Mainspring Press: 78 Record Collectors Books & Resources



American Recording Pioneers / Photo Feature


Rare glimpes inside early recording studios, from the collections of the Edison National Historic Site and the Library of Congress


Billy Jones making a Victor record

Billy Jones in the Victor studio, c. 1920. The negative was marked
"Victor Roberts," a pseudonym that Jones used only on Victor records.


John Young making an Edison record

John Young whose numerous recordings of hymns with partner Frederick J. Wheeler reportedly led comedian Billy Murray to dub them the "Come-to-Jesus Twins" recording a cylinder for Edison in the early 1900s. Note the cloth-draped ceiling, to dampen echoes, and the horned Stroh violins (middle row).(ENHS)


Jacques Urlus making an Edison disc record

Tenor Jacques Urlus recording a disc in Edison's Fifth Avenue studio (New York), 1916. (ENHS)


Thomas Chalmers making an Edison record

Thomas Chalmers in Edison's Fifth Avenue studio, date unknown. (ENHS)


Edison's Columbia Street recording studio, West Orange NJ

Edison staffers George Werner and Fred C. Burt in a Columbia Street recording room in West Orange, New Jersey (January 22, 1917). By this time, the West Orange studio was used primarily for experimental and dubbing work, while regular commercial recording sessions were assigned to the New York studio. (ENHS)


Columbia Orchestra making a Columbia record

The Columbia Orchestra in Columbia's New York studio. Date is unknown,
but the conductor is not Charles Prince, probably dating this photo to
some time after his departure in 1921.


Paul Specht & his Orchestra in the Columbia recording studio

Paul Specht & his Orchestra in Columbia's New York studio, date unknown.
Specht signed with Columbia in 1922, and the Georgians—a jazz unit from
his band—was one of Columbia's best sellers in the early 1920s.

Note the sheet music suspended in mid-air. (LOC)


Nat Shilkret in the Victor recording studio

The International Novelty Orchestra, a Victor house group under the direction of
Nat Shilkret (center, holding baton), after the introduction of
Western Electric equipment.


Billy Murray and microphone

Billy Murray, probably at one of the Victor studios,
in the later 1920s. (LOC)

Photo restorations ©2007 by Allan Sutton; all rights reserved.
Unrestored public-domain versions of these images may be obtained
at the EHNS and Library of Congress websites.

Site © 2008 by MAINSPRING PRESS, LLC. Article © 2008 by Allan Sutton.
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