|EDISON DIAMOND DISC
Thomas Edison released the Diamond Disc in 1913 after three years of development. It is a quarter of an inch thick, vertically cut (recorded hill-and-dale as against lateral), and rotated at 80rpm. The early records had no paper labelss - the details were etched into the record and near impossible to read unless held at the right angle to the light. In 1920, a plain black text on white label was introduced. The strobe-like markings on the perimeter of some labels was not, in fact, a strobe card. The last Edison recording session took place on 19 October 1929, in New York. Rust [R] writes of these final discs:,"They were greeted with accolades in the press, barely justified. The quality of the recording is reasonable but not outstanding, the surfaces likewise. The repertoire offered nothing to excite the discerning music lover". And indeed:, "The Edison repertoire over the thirty-odd years of its existence was rarely anything special". Of jazz there is little to be found - Charles A. Matson's Creole Serenaders is not one known by jazz buffs, nor Billy Hamilston's Kings of Harmony. But The Origianl memphis Five, and Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra, were recorded. And to Edison must go credit for being the first to record Sergei Rachmaninoff on his arrival in the USA, an excile from his revolutionary-torn country of Russia. The great composer-pianist made ten sides in four sessions in a week, in April 1919. (After that, he recorded for Victor). Perhaps Edison's major contribution in recorded sounds was that of his recordings of famous voices, such as those of poets Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning, Sir Arthur Sullivan narrating, Johannes Brahms , Florence Nightingale, Mark Twain, Queen Victoria and William Ewart Gladstone. (Browning was apparently so overcome with the novelty and strangeness of the recording process that he forgot the words to his own poem.)
Note that these Edison Diamond Discs required a special reproducer to be played, the main difference with that of a standard 78rpm player being the speed, but more importantly the sound-box, which lay horizontal and hinged so that it followed the hill and dale recorded surface. It is interesting to note that whereas quite a few Edison Diamond Disc cabinets have survived, a genuine soundbox itself is a rareity - they were generally disposed of and replaced with a lateral playback soundbox when the Diamond Disc lost popularity, nevermind the slight difference in rotational speed.
Labels were either black on white, or etched directly into the wax. The following ‘type' of disc is my own description; there are no official ‘types' of disc.
EDISON. LABEL TYPE
EDISON. LABEL TYPE
LABEL TYPE (C).
EDISON RECORD. LABEL
EDISON RECORD. LABEL
E001 c3 EDISON - TYPE (A)
80603-L (6334). LITTLE MOTHER OF MINE
Thomas Chalmers. Baritone with Orchestra.
80603-R (5978) MY DREAMS (Tosti). Ralph Errolle.
Tenor with Orchestra.
E002 c3 EDISON - TYPE (B)
2522-B-12-6. A PERFECT DAY (Carrie Jacobs, Bond).
Mixed voices with Orchestra. Metropolitan Quartet.
2455-B-11-19. SOMEWHERE A VOICE IS CALLING
(Arthur F. Tate) Soprano and Baritone With Orchestra .
Elizabeth Spencer and Vernon Archibald.
E003 sc3 EDISON RE-CREATION - TYPE (C)
51027-L (8521) FIFTH NOCTURNE (J.Leybach).
Piano Solo, Victor Young.
51027-R (8520) VALSE CAPRICE (R.A.Newland).
E004 sc3 EDISON RECORD - TYPE (D).
51770-L (11018) WHEN THE RED, RED ROBIN
COMES BOB, BOB, BOBBIN' ALONG (Harry Woods)
Frank Braidwod (The Cowboy Baritone). Irwin Dash
at the Piano.
51770-R (11017) IT'S TOO LATEE TO BE SORRY NOW
(Joe Verges, Henri Therrian & Irwin LaClaire.) Ibid.
E007 c3 EDISON RECORD - TYPE (E)
51362-l (9575). I'LL KEEP ON DREAMING
(Until My Dreams All Come True) ( Ernest Cutting,
Harry Archer) Fox Trot and Song
Fox Trot by the Merry Sparklers. Song by George
51362-R (9581) YOU'LL NEVER GET TO HEAVEN
WITH THOSE EYES. (James V.Monaco)
Fox Trot and Song. Fox Trot by Atlantic Dance Orchestra.
Song by Billy Jones.