Edison Bell & Edisonia Records

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Victor Jr
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Edison Bell & Edisonia Records

Post by zippy »

I found these Edison Bell & Edisonia Records (London records) in decent condition. They are all brown wax cylinders. Does anyone know the manufacturing years of these? From 1890 to 1900?

Thanks in advance!
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Victor II
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Re: Edison Bell & Edisonia Records

Post by Dulcetto »

Brian , brown wax cylinders were first offered for sale in UK as early as 1889 , but generally speaking , 1897 / 98 is about the earliest you are likely to find , and not very often at that. Most brown wax Edison - Bell records found today date to the 1900 - 03 period ( brown wax were still being made by EB as late as 1905 , even though production of the black wax moulded records had started late in 1903 ). The early history of cylinder records available in UK before 1903 is quite complex and takes a while to understand fully. A great introduction to the subject is Frank Andrews book " Edison Phonograph -- The British Connection" which I thoroughly recommend reading -- now out of print , but copies are offered occasionally on ebay etc. Dating records in this period can be problematic , but the best clues you will have will be knowledge of how the physical characteristics or appearance of the cylinders varied over time , also the wording on the box and lid labels can yield information which can narrow down the date of manufacture. The titles of the records themselves will help considerably to narrow down a date -- do a google search for any particular song title -- often you will find sheet music publication dates -- or songs from Musical plays will be naturally not pre-date when the show first appeared in a theatre -- again , google will be of help here. Many recordings had only short catalogue lives in the early years , as records that did not sell well were not carried over to the next catalogue -- that too can help date a record . Send me an email with the titles and catalogue numbers and I'll see if I can work out when they were issued ( I have a number of early EB catalogues ). EB catalogues were issued twice yearly between 1898 and 1903 with supplements of new recordings added every 3 months in-between . At first glance ,judging by the box style and label types , your records are around 1900 - 01 ( in the Summer of 1901 , the boxes gained the familiar " Edison bell Popular " labels) Best regards Dulcetto

Victor II
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Re: Edison Bell & Edisonia Records

Post by Menophanes »

The clarinettist Charles Draper, named on one of the labels, was a very distinguished solo and orchestral player; some of us are probably familiar with the fine sets of the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets which he made much later (c. 1928) with the Lener Quartet. In 1905 he co-founded the New Symphony Orchestra which, under Landon Ronald, was probably the first symphony orchestra to record as an ensemble (from 1909). I have a similar cylinder by the bassoonist E. F. James who in 1895 played in the first of Henry Wood's Promenade Concerts (forerunners of the BBC 'Proms' of today).

By the middle of 1902 Edison-Bell cylinders were being made with the thick end flat and embossed with the name of the company. (I know this because I have one featuring a song 'Coronation Day' which obviously must have coincided in date with the coronation of King Edward VII [August 1902]). Earlier cylinders used blanks of the Columbia type, with the thicker end rounded and unmarked. Early examples sometimes had an announcement ending 'Sung for Edisonia Limited', while late ones end 'Edison-Bell Record'; in between, around 1900, there is often no indication of the maker other than the one word 'London'. Many Edison-Bell cylinders, even quite late ones, seem to play best at very low speeds (110-115 r.p.m.).

Oliver Mundy.

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