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The Gramophone Company, LTD. (HMV)

Contrary to some beliefs, the Victor Talking Machine Company was NEVER a related company of the Gramophone Co. LTD, England.

The UK Gramophone Company was founded by William Barry Owen and investor Trevor Williams in 1897. They were the UK partner of Emile Berliner's US based United States Gramophone Company, which had been founded five years earlier.

In early 1909 the Gramophone Company introduced new labels featuring the trademark known as "His Master's Voice," generally referred to as HMV, to distinguish themselves from other companies. The Gramophone Company was never known as HMV or His Master's Voice company. This is something most people today associate the Gramophone Company with and loosely call it HMV rather than by its proper name.

In 1899, Owen bought the painting of a dog listening to a phonograph from artist, Francis Barraud and used it as the trademark for Gramophone Company, LTD. In 1902, Eldridge Johnson of Victor Talking Machine Company acquired US rights to use it as the Victor trademark.

Below are just a few samples of the phonographs the Gramophone Company LTD had made and sold from its conception in 1897 to its merge with Columbia in 1931, which later became Electric and Musical Industries Ltd (EMI). The photos are from early Gramophone Company Catalogs.

If you have a HMV machine, please contact me if you need help identifying it as I can look through my catalogs to help you get more information on your machine, if available.




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