Thursday, March 19, 2015

rare photos of early recording stars, with explanations!

I had recently found the need to share some of the very unusual and rare images of the recording stars who are often mentioned on this blog. 
Which one of the phonograph boys is this?
  Why this is the only place in the old recording world where you'll se that this is Steve Porter. Why so? I was recently looking though the pictures in my "1890's" folder and came across this rather common looking image of a gentleman looking into a phonograph-like machine. But I immediately thought, it looks like Steve Porter! All the features line up, the size of him in general, as he was not very tall anyway, and that machine itself. It isn't a typical old coin phonograph from the 1890's. It's either Porter's invention, the "Stereoscopic picture Machine" which showed slides and film stills with the music of the same theme(it was basically an experimental film with sound machine). Or it's Len Spencer's patented improved version of  few months before this contraption of Porter's. Here's a picture of Porter from around the same time period to prove my point, and the machine I mentioned:
(see what I mean!)

Now I know that I have used this picture numerous times before, but it needs a little more explaining attached to it. Here's what The Phonoscope says about it: 
these exhibitions must have been something that the Spencer's advised to get better advertising out there to the public. This thing allowed for the general public to sink their teeth into how records were made and how they were sold. This picture really gives a VERY rare look into the Columbia studio in the late-1890's and early 1900's, and it really gives you a perfect view of how that Fred Hylands man was set up at the piano. I'm sure that Hylands probably had to go to all of these --performances, rather, and got pretty tired of them quickly(as he was like Len Spencer a little bit in the sense of constantly wanting creative freedom). But his picture also gives us a look at two recording artists who are almost NEVER seen! Harry C. Spencer and Fred. Hylands, what could be better than that! 


I'm sorry that this isn't a very good picture. But this is once again a rare look inside an 1890's recording studio. More specifically, the Edison studio. This was taken the same year as the Columbia picture above, which makes this a very fascinating comparison. Ossman would be playing with Banta at Edison, whereas, at Columbia he would be with Hylands. Which one of the two did he love more? Who the hell knows! He was an odd character when it came to who he liked and didn't like.  Mind you, this picture was taken in Edison's smaller room.(there was a big woody room and a small plain room for studios.)

Now, this last picture is a FASCINATING one. Just what it is is amazing. 
Not everyone can be identified here, but a few faces are recognizable. 
Frank S. Mazziotta can be spotted:
Here he is more clearly to prove it:

Charles Prince in in the center, and there's many more faces I recognize, but cannot pull out their names. I'l try to think of some more of them, and as I do I will add on to this post to finalize some more of the personnel. 

I hope you enjoyed this! 



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