1926 __ Panatrope : the first all-electric phonograph
‣ Comment : Brunswick-Balke-Collender introduce the first all-electric phonograph. Brunswick expanded his business in 1848 by sending his half-brothers to Chicago to open a sales office and factory. As the company grew, sales offices were opened in New Orleans and St. Louis. [...] The company grew quickly and added new product lines to its business in the 1880s. Brunswick began selling wooden back bars, bowling pins, and bowling balls. Prohibition prompted a drastic change in the products offered by the company. Brunswick suspended its bar-fixtures operations, which accounted for one-fourth of its annual sales, and replaced the operations with automobile tires, the world's first hard-rubber toilet seats, wooden piano cases, and phonograph cabinets. The company was incorporated in 1907. In 1922 the company began producing records under its own label. Musicians such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Benny Goodman, Irene Pavlovska, and Leopold Godowsky recorded on the Brunswick label. The company collaborated with General Electric in an effort to manufacture an all-electric phonograph, called the Panatrope, in 1925. The company had gone public the previous year. The Depression was a difficult period for Brunswick; however, World War II brought a great deal of new business. The company's bowling and billiard products were popular in the United Service Organizations (USO) centers. The company also made war products such as mortar shells, flares, assault boats, fuel cells, floating mines, aircraft instrument panels, and aluminum litters. The postwar years saw fierce competition emerge in the bowling products field. (Lehman Brothers Collection, Twentieth-Century Business Archives, Baker Library, Harvard Business School) — In 1925, Brunswick announced that it would produce a revolutionary new type of phonograph that used vacuum tubes and electricity to amplify phonograph records. The amplifier electronics were designed and supplied to Brunswick by RCA. The Brunswick Panatrope was displayed in concert throughout the United States and created a sensation when demonstrated. The first units were shipped in early 1926 at about the same time as similar machines from Victor. Some of the Panatropes contained only a phonograph, and other models were offered in combination with RCA Radiolas. This particular machine is the phonograph only model and sold for $700 new. (Mullholland Press) — A Brunswick pamphlet in 1917 : « The Brunswick. — The entire object of true eduction is to make people not merely do the right things but enjoy the right things” (John Ruskin) -- What mother is not ambitious to bring up her children to appreciate the finer things of life ? She may not expect to make of them great artists, writers, or musicians, but she knows that it is essential to a broad education to understand and enjoy the good in art, literature, and music. But what she often fails to realize is that children who grow up from infancy in close association with these finer things, unconsciously acquire an understanding and appreciation of them. Particularly is this true of Music, “The Universal Language”. And through the modern phonograph, with properly selected records a musical atmosphere can be created in every home. This, of course, is true of any good phonograph -- but especially so of the Brunswick, because with it there are no restrictions in making up the collection of records. Choose any artist, any composition -- the Brunswick plays at their best the performances of all musicians who have ever given their art to phonographic reproduction. It is ithe new Brunswick method of reproduction that makes its possible to play all records as they never have been played before. There two essentials to correct reproduction. The ULTONA reproduces the vibrations from the record. The All Wood Tone Amplifier rounds out the tones in their full, life-like beauty, without the usual metallic harshness. The ULTONA is not an attachment, but a distinctly new creation -- an essential part of the Brunswick’s new method of reproduction. By a turn of the hand it adapts itself to any of the vastly different types of records. The playing point, the correct position, and the precise degree of pressure needed -- all conditions are met by this amazingly simple device. So think the Brunswick as something more than a pleasure-giving instrument. It is the ideal phonograph for the home, to develop in growing children a love and understanding of all good music. For it plays the music of all artists. And it plays it at its best. ». — Music programme played at the Marlborough hotel, Winnipeg, for introducing the Brunswick Panatrope, on Dec. 6, 1925 (this musical programme listing Brunswick, Columbia and Victor Records) : 1/ Traumerie (Cleveland Symphony Orchestra), 2/ A Dream of Love (Liszt) (Leopold Godowsky), 3/ Memories (Song) (Morten Downey), 4/ Ave Maria (Violin solo) (Arthur Spalding), 5/ Ida-I Do (Fox Trot) (Isham Jones Orchestra) (During the playing of this number, Brunswick Panatrope will be started very softly, gradually working up the maximum volume towards the end, and a portion of this number will afterwards be played on the Brunswick Phonograph for comparison), 6/ Listening (Brunswick Hour Orchestra) (A portion of this music will first be played on the Brunswick phonograph then on the Brunswick Panatrope), 7/ The Melody That Made You Mine (Waltz) (Regent Club Orchestra), 8/ At Dawning (Song) (John Charles Thomas), 9/ Adeste Fideles (Vibra Piano Solo) (Green), 10/ Collegiate (Fox Trot) (Carl F. Fenton’s Orchestra), 11/ Rondo a la Turka (Russian National Orchestra) (IN this record, native Russian Instruments are used. After Playing on the Panatrope, a small portion of this record will be played on the Brunswick Phonograph), 12/ A Banjo Song (Florence Easton), 13/ In a Monastry Garden (Capitol Theatre Grand Orchestra), 14/ The World is Such a Lonesome Place (Columbia Salon Orchestra) (After playing on the Brunswick Panatrope a portion of this record will be played on the Brunswick Phonograph), 15/ Danse Macabre (Part One & Two) (Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra). — Content excerpt of an advertisement in 1920 : « Because of its Tone superiority, its ability to play correctly every make of record, and the unrival beauty of its cabinet work, the Brunswick is an ideal wedding gift. With a Brunswick in their home, the bridal couple have at their instant command all the world’s music -- played exactly as it should be played. The Brunswick’s exclusive method of reproduction includes the wonderful all-record, all-needle Ultona and round all-wood horn. ». — Content excerpt of an advertisement in 1926 : « Before buying any musical instrument or radio, hear the BRUNSWICK PANATROPE. — The Brunswick Panatrope marks an epoch in the music-life of the world. It is the FIRST purely electrical reproducing musical instrument. Electrical reproduction means music as it really is. True to life -- a musical pho[t]ograph ! So overwhelmingly beyond anything the world has known is the music of the Brunswick Panatrope that the first demonstration of this instrument in New York City was the news of the day in the papers the following morning. Critics and laymen agreed that here was by all odds the most remarkable reproducing musical instrument they had ever heard. The Brunswick Panatrope brings you not only the music of the new electrical records, but of radio as well. It is obtainable either alone or combined in one beautiful cabinet with the Radiola Super-heterodyne. The Panatrope may also be used as the loud-speaker unit for yoru radio, with musical results equally as superior. This remarkable instrument operates entirely from the light socket; no batteries or outside wires needed. Until you hear the Brunswick Panatrope you cannot realize the difference between its music and reproduced music as you have known it. It is good judgment to refrain from buying anything in the field of music or radio until you have heard and seen this remarkable invention. Otherwise what you buy today, no matter how wonderful it may seem, may fall obsolete tomorrow before this amazing instrument. Brunswick has also developed another musical instrument, as yet unnamed, for bringing out the music of the new records. In tone quality and its ability to reproduce the entire musical scale, we believe this instrument represents a very great advance over anything in existence, except the Panatrope. It does not utilize the electrical equipment of the Panatrope, and its price are lower, ranging from only $115 to $300 (slightly higher west of Rockies). Before you buy any music reproducing instrument of any kind, or radio, hear the Brunswick Panatrope, the Brunswick Panatrope & Radiola, and Brunswick’s new musical instrument as yet unnamed. Brunswick dealers will gladly demonstrate these instruments. If there is no Brunswick stire near you, write us. -- $5,000 for a name : To find a suitable name for the new Brunswick instrument, we offer three prizes, totaling $5,000 (first prize, $3,000; second prize, $1,500; third prize, $500) for the best name submitted together with an advertising slogan or phrase not exceeding 10 words describing its music. Contest opened August 14 and closes December 15 at midnight. In event of a tie for any prize offered, a prize identical in all respects with that tied for will be awarded to each tying contestant. The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co, General offices, 625 Wabash Avenue, Chicago.
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