This weeks ‘mystery object’ is named after the popular Cardiff born musical master and actor, and celebrates the highest merit and success awarded to writers in the music industry. If you’ve worked out what it is we’d love to hear from you.
…………...extra house points if you can work out the year, artist and Christmas song by writer’s Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Stachan who recieved this prestigious award!
Congratulations to Rob de Bie, Rolf Christian Holth Olsen and David Jameswho correctly identified this weeks mystery object – Mae Starr by Universal Talking Toys Company – U.S.A, 1930.
Talking Doll – Mae Starr by Universal Talking Toys Company U.S.A – 1930. Part of the EMI Group Archive Trust Collection
Mae Starrwas made by the Universal Talking Toys Co., and uses the Averill Manufacturing Company’s cylinder phonograph motor. The cylinder mechanism is housed in a well constructed tin-plate housing at the back of the doll. the sound is directed out of the front of the chest. A small lever starts the motor and positions the stylus on the beginning of the cylinder, whilst a crank is used on the thigh to wind the mechanism. All of the dolls that used this type of mechanism used blue, 2 3/16 inch diameter, and 1 ¼ inch long cylinders.
This doll has celluloid arms, legs and head. Her body is cloth and stuffed, and has the metal cylinder holder in her back and a metal lined hole in her chest where the sound comes out. On her side is a hand crank. Mae’s eyes open and with brunette human hair wig. This particular doll stands 26 2/4 inches tall and comes with two original cylinders.
Mae Starr talking doll by Universal Talking Toys Company – Courtesy of the EMI Group Archive Trust Collection. Film courtesy of thegirlofmusic1– ‘Mae Starr Phonograph Doll – Nursery Rhyme: One, Two.’
Congratulations to Martyn Dowel, Rolf Christian Holth Olsen and Robert Spencer who all correctly identified this weeks mystery object – The Auxetophone designed by the British engineer Sir Charles Parsons.
This Auxetophone is in the ‘Queen Anne’ Style with a highly polished mahogany cabinet with panelled doors and cabriole legs. It has a triple-spring spiral-drive motor, 12″ turntable, speed indicator, tapering tone-arm with gooseneck, auxetophone soundbox, and a mahogany grained Flaxite horn. Courtesy of the EMI Group Archive Trust collection
The Auxetophone was perhaps the most effective attempt, prior to the development of electrical amplification in the 1920’s, of increasing volume. Invented in 1904, it used air pressure to enhance the vibrations of a specially-designed reproducer valve. An electrically-powered blower inside the cabinet forced air through the tubing along the tone arm and through the special reproducer, enormously increasing the volume. The machine did not sell particularly well, in part due to price, and in part due to the fact that it was not well suited to home use (it was extremely loud and meant for mass public consumption).The sales literature promoted its use in “large residences,” and the market was thus largely restricted to commercial applications such as dance halls and theatres.
Austrian soprano – Amy Eliza Castles – 1917 (1880-1951)
A ‘Grand Gramophone Concert’ was given at the Royal Albert Hall on 14th December 1906, about which The Daily Mail wrote; ‘ Many ladies were visibly affected when Madame Patti or rather the gramophone sang ‘Home Sweet Home’. The rendering recalled in a startling manner her singing at the same hall on the occasion of her farewell concert a few days ago….The most effective example of what the gramophone can do was demonstrated immediately after Miss Amy Castles had sung in person as her encore was a repetition of the song on the gramophone itself’.
Congratulations to Rolf Christian Holth Olsen who correctly identify this weeks mystery object – TheLioretograph Model 2 phonogragh –created by the Parisian watchmaker Henri Lioret in 1898.
Lioretograph Model 2 part of the EMI Group Archive Trust Collection
This particular model – The Lioretograph Model 2 – came in a fitted case dating from 1899/1900. Lioret used his watchmaker’s knowledge to create a machine with a curious mixture of high-class clock work motors coupled with wire and cardboard for the acoustic mechanism.
On the front flap of the case are instructions for use in French, the rest of the case interior is finished in a green cloth. A compartment to the left of the case contains cylinders housed in cardboard boxes (6 x 2m cylinders).
The reproducer is made form cardboard with spring-tension to the mica diaphragm and a series of graduated cardboard rings inside the drum-shaped body, leading to a short celluloid conical horn.
Unlike Columbia and Edison phonographs, the Lioretograph had no feedscrew, and its celluloid and brass 2 minute cylinders were held by a split taper-pin.
We know how our Hound readers like little quirky stories – so when our eagle eyed EMI archivist saw the 200th episode of Big Bang with Adam West she remembered the pics of him held deep in the EMI vault!
Courtesy of EMI Archive – Adam West as Batman in London!
The record was on Target ….which we think was licensed to EMI. We’d love to hear from our Hound readers on any Adam/Batman related stories.
The Story of Batman – Adam Batman West 1976
Courtesy of EMI Archive – Adam West is Batman on UK tour 1976
Photo courtesy of BBC People’s History of Pop
Episode one sees Twiggy unearth pop treasures including a recording of John Lennon’s first-ever recorded performance with his band The Quarrymen, at a fete in Liverpool on the day he met Paul McCartney for the first time – which viewers will see Twiggy with David Hughes – Chair of EMI Group Archive Trust – listening to at the legendary Abbey Road studios.
Quarrymen tape recorder courtesy of the EMI Group Archive Trust.