Dance Band Encyclopaedia
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These pages are just
notes about the labels which may be found on 78s. Click on the label to see a larger image.
Many labels have more pictures, information and sometimes listings which may be
found by clicking on the link. I have included labels from all
periods, not just the 1920s and 1930s, just because I find them all interesting!
All label scans are from my own collection unless otherwise noted. Information about the labels is from various sources, including my own researching, but Brian Rust's "The American Record Label Book" was very useful as was Don Taylor's "The English 78 Picture Book" and various articles by Frank Andrews and Arthur Badrock in "Hillandale News" and "The Talking Machine Review".
In order to make the pages more managable (and quicker to load), I have split this section into alphabetical parts. Click on the appropriate letter below to see the section you want.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Non-UK Labels
note a change to these pages: ***
To see any listings of these labels and further information, click on the label name in the left hand column
A rare pre-WWI record
manufactured in Germany and sold in Britain. They were sold by Israel
Rachovitch of Whitechapel, East London, hence the label's name and the
initials I.R. on the book motif on the label. They were made available
from November 1912, and must have stopped by August 1914 on teh outbreak
of WWI, but they may have stopped well before then, judging by their
Rach-o-Phone records were manufactured in Germany by Kalliope, using "Blum" masters (also to be found on Diploma, Pioneer, Stella, Victory etc).Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the label scan
A pair of records produced for
the cycle manufacturing company of the same name, of Nottingham, dating
from 1909 & 1910. Columbia manufactured them for Rena Records. They are
numbered 999 and 1000 and all four sides are by comedian Harry Fay.
Thanks to Norman Field for the label scan
|Radio||Edison Bell's entry into the lucrative 8" disc market came in 1928 with Radio records. The first issues made no mention of "Edison Bell" on the label. The records were described as "The Big 8" and cost 1/3. It was a high-quality product aimed at the popular market. Ex-music hall artist, Harry Hudson, was musical director and provided most of the dance music under a variety of pseudonyms. In 1931, the gold-on-blue colour scheme was almost reversed and it became black-on-gold, but time was running out and the label ceased to be in 1932. The catalogue numbers started at 800 and reached just over 1600 at the end, though 1000-1200 weren't used (at least in Britain). Continental series usually had a prefix and were printed with a dark blue-on-violet label with the same design as the usual British ones. All were recorded and made in Britain. Matrix numbers were in an 80000-series.|
"Local" record company cased in
London's West End. This example dates from 1950.
|Redwing||A pretty obscure label, Redwing was produced by British Homophone, using matrices also issued on Sterno. The label was presumably made for a shop or store, but I don't know which one, if so. The catalogue numbers are in an R-1000 series, the extent of which is also unknown to me at present.|
Regal started as a
budget product made by Columbia Records and introduced in May 1914
costing 1/6, rising to 3/- in 1918, before falling to 2/6 in September
1921. It remained at this price until 1931 when it reverted to 1/6. The
label colour was initially red, changing to magenta fairly early on. The
catalogue series started in a G-6000 range, reaching G-9473 before
changing to MR-1 in 1930. A few 12" Regals were issued in a G-1000
series. The label was taken over by EMI in 1932 as part of their
purchase of Columbia, when they merged the two cheaper labels of Regal
and Zonophone (see below), by which time the numbering had reached
A complete listing of Regal issues has been published by the CLPGS.
|Regal Zonophone||Regal Zonophone was the result of EMI's amalgamation of their two cheaper labels in January 1933, at which time the catalogue numbering was at MR-745. Initially there was a mixture of the last few Zonophone masters (in an 0Y-series), but generally the CAR-series started under Columbia's ownership was used right up until the label's demise in November 1949, by which time the catalogue numbers had reached MR-3819. Many American masters were used, initially from US Columbia, but later from Bluebird. Initially the label was a rather bright green and red, but subsequently the green was darkened (see example) and it was a very attractive label. In February 1935, the price was reduced to 1/- and the colour changed to just plain red with gold printing. As is usual with red labels, the gold printing was apt to wear off. The price increased to 1/3 in March 1937 then back up to 1/6 in September 1937.|
Dating from the early 1920s, Regent
issued some Regal masters in a PC-1 series catalogue.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for providing the label photo.
A rather anonymous label with no artist
credits or catalogue numbers, Regentone records used masters also
available on John Bull, taken from Beka masters.
|Rena||The Rena Manufacturing Company was formed in 1908 by Louis Sterling & N. M. Rodkinson. Rena records first appeared in December 1908, costing 1/- and manufactured by Columbia, using their own matrices. The label was gold-on-brown with a catalogue series starting at 1001. The Columbia matrix number was suppressed and only an R- or S- series control number shown. The design subsequently changed to gold-on-blue and in November 1909, Columbia took the company over, retaining the same design, and continuing the 1000-series catalogue numbering. In 1910, the label name changed to Columbia-Rena, the Rena name being dropped for good in 1915, the catalogue number having reached 2584 (the last Columbia-Rena issue).|
Not to be confused
with Crystalate's popular 1930s records, nor with the American disc
record of pre-1920, the original Rex record was a
British product dating from about 1909. The label is red with black
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan.
|Rex||"The King Of Records" first appeared in September 1933. It was a quality record at a cheap price (1/-) produced by Crystalate and sold in Marks & Spencer's stores. The catalogue series started at 8001, reaching over 10220 by February 1948 when the last ones appeared. An Irish series sported a suitably green label and a U-series catalogue. The matrix series started (for some reason) at F-500. American masters from ARC were liberally used, generally under pseudonyms such as Hollywood Dance Orchestra or Ed Lloyd and his Band (for dance records). Jay Wilbur was the studio director, but top name bands were also featured, such as Jack Payne, Charlie Kunz, Billy Cotton, Brian Lawrance and Jack Simpson. In March 1937, Decca took over Crystalate and the F- matrix series changed to R- with the same numbering.|
|Rexophone (sold in Australia)||
Homophone in Germany
manufactured Rexophone records for the Australian market, prior to WWI.
Both 10" and 12" sizes were made. The initial labels were plain green
with gold printing, changing to a black label with a coloured picture
(similar in style to "Winner") in 1914. Following the outbreak of WWI,
Edison Bell took over production, which continued until about 1917.
Thanks to Adam Miller for providing the label scan.
Robeyphone Grand records were sold by Chas. T. Robey of
Coventry along with Gramophones of the same make and needles.
The records used "Jumbo" (i.e. Odeon) masters in the Lxo- series.
Thanks to Adam Miller for providing the label scan.
(sold in Australia)
Made in Germany by
Homophone, for the Australian market, these records date from
immediately before WWI.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Thanks to Adam Miller for providing the label scan.
(sold in Australia)
|This was a paste-over label on old stock of Columbia & Regal records, sold in Australia.|
(by Homophone) label exported to Britain prior to WWI. There are two versions of the
label, but the English-titled ones use a catalogue series in the E-1
|Russell||An very rare label, only in production for 3 or 4 months during late summer 1908. It was made by F.M. Russell & Co Ltd, of The Junction Works, Willesden, London. There were only eighteen 10" and fifteen 12" discs altogether and few people have seen them since ! The 10" discs had an A-prefixed catalogue number, and the 12" ones a B-series.|
Savana records were
made for Rose, Morris and Company and appear to date, musically, from
1925-27. They were available in 5½", 6" & 10" sizes. The
10" use Crystalate (Imperial) masters and cost 2/- each. The others
use (Edison) Bell masters or (again) Crystalate ones. The label
designs were identical for all sizes. The 10" used a 1500 series
catalogue, the smaller ones use a 3-digit number.
|Scala||Scala records first appeared in Britain in 1911, part of the cheap German import invasion which helped drive prices down at the time. They used mainly Beka masters at the time, and a catalogue series starting at 1. Following the end of the war, Scala had reached (nearly?) 1200, at which point it was aligned with Coliseum, and for the next 156 issues the two labels issued the same material on the same catalogue numbers (though using different pseudonyms). Scala continued then from 360 (i.e. dropping the leading '1',) with the label design as shown, right and by now made by Vocalion. The series reached 822 by 1927, when Vocalion ceased to to contract 10" pressings, to concentrate on their 8" Broadcast records.|
|Scala Ideal||This label was produced between 1923 and 1927 and the master pool is similar to the Grafton label (q.v.). Early issues use Federal and Emerson masters from America. Then subsequently, Pathe provided the source material. The catalogue numbers were in a 7000-series and there were just over 200 different records produced in the 4-year period. The records cost 1s 6d.|
|Shamrock||This is obviously an Irish label, the example I have here dates from the late 1920s. Thanks to research undertaken by Bill Dean Myatt, It has now been established that the masters used on this label were from Edison Bell (J.E. Hough Ltd).|
|Siemens||The was a one-off record to advertise SIemens' Opal and Pearl light bulbs. There's a certain amount of mystery about the record, but I would assume it was given away, probably at an exhibition. Although the record is not rare, I've never seen a copy in a special sleeve. The mystery is that it has a catalogue number, which you wouldn't expect for a special issue. The record is of the "unbreakable" format, probably made by Worldecho or Duophone (both q.v.). The band, however, has a Piccadilly label sound to it, so maybe it was a contract recording.|
A British-made label dating
from WWI, probably made at the Lindstrom works in Hertford. The masters
are believed to mainly from Lindstrom (i.e. Beka) and the label carries
the patents of Odeon Records, who were part of the same group of
companies at the time.
In the early 1930s, a second Silvertone record appeared very briefly. This was an 8" record produced by British Homophone for sale in Selfridge's stores, using masters from their Plaza label. The label tells us they were specially selected by Christopher Stone. The records had a catalogue number series starting at S-1, but the series was very short-lived. In fact, I can only trace 3 records:
|Simcha||A short-lived label available in the early 1930s, Simcha drew its masters from Piccadilly, including some American Grey Gull items. Simcha is a Hebrew word meaning Joy or Gladness and is pronounced "Simka" (i.e. with the -ch- pronounced as a -K-.). The records were presumably made for a shop or store, but I don't know which one. The catalogue numbers are in a 10000-series and just over 50 were produced.|
|Sirena Grand||See SYRENA GRAND|
A very obscure
regional label dating from the WWI period. The labels of
"Smith" records are subtitled "The Phono King" and
hence probably refers to an early record shop. The address on the label
is 262, Bramall Lane & Sheaf Market, Sheffield. They were pressed
from Grammavox masters and had no catalogue numbers, just using the
matrix numbers to refer to each side in a similar manner to German
records of the period.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a colour label scan
|Solex||British Homophone made Solex records. They were initially an 8" disc with a very fine groove, allowing playing time equal to a 10" disc, without getting too near the label. Solex was BH's first 8" disc, being available in 1930 & 1931. Catalogue numbers started logically at 1 and ran to about 70. In 1935, BH revivied the name for a short-lived 10" disc with a catalogue series starting at SX-101.|
One of the many
pre-WWI labels pressed in Germany for the British market using masters
from J. Blum & Co and possibly Polyphon.
There are two series, possibly using two difference sources for masters
A very short-lived
and early disc record which appeared in 1907 for a few months, Sovereign
were 10" double-sided and used Nicole masters. The labels state
they were made by the British Sonogram Company.
A rather obscure
pre-WWI record label. In fact, there may be two labels, but I don't know
if there is any link between them. One was pressed by Edison Bell using
their "Bell" masters and the other was a product of the Sound
Recording Company. Both companies were using 10¼" masters at the
time. There was another Standard label (shown here also) which was
pressed by Crystalate using masters also available on their Imperial
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records.
One of the many
labels pressed by Edison Bell in the years before WWI.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Thanks to Rainer Lotz for providing the label scan.
|The Stars||The Stars Record was a pre-WWI record made in Germany which used Polyphon masters. Sometimes the label is just a "paste-over" on existing Polyphon or Heraldic records. The reference on the label to "Star artists" may be the first reference to the word "Star" meaning "celebrity".|
A cheap record
(costing 1/1) produced by the Sound Recording Co in 1913. This
record was announced in the trade press at the time (along with the
monochrome image shown here), but no records have yet been seen in
Britain; maybe they were for export only?
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan
Thanks to Joe Moore for providing the inage shown here.
Yet another pre-WWI
record produced for J. Blum & Co. Like Diploma, this one used masters
from the German Kalliope company.
judging by surviving examples, the company ran into copyright
problems with the name and it is rare to find an Stella-Gramophone Record (to give it
its full name) which hasn't been "amended". Some have the word
"Gramophone" scratched out, and other have a label printed
with "Victory" stuck over the word "Stella". The
catalogue numbers have various prefixes, such as A- and C-, followed by
a 1, 2 or 3-digit number. The label name was subsequently changed to
Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for providing the label photo.
|Sterno||Sterno records were produced by the British Homophone Company between 1926 and 1935 as a cheaper equivalent of their Homochord label. The first Sternos are very rare and were recorded & produced by the Gramophone Company to a very high standard. Subsequent records were recorded by BH Co for Sterno and vary enormously in recording quality and surface noise. Almost all used British masters, and later many good dance bands recorded for Sterno, but they sold poorly.|
A 6" disc
produced by the Gramophone Company in the mid-1920s, using the same
masters as "Homo Baby" and "Dixy". Sterno Baby is
somewhat rarer than either, with a catalogue series in a 1000 range,
running from 1001 to 1015. The recordings are all acoustic and the dance
records are played by an orchestra and in a style more suited to playing
overtures and marches.
A label scan and a scan of an original sleeve would be gratefully received !
Here is a full
listing, based on the research of Frank Andrews and the late Arthur
This was a
Russian-produced label made for Export to Britain in and around WWI.
Sometimes spelled "SIRENA"
Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for providing the label photo.