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ARSCLIST  October 2012

ARSCLIST October 2012

Subject:

Re: Early electrical disk recording

From:

Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 9 Oct 2012 11:19:48 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (116 lines)

Info from Son Fen's book would be very suspect, but I should check out
the Sooey diaries.  I have the Albertis Hewitt lab notebook, and since
he was working on electrical recording with James W. Owens at Victor
going back into the teens, and that he discusses experimenting with
Charles Hoxie's Pallophotophone in 1922, I would think he would have
mentioned Western Electric demonstrating recording to them.  He was
using some Western Electric amplifiers but otherwise doesn't mention WE.
 

The sound quality of the Western Electric recordings was not ready to be
shown to anyone until the fall of 1924.  That is evident in the NY Phil
recordings AND OTHERS.  I just broadcast on Sunday night on
YesterdayUSA.com the June 29, 1924 W.E. recordings from the Capitol
Theatre stage performance of "Sweethearts" and Roxy's Gang broadcast,
and the quality is still marginal.  It was a lot better for the Sept 12,
1924 Defense Test Day broadcast, and this set was pressed by Columbia
with the beige Electric Record label.  It might be at this time that
they thought it was ready to demonstrate, and the cello record that is
illustrated in Nauck's Columbia label book might also be from this era. 
The Orthophonic reproducer was also part of of the package and is
clearly a 1925 configuration -- not before.   Prior to this Victor was
doing some cooperation with RCA -- not Western Electric -- to make
Victrolas with space for Radiolas.  The Victor 100 loudspeaker with the
pleated Lumiere diaphragm dates back to a design by Hewitt in December
1922 using a Baldwin headphone as the driver but seems to be first
announced at the April 24, 1925 Victor Board Meeting.  Victor was
clearly in the Western Electric camp in time for the January 1, 1925
Victor Hour broadcast on Western Electric's WEAF.  Six sides of
releasable excerpts of the January 15, 1925 broadcast were recorded but
not released, which is months before Columbia' Associate Glee Club
broadcast recordings, some of which they did release.  

As a possible indication of Brunswick joining the RCA camp, their first
broadcast on Dec 9, 1924 -- three weeks before Victor's -- was on RCA's
WJZ. This might have started the relationship that led to Brunswick had
with RCA and GE for Hoxie's system. But the Victor WEAF series ended on
March 26, 1925 and on April 26, 1925 Victor signed an agreement with RCA
to install Radiolas in Victrolas.  Yes, of course, they were continuing
-- or maybe just starting -- to design the acoustic Orthophonic players
with Western Electric.  But the Victor broadcast resumed in the fall of
1925 on WJZ, not WEAF.  I should remind everyone at this point that it
was not until Oct 1926 that AT&T sold WEAF to RCA and left the
broadcasting business.       

The Canadian chorus recording that Dave Lewis remembers from the
cardboard record was recorded August 9, 1925, so it comes much later in
the picture.  Apex Radiatone 25000.  Orlando Marsh's history does need
further investigation.  Also in Chicago, an inventor Benjamin Franklin
Miessner claims to have done some electrical recording experiments for
Brunswick as early as December 1920.  As for details of the Hoxie
system, I do have some basic info in my dissertation, which also
contains much of all the info I've discussed here.  Examining the
numerous Hoxie patents on different parts of the system helps explain a
lot, but there is more research being done up in the Schenectady Museum
to fill in the background of the 1929 Pallophotophone recordings.  They
have discovered a lot of new information about Hoxie's 1922 recording
trip to Washington, DC.   

Mike Bielo  [log in to unmask]   


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording
From: Steve Smolian <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, October 09, 2012 10:59 am
To: [log in to unmask]

I'm engaged in other matters so can't do the research, but remember
reading 
(Johnson's son's book? Sooey diaries?) That it was shown to Victor in
early 
1924 or late 1923. Their engineering staff rejected it. Columbia took
it. 
Then Victor took it.

This makes sense because Victor was using the WE formulas to design the 
acoustic Orthophonic speaker and would have been aware of the recording 
process of which that formula was also a component. The WE experimental 
tests of records go back to at least 1923 (I have one) and, given it's 
number, probably to late 1922.

I would love to see the notebook that WE used to record these tests in.
I'd 
heard it was at the Sarnoff Museum but when I went there about 6 mo
before 
it closed, it was not in their library or catalog.

Steve Smolian



-----Original Message----- 
From: Sam Brylawski
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 10:21 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Early electrical disk recording

Thanks for this Mike. I don't recall seeing the Wheeler book reviewed in
the Journal. Can you tell us more about it? In that it carries a $95
price
tag your assessment of its research value would be appreciated by all of
us.

Sam

On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 1:13 AM, Michael Biel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

--SNIP--
> There is no evidence that Western Electric ever showed their system to
> either Victor or Columbia before Nov or Dec 1924. It certainly would
> have been mentioned in the Hewitt lab notebooks. Columbia signed the
> contract with Western Electric on Feb 26, 1925 -- and this contract has
> just been published in facsimile by *Geoffrey Wheeler in his new book
> about the legal (and illegal) history of Columbia Records.* It looks
> like four masters by Art Gillham beat the contract by a day, but he did

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