On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 8:27 PM, David Seubert <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> I was hoping that somebody had information on the take numbering/marking
> system used by Emerson.

Since nobody has stepped forward with a definitive answer, I gather the
Emerson "system" is as yet an unresolved mystery.  Here are the marking
patterns I see in my own small collection:

Almost* all 9" and 10" Emersons have the hyphenated number (e.g., 3701-1,
4983-2), invariably with both parts in the same handwriting or font, usually
recessed but sometimes upraised.  Sometimes the final digit is followed by
an X.  So far, this is all consistent with the second number serving as a
take marker, with both numbers being added to the original wax master
(recessed) or the negative father (upraised) simultaneously.  This was how
Columbia had shown takes, and that's where Emerson had spent years working
before founding his own company, so he would have been intimately familiar
with the "hyphenated take" format, which also turns up on Little Wonder and
other Emerson projects.
   (* A few Emersons just have the catalog number and side letter, A/B, in
the wax.)

Second, a recessed letter often appears, either right after the hyphenated
number (but rarely lined up with it very well) or elsewhere.
These layout characteristics suggest the letter was being added during a
different production phase than the hyphenated number.  It's always
recessed, so it must have been stamped into a positive plate -- pointing to
this being the way Emerson distinguished between different mothers.

Finally, another number or letter sometimes appears in addition to the
"mother letter," either right after it or elsewhere, but this one is
upraised and sometimes in mirror image, showing that it must have been
stamped into a negative plate.  It's sometimes preceded by a small recessed
"s" (for "stamper"?) after the mother letter -- as though, when the mother
was marked, a designated space was also prepared for a subsequent stamper

Can anyone come up with a plausible explanation for these patterns in which
the number after the hyphen wasn't intended as a take number?  Anything else
it seems likely to have stood for appears to have been shown in some other

 - Patrick