78 rpm Record Labels - Columbia
The two test pressings below (white labels) are of the same record - I have two sets. This comes from a two record set (12") and is of the "The First International Crepitation Contest." The first one has the typical "Test Pressing" label. The other, for some reason, was given a blank white label. It is a Columbia because the matrix numbers are the same for all 4 sides for both sets - in the form of xx-1 through xx-4. These are from mid to late 40s. This classic farting contest is announced by Sidney S. Brown, a well known CBC sports announcer in Canada.
Below is an 11" test pressing. It has the following information inscribed into the lead-in wax "(Bauer) Trial 61793 Mr. Philip Buscemi 182 State St. Springfield, MA 8/6/17." The matrix number of 61793 falls in line with the known matrix number block for Columbia for test and personal pressings in this timeframe. I do not know if this was issued. Click on the image to hear it. It's very rough as it has a bad crack running through it and was recorded using a Victrola rather than electrically.
The Harper-Columbia children's record. In 1917 Columbia struck a deal with Harper & Brothers to produce "Bubble Books." As the record indicates these are a "book that sings." The records go along with the book. This particular record dates from 1919 and belongs to book number 9. For a complete history of these go to the links page and click on the Little Wonder and Bubble Books link.
Labels compiled from the collection of Glenn Longwell. Page last updated on March 7, 2010
Please email if you have questions, corrections or comments on anything you see. Thanks.
This is a very interesting test pressing - to me at least!. It is "Comes Love" by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra. It is a single sided, 10 3/4" record. The label shows this as the American Record Corporation of California but this record was commercialized under the Columbia name. According to records this was recorded on August 10, 1939. On January 1, 1939 the sale of ARC (which owned the rights to the Columbia record line) to CBS was complete and the popular red label "microphone" Columbia series would begin in September 1939. From the discography of this new red label series this became the first catalog number - 35201. With a matrix number beginning in "LA" that means it was recorded in California and interesting to see they were still using ARC labels for the test pressings.
With the purchase of ARC by CBS the Columbia name was revitalized and a new "microphone" label was introduced. This would endure from 1939-1958. Here there are various examples. Mostly they go from having three lines of patent dates to two to one. However, the first record has a notation "Produced by Master Records, Inc." and the third one notes this as a "Fitch Bandwagon Special" which was a radio show on NBC. Other examples include a Hall of Fame Series (introduced in 1956), a Canadian pressing (green), Masterworks (green and blue), a Masterworks example from a special 4 record set call "The Confederacy" from the 1950s, a black and grey series (unknown to me what these are for), and two versions of the Sacred Series (purple).
Below is a "Columbia Reference Recording" from 1947.
Below are three examples of Columbia DJ records.
Below are three examples of Columbia Children's records.
Finally, some international labels for which I have only a few examples - including France, Japan, England (2), Italy, Greece and Brazil. The first six are variants of the Viva-Tonal style label and the last two from Brazil which are the the microphone label and Magic Notes label.
This Red Cross record with Margaret Woodrow Wilson is from 1914. The sale of the record would give her royalty of 25 cents to the Red Cross.
Columbia Dance Record. This is another demonstration record from the teens. The text says it is being "...offered to you only through a special arrangement with the newspaper under the conditions advertised." The side shown is the song Kentucky Babe but the other side are instructions for the Maxixe dance that are said to have accompanying instructions. I don't have the sleeve but presumably that's where they were. Anyone know? Based on the matrix number of the Maxixe side I believe this is from 1914.
Instructional and personal records. Columbia aggressively went after pressing personal, private, instructional, promotional and educational records. Here are a few examples. First is the 1923 pressing of Emile Coue's self help methods. Next is Bird Songs from 1927 by Edward Avis. Next is a Personal Record of the Princeton Triangle Club Jazz Band. This was recorded in May, 1924. Last is a personal record of J.A. Hultman. Date is probably between 1913-1915.
Using a similar style label Columbia eventually removed the Viva-Tonal statement. This ran from 1932-1939. Late 1932 is when they issued, for a time, their royal blue records and eventually went to all blue labels as well. However, in 1936 they also went to all capital letters for their name. Below are six examples of this later period. Differences come from color and where they place the "Not Licensed for Radio Broadcast" statement and patent/copyright info. The last two examples are from their Masterworks series.