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ZONOPHONE

British Zonophone Company Ltd. International Zonophone Company.

‘Zonophone' indicates the British label; Zon-O-Phone is the American pressing. I have no examples of the USA recordings. All examples here are British or Australian.

The history of the Zonophone label is a complicated one, and we must be grateful to Brian Rust for his analysis of the label and its development on both sides of the Atlantic. I am sure that the deceit and criminal deception that surrounds the label and its perpetuators would make a great mini-series but alas it will not be done unless some romantic intrigue can be included! The history of the label is closely linked with Emile Berliner and the ‘His Master's Voice' label, and involves complicated injunctions and court proceedings to prevent Berliner from manufacturing his own records, under his own patents, in the USA. I can do not better than plagiarize Brian Rust [R} who puts it so bluntly. "When Emile Berliner's double-dealing agent (in the USA), Frank Seaman, seceded from the business in 1899, he set about building a business of his own. Using his knowlege of Berliner's products, he openly touted a machine and discs that were almost exact replicas of Berliner's." Seaman secured an injunction preventing Berliner from making his own product in the USA, and Seaman, through his Universal Talking Machine Company (a subsidiary of Seaman's National Gramophone Corporation), manufactured records that were structly speaking under Berliner's patents. "By 1903, Seaman abd his National Gramophone Corporation, together with the Zon-O-Phone name he had used for them, were absorbed by the Victor Talking Machine Company in the United States, and overseas by Victor's European associates, the Gramophone and Typewriter and sister companies". 

We now cross the Atlantic to the British side and consider the Zonophone label. Rust [R] has a good description of the various labels. It started ff as a single sided 7-inch disc, then 10-inch and twelve inch. The label was plain green, and existed from, I think, from the takeover in 1903. The next label, released in October 1908, was ‘The Twin', double-sided, in a buff or oche colour with brown or dark green lettering - I have no example of this. In June 1911 this was replaced with ‘The Twin' as shown, of green with gold lettering. In 1920, the two cherubs of the ‘The Twin' motif were replaced with the HMV design of Nipper and the gramophone which lasted just over three years. In 1924 Nipper was replaced by a circle containing the words Zonophone at right-angles to each other,  and two scrolled letters either side of ‘Z' and ‘R' refering to Zonophone Record. In 1926 the word ‘record' was no longer used and only ‘Zonophone' appeared on the upper perimeter of the label. This label remained till the merger with Regal (qv) in 1930 when the label became Regal Zonophone. There were however other special labels produced before the merger, namely the Zonophone Grand Opera Record, the Zonophone Celebrity Record, the Zonophone Patriotic Record, and a Zonophone Coronation Record as a special release of the coronation of King George V in 1910. 

Note: Although the reproductions of labels shown here do not make it clear, ‘The Twin' and Grand Opera records had a ‘watermark' background of the word Zonophone, in capitals, at right-angle across two diameters.  Note also ‘International Zonophone Company' - not sure when this company came into being but judging by the matrix number, it could have existed simultaneously with the British Zonophone Company Ltd. Again again, note the Australian-released label. 

Rust [R] notes that Zonophone is a much sought after label by dance-band and jazz collectors "because of the suprerb sides recorded in England by Anglo-American bands - he names several. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
R015 sc4 ZONOPHONE RECORD British Zonophone 
Company Ltd.
 X-2-42054  OUR JACK'S COME HOME (Devers)
 Mr Peter Dawson With Orchestra Accompanimeent. 
London.   [Single sides, motif ‘Zonophone' embossed on
other side.]  Recorded before 1908.


R018  sc2 ZONOPHONE RECORD International 
Zonophone Comp.
X42758 BROWN EYES    Alan Turner. Tenor, English, 
with Orchestral Accompaanimeent. London. 
[Reverse has embossed crossed word ‘Zonophone'. 
With original Zonophone sleeve.


L077  sc2 ZONOPHONE RECORD  - THE TWIN 
Product of the British Zonophohne Co. Ltd., England.
1608 (X-3-42600).  PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES 
IN YOUR OLD KIT-BG (Flexi Powell). Sung by 
Harry Fay, (English commedian) with Orchestral 
accompaniment.
1608 (X-3-42601).  I GOTTA GET WELL
(H.Darewski)  Ibid. This label recorded from 1911.
 

O027 sc2 ZONOPHONE RECORD  
Manufactured for The British Zonophone Co.Ltd by The Gramophone Co.Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex. England.
3427 (X-2-956).  I LOVE HER, SHE LOVES ME (Irving Caesar).  Zez Confret and His Orchestra.
3427 (X-22-952).  PICK ME UP AND LAY ME DOWN IN DEAR OLD DIXIELAND (Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby). Club Royal Orchestra.
This label recorded from 1920, till 1924.
 
 

O028 sc5 ZONOPHONE RECORD
Manufactured for The British Zonophone Co.Ltd by 
The Gramophone Co.Ltd, Hayes, Middlesex. England.
3852 (4-914).  WHEN IT'S LOVE TIME IN HAWAII  (B.heagney).  Marimba Orchestra.
3852 (4-915).  DOWN HAWAII WAY  (B.Heagney). Ibid. [With original Zonophone sleeve].
Note: This is an Australian release. The label was issued from 1924, till 1926 when the word ‘Record' was removed. 

V227 c3+ ZONOPHONE   Record manufaactured for The British Zonophone Co. Ltd., by The Gramophone Co.Ltd, Sydney, NSW.
EE150 (112281) MY OLD PAL (McWilliams, Rodgers)
Jimmie Rodgers. Vocal with Guitar.
EE150 (112282) DADDY AND HOME (McWilliams, Rodgers).  Ibid.[With original Zonophone sleeve.]
This label, with the single word ‘Zonophone', was released in 1926. 
 

R019  sc2  ZONOPHONE GRAND OPERA RECORD International Zonophone Company
X-44130.  DUET FROM ;DON GIOVANNI'.
Miss Alvena Yarrow & Mr Peter dawson.. With Orchestral Accompanimeent.
[Reverse has embossed crossed word ‘Zonophone'.]

R014  c3 ZONOPHONE GRAND OPERA RECORD British Zonophone Company Ltd.
X-44123 HOME TO OUR MOUNTAINS  - "IL TROVATORE"
Madame Violetta and Mr Ernest Pike with Grand Opera Orchestra, London. Opera, in English.
[Single sided].

CELEBRITY RECORD

L111  c3+ ZONOPHONE CELEBRITY RECORD  [British]
G.O.12  (X-42917).  TOREADOR SONG from 'Carmen'.  (Bizet).  Mr Peter Dawson with Quartette. London.
G.O.12 (X-44118).   SOLENNE IN QUEST 'ORA  (Verdi).  From 'La Forza del Destino'.
Messrs Ernest Pike and Peter Dawson. London.


L123 c3 ZONOPHONE CELEBRITY RECORD  Manufactured for the British Zonophone Company Ltd., by The Gramophone Co. Ltd., Hayes, Middlesex, England.
GO34).  THE HEART BOWED DOWN.  Sung by Mr Robert Radford.
GO34).  O RUDDIER THAN THE CHERRY  Ibid.

PUZZLE PLATE

A ‘puzzle plate' is a record that has more than one grove on each side. In this instance, there are three grooves per side; when the needle drops, any one of the three grooves could be picked up. See also SC004 - same disc but more colourful label.


R016  sc3 ZONOPHONE PATRIOTIC RECORD
Puzzle Plate, English.
Serial 598 (X-49331) GOD SAVE THE KING (Solo and Chorus)
RULE BRITANNIA (Solo and Chorus)
THE BRITISH GRENADIERS (Black Diamonds Band)
Serial 598 (X-49330) CORONATION MARCH (Black Diamonds Band)
GOD BLESS THE PRINCE OF WALES (Solo and Chorus)
HEARTS OF OAK (Solo and Chorus)

SC004  sc3+  ZONOPHONE CORONATION RECORD
Puzzle Plate, English.
Serial 598 (X-49331) GOD SAVE THE KING (Solo and Chorus)
RULE BRITANNIA (Solo and Chorus)
THE BRITISH GRENADIERS (Black Diamonds Band)
Serial 598 (X-49330) CORONATION MARCH (Black Diamonds Band)
GOD BLESS THE PRINCE OF WALES (Solo and Chorus)
HEARTS OF OAK (Solo and Chorus)