The Phonograph Monthly Review article about Brunswick's Light-Ray system is in the first issue of the magazine, October 1926, pp. 19-21. By Oliver C. Nelson. It explains the system in some detail and includes diagrams about how it worked.
From: Dennis Rooney <[log in to unmask]>
To: ARSCLIST <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 3:09 pm
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
It has been more than fifty years since I last looked at some issues, but I
seem to recall an article on the Light Ray process in THE PHONOGRAPH
MONTHLY REVIEW sometime in 1927. I don't know how accessible they are. The
Philadelphia Free Library has a set (1926-32).
On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 9:42 AM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dr. B wrote:
> In late 1922
> Hewitt had a visit from Charles Hoxie who was doing sound-on-film
> recording for GE and WGY, and loaned Hewitt some of the equipment.
> Parts of this system was later the basis of the Brunswick Light Ray
> Recording process which is not such a mystery as Dave Lewis seems to
> Well, good. Perhaps you can point me to a study on the light ray
> technology. I'm interested in it, but never encountered much on it save
> record collector's scuttlebutt.
> As usual, there is no mention of Orlando Marsh in this thread. And to my
> knowledge Autograph did not issue anything before 1924, though
> I've never encountered a formal, or even informal, listing of their
> releases. Nevertheless, Rainbow 1026, "Oh My Soul Bless Thou Jehovah"
> and "Tis the Precious Name of Jesus" by tenor Loren Jones appears to be a
> Marsh electrical. It is difficult to date precisely, and the copy I
> have seen comes from a period whereby Homer was stamping out the centers of
> his master discs and replacing them for some reason, so
> that the mx. number is lost. But it was available by his third catalog,
> published in October 1922. And typically there is no mention on the disc
> that it is electrical; Rainbow was well past the number 1026 at that time,
> and it appears this disc was used to fill in for an intended issue that
> didn't come about for some reason.
> Although it wasn't issued at the time, one very early Marsh disc that
> survives is the "Unknown Black Band" performing "Muscle Shoals Blues"
> from late 1921; it is Marsh mx. "19" and I don't know of an earlier one
> than that.
> The band is officially "unknown," but unofficially believed to be Tim
> Brymn's Black Devil Orchestra. On their arrival in Chicago from the
> theater the Brymn unit, which was still military at that time, set up at a
> local Armory and played music in addition to conducting military drills.
> of the drills were filmed by Oscar Micheaux and shown as part
> of a newsreel exhibited along with one of his features though -- like so
> many of his
> films -- it no longer is known to survive, and we don't even know what the
> title of that may have been.
> I think one of the reasons Orlando Marsh seems to get so little love is
> that his electricals don't sound like electricals; they sound like
> somewhat louder
> acousticals with extra distortion added. Note the blasting on the drums
> here, which would likely have precluded its release if Marsh had any way to
> issue his records in 1921. While I will certainly not argue against the
> "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" as the first issued electrical, and this
> track was not
> issued until the 2000s, I would humbly suggest that this might be the
> earliest surviving electrical recording of music.
> I also used to have a cardboard flexi from Canada which contained choral
> music, recorded electrically in 1924. I don't remember the details on it,
> but they
> claimed it was the first electrical recording; it is certainly still very
> Uncle Dave Lewis
> Lebanon, OH
Dennis D. Rooney
303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
New York, NY 10023