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 Post subject: R34 Airship and Columbia Grafonola
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:30 am 
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Victor I
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Recently I was reading about the successful transatlantic flight of the R34 airship from Britain to the US in July 1919. Apparently the crew were entertained during the flight with Jazz from a gramophone aswell as by a stowaway cat called 'Wopsie' or 'Whoopsie' depending on source.

The photo shows some of the crew but I find its caption hard to believe. I doubt Edison would present the crew with a Columbia Grafonola, rather than his own machine, especially as it appears this accompanied them from Britain. Infact the photo looks a bit like a publicity shot for Columbia. Still it's a great image and you can even see the cat (taking an interest in the Grafonola!) and the airship in the background.


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 Post subject: Re: R34 Airship and Columbia Grafonola
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:27 am 
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Victor V
His epigrams are all his own, the man's an epigramophone!
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The caption is certainly suspect. Whoever wrote it could not even spell Edison's name correctly! Here is a contemporary press report :


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 Post subject: Re: R34 Airship and Columbia Grafonola
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:37 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
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Airships and gramophones... what an endearing historical blend! And there's the cat too!

I also believe that Edison - in the sense of Thomas Alva - makes no sense here. Why should he offer to them a Columbia gramophone, and at their departure from UK too?! Perhaps he offered them something else in occasion of their trip back from USA. Or maybe it wasn't Thomas Alva, but indeed some Mr. Eddison, perhaps a politician or a moneylender who organised the shipment (just guessing).


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 Post subject: Re: R34 Airship and Columbia Grafonola
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:22 am 
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Victor I
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Yes no sense. The centenary of this event was last July and the BBC website also gives a news report on the flight. It says that in New York the crew were showered with gifts and greeted by president Woodrow Wilson. This is where they received the gramophone from Thomas Edison. It's pretty much the same information as the caption but without the spelling mistakes (gram'a'phone, Eddison and Whoopsie) as would be expected of the BBC!

I'm wondering if Edison sent a diamond disc player but due to strict weight limits on the airship they were unable to take it back. After all, they already had the Columbia and some favourite records. The incorrect assumption now made that the Columbia must be the machine from Edison and this makes a more interesting caption for the picture.

They also received an offer of $1000 for the cat!


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 Post subject: Re: R34 Airship and Columbia Grafonola
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:03 pm 
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Victor VI
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jamiegramo wrote:
Yes no sense. The centenary of this event was last July and the BBC website also gives a news report on the flight. It says that in New York the crew were showered with gifts and greeted by president Woodrow Wilson. This is where they received the gramophone from Thomas Edison. It's pretty much the same information as the caption but without the spelling mistakes (gram'a'phone, Eddison and Whoopsie) as would be expected of the BBC!

I'm wondering if Edison sent a diamond disc player but due to strict weight limits on the airship they were unable to take it back. After all, they already had the Columbia and some favourite records. The incorrect assumption now made that the Columbia must be the machine from Edison and this makes a more interesting caption for the picture.

They also received an offer of $1000 for the cat!


I recall reading in Frow (?) that Edison presented them with a surplus Army/Navy Phonograph, which was declined for weight reasons.

-Bill


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 Post subject: Re: R34 Airship and Columbia Grafonola
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:18 am 
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Victor I
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Bill, many thanks for confirming my suspicion as to the Edison connection. Although the caption was clearly incorrect it seemed Edison must have sent them something.

Jamie


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 Post subject: Re: R34 Airship and Columbia Grafonola
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:53 am 
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Victor O
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:59 am
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Reminds me of a letter I received many years ago (about 1971) from a lady with a trade mark Berliner, who told me it had been given to her father by Thomas Edison, on board Sir Thomas Lipton's yacht 'Erin'. I commented that it was a bit unlikely that Edison would give anyone a Gramophone, to which the lady replied that I was quite right, the Gramophone was given by Marconi, and Edison gave her dad something else on another occasion. Her father clearly moved in interesting circles, and I wish now that I had enquired more into that aspect!

Memory plays funny tricks, and aural history needs to be taken with a huge pinch of salt!


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