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The 78-rpm 7-inch Berliner Series (continued)

Brown Discs

Most of the discs in the 7-inch series were pressed in brown (red-brown) or maroon (dark brown) shellac. Both colours, as well as black discs, were manufactured until about 1903, when maroon and black discs ceased to be made. Early on, a large HMV symbol was stamped on the reverse, with "Berliner" running across the top of the disc in an arc and "Gram-o-phone" across the bottom in large outlined letters. The two words were separated by asterisks on either side.

On the left is an E. Berliner, Montreal brown disc, while a maroon disc is on the right. The difference in colour can be very subtle

Back of an E. Berliner, Montreal disc showing the His Master's Voice trademark

Labels with scroll lettering appeared on brown and maroon discs until about the middle of 1902. However, the most common type of label, which became almost the standard until 1904, was a sunken black or brown label with gold block lettering and edged with a gold circle. "Improved Berliner Gram-o-phone" was printed along the top of the label, in an arc from approximately 8 o'clock to 4 o'clock, and "Record" in the same script positioned just below. Directly above the hole in small letters were the words "Manufactured by" with "E. Berliner" and "Montreal Canada" on either side of the hole and the Canadian patent date immediately below. The hole itself was protected from wear by a brass spindle grommet. On the bottom portion of the label were printed the title, performer and Canadian issue number.

The most common type of E. Berliner, Montreal label from circa 1902 to 1904

One notable variant of this label was the tartan label used for recordings of the Kilties Band of Belleville, Ontario. Printed in the same style as the more familiar gold lettering on a brown field, these labels had black lettering on a tartan field comprised of red, lime green, pale blue, and black. Library and Archives Canada also possesses a test record printed in the same style with black lettering on a tan coloured field. On this record, the performer's name (Miss Kellert) is handwritten and there is no title or issue number.

An E. Berliner, Montreal Kilties Band label   An E. Berliner, Montreal test record, circa 1902-1904

Later 78-rpm 7-inch discs

When the company was reorganized in 1904, the style of the label changed (though the transition from old to new labels seems to have been gradual). The new labels were brown with gold print and gold edging. They had "Gram-o-phone Record" printed from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock in an arc across the top and the HMV trademark dominating the upper half of the label. Below the centre was the new company name: "The Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada, Ltd." Beneath this, in smaller script was printed the title, performer and Canadian issue number.

A standard post-1904 Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada label

In about 1904, a few 7-inch records were released with Concert labels that were usually reserved for 10-inch discs. The labels were brown with gold edging and gold print. On the upper half of the label was the HMV symbol, above which was a note indicating that the record was pressed from a Victor recording for sale and use in Canada only. On the right of the centre hole was the word "Concert" and "Record" to the left. Under the title, performer, and Canadian issue number was printed the company name. Around 1907 several 8-inch discs were pressed and given labels nearly identical in style, with "Victor" replacing the word "Concert", and "Grand Prize" printed around the spindle hole.

A Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada 7-inch disc with a "Concert Record" label, circa 1904   A Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada "Victor Grand Prize" record label, circa 1907

Library and Archives Canada has in its collection a black 7-inch disc with an anomalous label that must have been produced between 1904 and 1909. The label is black with gold print and gold edging. In an arc across the top is an intricate design of entwined maple leaves, underneath which is the company name ("The Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada Ltd."). To the left of the centre hole is the word "Imperial", and "Record" to the right. On the bottom half of the label is the title, performer and issue number (prefaced by a "0").

A Berliner Gram-o-phone Company of Canada disc with an anomalous "Imperial Record" label, produced between 1904 and 1909

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