Columbia Records, 1901-1934: A History

Table of Contents

Columbia Master Book, Volume I, Tim Brooks, author.

There is a shrine, somewhere, to Thomas A. Edison and his “favorite invention,” the phonograph.1 The Victor Talking Machine Company and its founder, Eldridge R Johnson, rate a museum in Delaware. Thanks in no small part to that clever painting of a puzzled terrier peering into the horn of an old phonograph seeking “His Master’s Voice,” the Victor legend has spread far and wide.

There was, however, a third company completing the triumvirate that dominated the record business in the early 1900s. Far from forgotten, this company “grew up” to become the preeminent marketer of recordings in the U.S. today. For a variety of reasons, Columbia has been less studied by scholars, and less loved by collectors, than Edison and Victor. This book seeks to redress this imbalance by documenting the company’s earliest disc recordings. In this section we will trace the company’s corporate history, look at its recording program, disc numbering, and physical characteristics of its products, and finally offer biographical sketches of Columbia executives.

Table of Contents:

Back to Introduction: Columbia Master Book, Volume I | Forward to Introduction to Columbia Corporate History

Columbia Master Book Table of Contents | Columbia History | Tables | Appendices

The Columbia Master Book Discography, 4 Volumes, Complied by Brian Rust and Tim Brooks. Reprinted by permission.