Here's a #TechTuesday treat - a 1929 catalog from the Victor Talking Machine Division of the RCA-Victor Corporation of America.
In 1895, Emile Berliner (1851-1929) and a group of investors started the Berliner Gramophone Company. Berliner's design improved on the phonograph invented by Thomas Edison (1847-1931) in 1877 as it allowed for ease of duplication from a master recording, but the hand-cranked gramophone could not maintain constant speed and pitch while playing.
In 1896, Eldridge Reeves Johnson (1867-1945), a machinist from Camden, New Jersey, developed a spring motor for the Berliner gramophone and began to produce motors, sound boxes and metal parts for Berliner Gramophone. In 1900, when Emile Berliner began facing legal difficulties, Johnson decided to adopt a brand name and distribute his own gramophones under the Consolidated Talking Machine Company name.
The Consolidated Talking Machine Company proved to be short-lived. In 1901, Johnson and Berliner combined the power of their patent holdings and and Berliner's "His Master's Voice" trademark into one corporation; the the Victor Talking Machine Company.
The Victor Talking Machine Company increased in success by signing Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) and John Phillip Sousa (1854-1932) among others to recording contracts, by introducing the Victrola with its enclosed horn in 1906, and by improving recording technology. The company continued to expand into the 1920s, when sales began to flatten with the popularity of radio.
In 1929, the Radio Corporation of America purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company to form the Radio-Victor Corporation of America, which manufactured radios and phonographs from the Victor Talking Machine's headquarters in Camden, New Jersey under various RCA-related names and parent companies.
Although RCA moved its main laboratories to Princeton in 1942 and shifted most manufacturing to Indianapolis after the second World War, the company continued to operate sites in Camden under a variety of corporate subsidiary names until General Electric acquired RCA in 1986. In the years after 1986, RCA's former operations in Camden were relocated or closed down.
This item is call number Trade Cat .R13885 1929a in Hagley Library's published collections.