Amberols & vice-versa).

Size is 9 inches by 11 inches), it has spiral binding and strong covers with nice illustrations--the front cover has a drawing of an Amberola 50 machine, the back cover of a coin-operated Orthophonic Victrola from 1927, marketed by the Badger Talking Machine Company of Milwaukee. His index alone is 100 pages but added is another 120 pages of material from Talking Machine World and other rare phonograph trade journals. This book is 222 pages! I wrote an introduction for this so readers know more about Deakins, who died in a plane crash just after finishing his index, which has been long out of print. This Blue Amberol book (with extra pages covering non-Edison companies--220 pages total).

Cylinder Lists: Index to Columbia & Indestructible Cylinders

and extra pages from trade journals--spiral-binding; 220 pages.

An invaluable index to Columbia cylinders and other cylinders (Edison not included--see book above for an index to Edison's Blue Amberols):

Cylinder lists

Rare cylinder & phonograph industry information is reprinted in one handy book of 220 pages. Listed are all known brown wax Columbia cylinders, two-minute black wax Columbia cylinders, and celluloid Indestructible cylinders.

Starts off with a Columbia Phonograph Company catalog dated November 1896, followed by a 60 page section listing Columbia's brown wax and two-minute black wax cylinders, followed by a list of Twentieth Century cylinders (these are Columbia's LONG cylinders, very rare), followed by Duane Deakins index to Indestructible cylinders, followed by dozens of great pages from the trade journal Talking Machine World. More--too much to list here!

Back cover of the book duplicates the wonderful full-page announcement in TALKING MACHINE WORLD that Wm. Jennings Bryan had made Gennett Records. I wish something like this book had been available back when I started to collect cylinders! Lists titles made by every artist who made Columbia & Indestructible cylinders, including (among hundreds of artists) George W. Johnson, George J. Gaskin, Jules Levy, Billy Murray, Arthur Collins, W. Paris Chambers, Issler's Orchestra, Columbia Male Quartet, Frank C. Stanley, Ada Jones, J. W. Myers, Dan W. Quinn, Billy Golden, Gilmore's Band, Cal Stewart (Uncle Josh), Edward M. Favor, many more! I suppose a few thousands cylinders are listed--too many to count!

The Talking Machine Industry.

Compiles rare items from Tim's collection of phonograph literature. Spiral binding, 220 pages.

The Talking Machine Industry, 1900-1930

The Talking Machine Industry is a bit like the above-mentioned Companion book, full of miscellaneous pages available nowhere else! It covers various aspects of the talking machine industry, giving you a sense of what was happening from 1900 to 1930 in the way of cylinders, machines, 78 rpm records, new companies, new labels. Rare pages are duplicated from old trade journals.

Book includes an accurate 25-page index (compiled by Duane Deakins around 1960) giving all titles and artists on U-S Everlasting cylinders; next, a 1924 booklet from the Victor company titled "Instructions for the Setting-up, Operation & Care of the Victrola"; a rare catalog (several pages) of the American Record Company (this is the company that used the image of an Indian on the record labels); a rare Zon-o-phone catalog dated July 1906 (several pages); two personal letters sent by Vernon Dalhart in 1925; a letter to Theodore Edison about radio frequency bands; an interesting letter dated 1911 from Victor's Eldridge R. Johnson to the Edison Company (about legal and other matters); a letter from the Edison company to Johnson; a multi-page memo dated Oct. 5, 1911, from an Edison executive (Frank L. Dyer, President of the company) urging inventor Thomas A. Edison to merge the Edison company with the Columbia Graphophone Company (Edison declined, obviously--this is a fascinating memo since it describes in detail the state of Columbia at this time and the state of Edison's company); dozens of pages from Talking Machine World about everything under the sun regarding phonographs, needles manufacturers, record artists. Information about Delphion phonographs, the Motrola device (this winds machines), new blues records issued by the Arto Record Company (photo of Lucille Hegamin), new Sonora phonographs introduced, article announcing Al Jolson signing with Brunswick (Feb. 1924), article on members of the Okeh recording lab going to Chicago to make records (July 1924--Arthur Bergh managed the lab at this time, Fred Hager having resigned), article on Gennett issuing records of "Old Time Mountain Tunes," article on Victor making records in Atlanta, Georgia (June 1927), etc. Rare information! Back cover is an advertisement for the Manophone Phonograph (1917). Spiral binding.

Talking Machine World.

Two complete back issues from 1916 of rare trade journal--in one book, spiral-binding; 216 pages.


The phonograph industry's leading trade journal was TALKING MACHINE WORLD, loaded with information about old talking machines, phonographs, Victrolas, old 78s, even wax cylinders and Edison's Blue Amberols!

Back issues are incredibly rare, but here is a book (in spiral binding) that combines TWO issues of Talking Machine World, with EVERY page from the originals duplicated (state-of-the-art xeroxing)! These are the months of September and October, 1916, which were GOOD months since the industry was going through dramatic changes and was introducing new models for Xmas of 1916 (new companies were formed in these months!). September is 102 pages; October is 114 pages. That is a total of 216 pages.

At the back of each issue are lists or RECORD BULLETINS of ALL the new 78s (and, for one company, cylinders) issued by Victor, Columbia, Pathe Freres Phonograph Company, Edison, Emerson, etc. The issues are combined in one book of 216 pages! Good amount of attention given to Victor, Columbia, Edison and the minor companies of the day like Pathe, Operaphone, Emerson. Fascinating advertisements. Typical articles: "Berliner's Latest Invention" (yes, Emile Berliner), "Now the Columbia Graphophone Manufacturing Co." (Columbia kept changing its legal name!), "Talking Machines in Switzerland," "Fake Victrolas in New Swindle," "Progress of the Domestic Talking Machine Corporation," "Columbia Managers Hold Meeting," "Figures on Columbia Expansion," "Developing the Demand for Records in St. Louis," and so on. Lots of info on machines. Ads: "Will There Be a Victrola in your Home This Christmas?" "The Perfection Ball-Bearing Tone Arm," and more. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

Victrola and 78 Journal.

Victrola and 78 Journal Issue 11

VICTROLA AND 78 JOURNAL, Winter 1996. 84 pages in the issue itself plus a dozen additional special "inserts" (duplicated pages from the RARE phonograph trade journal TALKING MACHINE WORLD--fascinating articles/advertisements from 1920s of phonographs and recording artists. A lot of rare phonograph information!

I'll describe a few articles. One is "Restoring Your Victrola's Appearance" (see illustration for a bit of this). Opening article is "263 Machines and Their Makers: 1916-23" by authority R. J. Wakeman (with rare trademark information supplied By Allan Sutton). In 1919 there were nearly 200 phonograph manufacturers in the U.S., and they are listed here, with great visuals! Do you have an oddball phonograph? It might be here, with address of manufacturer, etc.

Throughout the 1910s demand for phonographs and records actually exceeded supply. Many new companies entered this lucrative field as basic phonograph patents held by Victor, Columbia, and Edison were expiring. Most companies advertised in The Talking Machine World--that is the source for the rare information in this wonderful article!) Included are Aeolian-Vocalion, Brunswick, Columbia, Edison, Pathe, Sonora, Victor. Many of the small makers were strictly local in distribution whereas others, such as Cheney and Starr, enjoyed national distribution.

It was not unusual for a furniture, department, piano, or music store to sell phonographs under its own name. To supply these stores, many cabinet manufacturing firms made and sold complete phonographs while others sold just the cabinets. Motors, reproducers, tone arms, and other hardware could be purchased from a number of independent manufacturers. Nice visuals in this article, like a pie chart showing how Xmas sales were crucial to Talking Machine industry!

Other articles: history of the Cameo Record Corporation, the Kansas City Talking Machine Company, early Victor discs, blues 78s, ragtime and Scott Joplin (new information!), a review of the Columbia Phonograph Companion (nice book!), collectors of 78s list their "10 Favorite 78s!" etc. SOME of the Talking Machine World pages that were included with journals: the February 1923 announcement to the trade of the NEW Victrolas No. 215 and 220. A page from 1925 about Okeh records being made on a Detroit stage by Finzel's Orchestra--first time records were made before a large "live" audience? Article on Magnavox machine (June 1920), Ceramiphone machine ad, Empire talking machine (1920), Talking Book Corporation advertisement dated August 1920 (cardboard cartoons with discs--Parrot, Dancing Girl, Tired Baby, etc.), Swanson portable machine (1922), article on Billy Murray and Henry Burr having success on stage (1920).

Country Music on 78s

Numerical lists of all country series on labels before 1940, by Robert Olson; 310 pages.

Country Music on 78s

"COUNTRY MUSIC ON 78s," compiled by country music historian Robert R. Olson. 310 pages. If you want to know what record company issued which country titles and "hillbilly" artists on the original 78 rpm discs, this is the book for you--unique! A lifelong collector of old 78s, Olson has spent decades studying country music on 78 rpm discs that were issued in the 1920s and 1930s (he has studied primary sources, such as company studio logs when they exist, and has been in contact with hundreds of other collectors).

This book is not available in any store. Privately published. As the title page suggests, here are lists of country music titles & artists found on old 78 rpm discs issued from the mid-1920s to World War II. These are numerical listings in the country "series" of 12 different 78 rpm labels, including Brunswick 100-600 series, Columbia's 15000-D series, Decca's 5000 series, Okeh's 45000 series, Victor's V-40000 & 23500 series, Vocalion's 5000 series, Broadway's 8000 series, the Grey Gull/Radiex 4000 series, Herwin's 75500 series, Paramount's 3000 series, and Romeo's 5000 series (the Romeo 5000 series is the same as the Oriole 8000 series and the Jewel 20000 series, as far as 20053). Columbia's 20000/21000 country series is not included because it is post-WWII.  Book is 9 x 11 inches, spiral binding. 

Here are names of typical artists in the lists: Uncle Dave Macon, Ernest V. Stoneman, Fiddlin' John Carson & His Virginia Reelers, Jenkins Family, Blind Andy (Andrew Jenkins), Frank Hutchinson, Allen Brothers, Jimmie Rodgers, Gene Autry, Jimmie Davis, Bud Billings (this is really Frank Luther), Carter Family, Grinnell Giggers, Kelly Harrell, Gunboat Billy & the Sparrow (on Victor 23698, this is really Arthur Fields & Fred Hall--not country artists at all!), George Reneau, Lester McFarland & Robert A. Gardner, Bradley Kincaid, Jimmie Wakely & His Rough Riders, Cliff Carlisle, Shelton Brothers, Texas Jim Lewis & His Lone Star Cowboys, and so on. In the book are RARE advertisements from Talking Machine World and other phonograph trade journals--Okeh ads for Fiddlin' John Carson, Henry Whitter, Gid Tanner and Riley Puckett, Ernest Thompson, Samantha Bumgarner and Eva Davis (pioneers among female hillbilly artists--1924!), Cliff Bruner, McFarland and Gardner, the Tennessee Ramblers, and so on.

The Master Musician

Back issues from 1919 and 1920 of a rare musical trade journal edited by and for African Americans. 210 pages.

Superb research material for anyone interested in African-American music from the important 1919-1923 period (ragtime, early jazz or "jass," blues around the time of Mamie Smith, and so on)! Duplicated issues of the rare music journal The Master Musician, which was renamed The American Musician in 1920. Six issues (average issue is 30 pages) compiled in this NEW 210-page book, compiled by Tim Gracyk.

Most pages are here (only 4 are missing--I had edited out advertisements that merely DUPLICATE ads featured in earlier issues). This was an important monthly magazine edited by and written for the African-American musical community in 1919 and 1920. Copies are fascinating yet so rare that I know of only one set that has survived! A researcher in the ragtime community helped me put this together (thanks again, Audrey!).

The short-lived journal identified itself as "The Pioneer of Negro Musical Magazines in the World." Wonderful details about African-American musicians of all backgrounds, including classical, dance band, jazz, even blues (for example, an announcement is made in a late 1920 issue that Mamie Smith had made Okeh records). Nicely xeroxed, spiral binding.

I'll describe what is in the first issue so you get an idea of what this journal covered. The October 1919 issue's original price was 15 cents and is 24 pages (later issues have more pages). Photo of bandleader Jim Europe and his Hell Fighters Band (page 22). Short articles on what was happening in different cities, such as Chicago (Clarence Jones at the Owl Theatre; Marion Anderson appearing in Chicago, then returning home to Philadelphia; tenor Roland Hayes to leave for Europe; the Maid's Original Fifteen Jazz Babies giving a concert at the Manhattan Casino; Tony Langston of the Negro publication titled The Chicago Defender taking photos of an Elks parade, etc.). Here is what was happening in Philadelphia: items about members of Ricketts' Jazz; W. Benton Overstreet; Jerome T. Mosby identified as "Philadelphia's greatest colored dancing master," etc. Article on Blind Boone, charity concert. An article about Sissle and Blake ("one of the strongest acts on the vaudeville stage just now is that presented by Lieutenant Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, known as the Dixie Duo..."). An article on a female ensemble called the Quaker City Female Band ("This is proof of what the Negro women are doing in the musical world..."). A letter to the editor from young contralto Marian Anderson. Information about Will Marion Cook. Article about J. Rosamond Johnson resigning as director of the Music School Settlement of NYC ("the greatest colored pianist and composer").

Others covered include William H. Vodery ("the colored composer and instrumental arranger"); Florence Cole Talbert ("The Race can well be proud of this representative..."); Noble M. Johnson ("America's Premier Afro-American Screen Star...Negro Film Makes Hit"). An article on Conowingo Jazz. An article on Nathaniel Dett, director of music at Hampton Institute, Virginia ("No people love music as a mere expression of everyday life as does the Negro..."). An article about the Shimmie-sha-Wabble dance (it "must go," states the writer). There is MORE in this issue.

Next is the issue from December 1919. Then we have March 1920. Then October 1920 and then November 1920 and then January 1921. Negro saxophone quartets, classical music performed by African Americans, early jazz dance bands and military bands (Jim Europe is mentioned in different issues), article on "The Negro As A Basis for Symphonic and Operatic Development," article on Tuskegee Band, fascinating advertisements for black owned theatres in various cities, such as the Dunbar Theatre in Philadelphia ("The Only Theatre in Philadelphia Employing Colored Employees Exclusively"), etc. etc. It is hard to describe all the information given. Here is an interesting item from page 23 of the November 1920 issue: "Musicians have threatened to call a strike in the South Side [Chicago] movie houses, where members of the Race frequent on Sunday night. Patrons are likely to see a show without an orchestra. It was learned that the men receive about $42.50 a week for about 5 hours' work..."

Talking Machine World from 1918

The best pages compiled from 12 issues of Talking Machine World's 1918 issues. Thick--over 400 pages; spiral-binding.


Huge book that compiles the best pages from the 12 issues of 1918, January through December. About 450 pages! Beautifully reprinted/duplicated. I picked the PERFECT pages for reprinting purposes--the MOST INTERESTING pages, not dull ones--and 1918 was a great year for the phonograph industry since new companies were created. They were all advertising in TMW! Good amount of attention given to Victor, Columbia, Edison and the minor companies of the day like Pathe, Operaphone, Emerson. Fascinating advertisements. Typical articles: "Berliner's Latest Invention" (yes, Emile Berliner), "Now the Columbia Graphophone Manufacturing Co." (Columbia kept changing its legal name!), "Talking Machines in Switzerland," "Fake Victrolas in New Swindle," "Progress of the Domestic Talking Machine Corporation," "Columbia Managers Hold Meeting," "Figures on Columbia Expansion," "Developing the Demand for Records in St. Louis," etc. Lots of info on machines. Ads: "Will There Be a Victrola in your Home This Christmas?" "The Perfection Ball-Bearing Tone Arm," etc...the tip of an iceberg.

Victrola Guide -- Instructions for the Setting Up, Operation & Care of the Victrola

The best all-purpose Victrola guide! 16-page booklet on how to operate and maintain your Victrola! Carefully duplicated from official booklet published in June 1924 by Victor Talking Machine Company and included with some 1924 Victrola models--rare booklet since not many copies survived! It is titled "Instructions for the Setting-up, Operation & Care of the Victrola: Spring Motor Type"!

First, I'll describe the 16-page booklet. It is the perfect guide for any beginning collector of Victrolas and for advanced collectors, too! Some of the technical discussions will delight advanced collectors, and the more general paragraphs will help "newbies," or beginners. You learn the proper terms for Victor parts (it was never called a crank--Victor engineers called it a "winding key"!); you learn about the taber tube and sound box (other companies call this piece of equipment a "reproducer"--Victor's well-designed No. 2 sound box is illustrated here); you learn the correct angle for the needle on a record (60 degrees); you learn about the air vent in the lid support system; you learn how to re-distribute lubricant; you learn how to turn the motor over, properly--no damage to the automatic brake switch; you learn how to get the most from Tungs-tone needles or styli (literature claims these special tungsten needles, which are "soft and fibrous, not hard and crystalline," can play "from 100 to 300 records" but 100 is more likely than 300); and other specific suggestions about how to get the most from your machine! Lots of tips like "A drop of oil should be placed on the escutcheon before inserting the key." If you don't know the names of all the parts, like the "crook" and the "automatic brake yoke," don't worry--this is nicely illustrated.

The Victrola guide was carefully duplicated on state-of-the-art xeroxing equipment at a local printing shop. When mailing it, I'll add bonus pages to the envelope (I use a large size envelope since I never like to FOLD the Victrola booklet--you don't want the nice booklet folded), including duplicated pages from other Victrola guides and also from the old trade journal from the 1920s called Talking Machine World, which means you get MORE phonograph information! It includes the article from December 1925 listing the "trade-in" prices that Victor dealers were giving to folks who wanted to trade their old-style Victrolas for credit towards a new Orthophonic Victrola (those old horn machines were not worth much in 1925!). Also, as bonus, duplicated pages from other Victrola booklets from World War I era and 1920s, giving tips on the Orthophonic Victrola, the portable Victrola (suitcase model), the XI (type G--nice illustrations of the Victor Fibre Needle Cutter!), and the Victrola VI.

Diamond Disc Index

Every one of Edison's thick Diamond Discs is listed, with interesting disc info given! Over 300 pages.

Diamond Disc Index

Big index of all Diamond Discs, the thick discs marketed by Thomas A. Edison's company from late 1912 to 1929. This unique book of about 300 pages (9 inches by 11 inches, spiral binding) accurately lists every Diamond Disc issued.

Thousands of titles are listed numerically, beginning with 50001 ("Moonlight in Jungleland" and "Below the Mason-Dixon Line"--cut by Collins and Harlan and issued in the first batch of Diamond Discs in November 1912) through 52651, the highest-numbered disc in the popular series of the Diamond Discs, issued in November 1929 at the time Edison abandoned the commercial recording business (this last one is "electric" and features Vaughn de Leath).

Also in the index are the classical and semi-classical 80,000 and 82,000 records, even the 57000 series (German), 58000 (French), 59000 (Scandinavian), etc. Demonstration, special purpose, and sample records are listed. For example, the rare "Holiday Greetings from the Bunch at Orange," with Thomas A. Edison's own voice, is listed among the special purpose records--it was issued in 1924. Edison's rare lateral cut records of 1929 (14000 series) are here, too. Information was compiled by the famous Edison researcher Ray Wile.

At the end of the book is a handy index of Edison's musical artists, which tells you alphabetically what artists are on which Diamond Discs! Other information in the book: matrix numbers, date when each disc was issued, and date when disc was deleted from the catalog. For example, Diamond Disc 50194, "He's a Rag Picker," sung by the Peerless Quartet, was available from October 1914 until June 1919--Billy Murray sings "California and You" on the reverse side. There is even information about which side was intended by the company to be the "A" side and "B" side (this is information not on all of the discs themselves--the "R" means "right side," or "A" side, whereas "L" means "left side," or "B" side).

A wonderful yet elusive reference book--excellent condition (never used). This does NOT appear to be an original from the 1970s (only a hundred or so were printed back then?). Instead, this seems to be a high-quality copy of the original with EXTRA pages and visuals added. I saw an original copy at a friend's home, and my copy for sale appears to be thicker than the original since it has extra Diamond Disc material that the original from the 1970s never had (the original was also spiral binding, so the format is the exact same). Again, a handy index of artists' names was added by someone (the original lacked this index--now, in this copy I'm selling, you can look up "Murray, Billy" to find the Diamond Discs this comic tenor made as a solo artist). This Diamond Disc book is actually more useful than the original from the 1970s!

Orthophonic Victrola Guide from 1926

Over 20 visuals covering the unique "re-enterant horn," proper lubrication (an oiling diagram!), the lid support knob (with air vent), inserting the needle into the Orthophonic soundbox, lowering the soundbox, lifting the motor out, the swing tube, adjusting the tube, mounting the turntable. It explains how the automatic brake is triggered by eccentric groove discs. It explains how to take care of records. A section covers the tungs-tone stylus or needle. A section discusses how to loosen lock nuts to prevent lids closing with a bumping sound. It explains how to insert a small wire into the lid support's air vent to remove dirt that may be clogging the vent. It explains how to wind the motor down a few times after lubrication "to assure free working of all parts and re-distribution of lubricant." It talks about mounting the soundbox in the correct manner onto the soundbox crook.


Instructions for Repairing the Victor Motors and Exhibition Sound Box

Motor Book Cover

8-page booklet from 1914! Carefully duplicated--same format as original!

Items discussed include oiling the barrel arbor at its bearing in the top plate, governor springs (forced out of position on their seats?), governor sleeve binding on the governor spindle, escutcheon plate, putting oil in the sleeve on the governor friction disc, checking that thrust balls are in both governor bearings, the brake leather (pulled out a little?), speed indicator (it is not a speed regulator--there is a difference!), lubricating the governor friction leather, oiling the indicator bearings, lowering the motor into place, having the winding key aligned properly with the winding shaft, automatic brake yoke, caps in the spring barrels, examining the barrel arbor bearings, replacing a spring, and so on.