From: Roger Kulp <[log in to unmask]>
> Can you elaborate? What did she record on Toscanini? When? What label were they pressed on?
Dennis is referring to the Mary Howard Recording Studio which did a lot
of air check recordings for clients, and apparently some were of
Toscanini broadcasts. They weren't pressed on any label, they were
instantaneous lacquers. The labels on the Mary Howard discs I have are
usually off-white with the studio name around the outer edge.
> I have a 1947 (?) Toscanini recording of the Shotakovich "Leningrad"
> with an unidentified orchestra,on eleven 78s.Studio (something) label.
There were a lot of recording studios recording and supplying concert
recordings. There was an interesting panel session in December at NYC
ARSC about a store that was famous for this. DDR can give more details.
> Columbia must have started pressing custom records right from the start.
> I have a 78,that I believe dates from the late 20s,that is a dealer
> advertising.or promotional record,all talking,for the Kellogg Radio
> company.They pressed those insanely rare electrical music appreciation
> records,by The New York Philharmonic,for Ginn for use in schools,of which
> I own one. The Kellogg record,in particular,looks just like the famous
> early electrical Viva-Tonal label,minus the Columbia logos,and has the
> very same print along the bottom the Viva-Tonals do. Roger
Most of the record companies could be hired to record custom personal
records from the very beginning of the industry. Columbia printed
brochures offering the service, but things like this can be found on
Victor, Emerson, Gennett and many other companies. There were no
"independent" recording studios possible until the development of
instantaneous recording, first on un-coated aluminum around 1930, and
lacquer in 1934. The majors still offered their custom services if you
needed multiple pressings.
Bob Olhsson mentions the expiring of patents in the 1940s as opening up
new opportunities, but it really was the expiring of patents in the late
teens and early 20s that allowed the introduction of dozens of new
companies and hundreds of new labels that changed the industry in the
post World War One and Roaring Twenties years. Independent pressing
plants and labels continued thru the 30s into the 40s, but the extreme
downturn of record sales in the depression and the shellac shortage of
the war years that caused the impression that patent expiration might
have fueled the growth of independent labels after WW II. Reading thru
Billboard and the Billboard Yearbooks shows that Dennis Rooney's
explanation is much closer to the truth although the upturn was
beginning in popular music 3 or 4 years before the entry of the tape
recorder and microgroove. There were hundreds of new labels formed
between 1945 and 47.
Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
From: Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 12:43 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] LP period record business
What really launched the independent record industry was magnetic
tape. The prewar American indies (e.g. Musicraft, Royale, Gamut,
Timely, Technichord) produced product of variable audio quality at
best, whereas tape masters could be sent to either RCA or Columbia
custom for disc mastering that equalled the quality of the major
labels. I have a photo of a Columbia workman at Bridgeport, extracting
a stamper from a press (I think the tool of choice was a menacing
looking pair of pliers). Surrounding him are dozens of labels stacked
on dowels for various custom clients. The adoption rate for Lps
happened so quickly (2-3 yrs) that a previously nonexistent market was
created almost overnight. For classical repertoire, content was
supplied largely by European recording activity (as earlier mentioned
in this chain of postings) produced by artists who, in those grim
postwar years, would often work for chocolate and cigarettes.
Re the distaff side of the profession: When I recorded the St. Paul
Chamber Orchestra, I knew the principal cellist, Peter Howard, whose
mother, Mary, had her own studio in New York and whose clients
included Arturo Toscanini.
On 1/22/12, Bob Olhsson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> There really is quite an untold story here that I only know little bits and
> pieces of.
> The patents on lots of the technology had expired during the 1940s. Tom Dowd
> told me this was what had really paved the way for there being an
> independent record industry as we know it. Emory Cook came up with a cutting
> system that worked around the few remaining patents that would have required
> equipment leases only large companies could qualify for and royalties paid
> on each record. Tom told me about weekly conference calls between himself,
> Cook, Bill Putnam and a number of other well-known figures from the early
> '50s because the majors still controlled most of the technical information
> about record mastering and pressing. The only patents on magnetic recording
> were of somewhat questionable validity and Ampex never tried to patent their
> early technology.
> Armed Forces Radio had indeed trained a lot of personnel although this
> created an almost totally male-dominated world of broadcast production and
> engineering. I was fortunate to get my early audio production training in
> Jr. and Sr. high school from two women who had been producers at NBC during
> the '30s and '40s only to get canned and replaced by veterans after the war!
> Bob Olhsson
> 615.562.4346 http://www.bobolhsson.com http://audiomastery.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Steven Smolian
> Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 9:18 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] LP period record business
> I agree there is a need for works covering the LP to CD era.
> There have been various articles and books that address pieces of this era.
> A good bibliography is the logical starting place- what do we already know,
> what else do se need to research, etc.
> I've been looking at a subset of the early LP classical record companies as
> I've become aware of how many were connected through their owners being
> ex-patriot Hungarians. Period, Vox, Stradavari, etc. Some issued only a
> record or two and either failed pr morphed. Many of the performers were
> from the same part of the world and had the cultural and linguistic comfort
> that enabled them to go back to central Europe with scarce hard currency,
> negotiate the complexities of the post-war political maze, and built
> catalogs from Vienna, Stuttgart, Italy (Dario Soria), etc.
> Except for Soria, miost were Jewish. This must have created some strong
> personal conflicts when conducting business.
> Many of the labels of the earl 50s had personnel who arrived after WW II.
> That included the outfits that cut records as well, and those who imported
> the equipment used for high-quality recording. Steve Temmer of Gotham was
> These folks made up an important part of the industry that emerged as tape
> replaced the lacquer disc. This part of the story is still quite
> Another important thread is to trace the effect of the benefits of funding
> for education and new businesses through various GI benefits. Many
> servicemen were mustered out with significant nest egg accumulations, war
> loot, etc.
> In short, a book drawn from the sources we already have would be a stopgap
> awaiting further, well researched information. So much of what we now have
> is history by press release. Cherchez le buck.
> Steve Smolian
Dennis D. Rooney
303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
New York, NY 10023