Early to Mid Twenties
Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co.

Purple Line

BRN: If the label name sounds familiar, you may well be a bowler or pool shark! This is indeed the same company that to this day still manufactures bowling balls as well as bowling alley hardware. Not to mention billiard balls. But in the late teens, they branched into phonographics as well. They manufactured their own line of phonographs, including a special model with a flip reproducer for playing both lateral and vertically cut disks, like the "Hill-and-Dale" Edison, Pathe' and early OKehs. In producing their own records, they featured primarily pop and jazz with some classical and vocals, but in the later twenties they branched out into country western, ("Hillbilly" as it was known then) and "Race" records, (ie. Black entertainment). This is an example of their early twenties product, with one of their more famous personalities.

Many of the record labels of the roaring twenties were almost works of art, and these early Brunswicks are no exception. Three color jobs were not uncommon, and the black background of this style was sometimes purple, green or blue. The latter two being mainly for classical and vocals, VERY popular owing to the fact that the human voice was one of those sounds that recorded very well with acoustic methods used in those days. "Traditional" jazz instruments also sounded good, (heavy on the brass & woodwinds) which is one of the main reasons for jazz's rapid acceptance into 1920s popular culture. This label is another one of those 78s that were in reality 80s. The promotional material and record sleeves expressly state that these disks were meant to be played at 80 rpm. Later in the decade, they standardized at 78 with most everyone else.

As the 1920s wore on and the stock market crashed, almost all record companies, (those who didn't go bankrupt!) went to single color labels. Brunswick made use of a simple gold-on-black color scheme. The designs were modified to fit the subject matter. The "Race" records went with the "spiffy" lightning bolt design, while the popular music relied on the "cultured" scroll work.

The quality of these early Brunswicks are not nearly a good as Victors or Columbias of the same period, but the music soars above the background hiss! The main reason for 80 rpm playback and recording was to increase fidelity, since more "data" is stored the faster the needle moves through the groove. The trade-off is recording time, the songs had to be shorter to fit on the standard ten inch disk.

Purple Line

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