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 Post subject: Victor vs Columbia vs "success"
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:39 pm 
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Victor Jr
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Restoration is little more than another kind of destruction.
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:50 pm
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I found this interesting article posted on our fan club's forum.

http://books.google.com/books?id=vyUuAA ... ny&f=false

Also, a fan made by the American Graphophone Co.
http://afca.mywowbb.com/forum1/12336.html

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Victor vs Columbia vs "success"
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:12 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1655
Hi Steve:

I found the "advertising story" especially interesting. Basically, this was reiterated by Welch and Read in "From Tinfoil to Stereo"--the fact that Victor outspent everyone on advertising.

I'm wondering, though, what the Victor executives thought about the writer's comments concerning the Jones patent --

"No, No! You got it backwards! Jones and Columbia stole it from us!!!"


This site does a pretty good job of summarizing the situation --

http://www.davidsarnoff.org/vtm-chapter4.html

also -- http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/recordi ... phone.html


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 Post subject: Re: Victor vs Columbia vs "success"
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:18 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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"If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will." - A. Lincoln
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
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It's interesting to me that in 1917 (the date of the first article), so many errors and distortions of fact could be published about events that had occurred less than 20 years before. A good many people who had been directly involved in the history of Victor and American Graphophone/Columbia were still around, and would have laughed at some of the conclusions written there. (By the same token, I've wondered how World War II veterans must have reacted to 1960s television shows like Combat, and many feature films from the 1950s-1960s whose realism with regard to uniforms, small arms, armor, tactics, and military protocol was pretty loosey-goosey. But 50 years out we start getting excellent works such as Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers.) It seems kind of odd to me.

The article from the David Sarnoff website was clearly rehashed from the Benjamin Aldridge company history, as well as from Eldridge Johnson's son's reminiscences. There is understandably a pro-Victor/pro-Johnson approach. Yet I saw nothing concerning the true story of how Victor came to operate under the Jones recording patent in January 1902. It's possible I simply didn't see it, and if so I do apologize. (It's really too interesting a story to miss.) But my eyes began to glaze over when the author started the old refrain about Zonophone being an inferior imitation of the Berliner Improved Gramophone... :roll:

Victor owed much of its success to a relatively unsung hero of the firm; a fellow who put the company on an aggressive advertising track, and whose strategy Eldridge Johnson wisely chose to follow during Victor's formative years. Without Leon Douglass, the talking machine industry might have developed differently during the first decade of the 20th century. Interesting stuff!

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: Victor vs Columbia vs "success"
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:06 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1655
phonogfp wrote:
The article from the David Sarnoff website was clearly rehashed from the Benjamin Aldridge company history... Yet I saw nothing concerning the true story of how Victor came to operate under the Jones recording patent in January 1902. . .
George P.


I think I might have posted the wrong link. I know I had found a pretty comprehensive history of the Jones patent, and posted it on Phonoland some years back, but unfortunately, that post has been removed due to a switch-over in the board's format, and I never saved a copy of my tome for my records. I thought the Sarnoff link was the primary one I used--I supplied several links to various sites--but apparently it wasn't.

I know that Welch and Read went into this in some detail, but how accurate their assessment was, I don't know. Basically, they claimed that Jones stole Johnson's wax recording method. (Johnson hadn't applied for a patent, fearing that it may have infringed on Edison's patents, if I remember correctly.) After several unsuccessful tries, Jones was finally granted a patent on the method, which, in turn, was immediately snapped up by Columbia, who then sued Victor, who then sued....

As you can see, I'm pretty foggy on the details.

I know we've got a few historians on this board that probably could recite the whole thing chapter and verse.

In the meantime, this page mentions Johnson's contribution to designing a wax recording method -- Johnson Wax

And this page mentions the Jones patent and how Johnson was able to strike a deal with Columbia -- Johnson grabs Columbia by the Globe

BTW, if you really want a headache, this may be worth a read, since it deals with litigation specifically involving the validity of the Jones patent --

The Federal Reporter, Vol. 189 -- Victor Talking Machine Co. V. American Graphophone Co


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 Post subject: Re: Victor vs Columbia vs "success"
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:20 am 
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Victor Monarch Special
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"If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will." - A. Lincoln
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Ortho,

You certainly have uncovered a variety of on-line sources on phonograph history! I'm always on the lookout for sources of PRIMARY material - - original documents, drawings, etc., and I thank you for these links.

The Lynn Bilton website does a good job of outlining the story of how Victor secured use of the Jones patent (Victor Grabs Columbia by the Globe). I've always wished Lynn had done more writing. Anyway, there's more to the story and if I have some time today or tomorrow, I'd be glad to post it here.

Interesting thread - -

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: Victor vs Columbia vs "success"
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:11 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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"If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will." - A. Lincoln
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
Posts: 6547
Location: New York's Finger Lakes
At least one of our colleagues wondered if my use of the past tense re: Lynn Bilton meant that something had happened to him. Sorry if it sounded that way - - as far as I know, Lynn is doing fine! :)

It occurred to me that I didn't need to re-write the interesting story of Columbia, Victor, and Globe. I already wrote about it in The Talking Machine Compendium, so here are 3 pages that cover it, along with some other things that were occurring at the same time. (I took a chronological approach in this chapter to present an overall picture of the industry.) The Globe story is a nice example of "pulling a fast one" on somebody.

By the way, next time someone characterizes our books as merely "picture books," try to remember this post. Out of 280 pages in this book, 77 are text! Hope somebody finds this interesting - -

George P.


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 Post subject: Re: Victor vs Columbia vs "success"
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:52 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:12 pm
Posts: 1655
Hi George:

Many thanks for posting that! It's one of the most comprehensive, yet most readable accounts I've read.

OF


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 Post subject: Re: Victor vs Columbia vs "success"
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:18 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
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"If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will." - A. Lincoln
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
Posts: 6547
Location: New York's Finger Lakes
Thanks for the nice compliment, Ortho; and thanks again for all the links!

George P.


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