American Record Company

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Not to be confused with ARC (record company), also known as American Record Company.
American Record Company label

The American Record Company was a United States record label, in business from about 1904 to 1908. It was re-activated in 1979 by Columbia Records. only to be discontinued for good in 1982.

The American Record Company was founded by Ellsworth A. Hawthorne and Horace Sheble (formerly dealers for Edison Records who had been blacklisted for their questionable business methods) and Frederick M. Prescott. It was based in Springfield, Massachusetts. They produced single-sided lateral-cut-groove disc records.

The principals were connected with the Odeon Records firm (some export pressings carried the "American Odeon Record" name). Most of the records are single sided, but there are also two-sided records known on the label; one researcher stated that the company would press any two sides paired, if the buyer met the minimum-order qualification. As well, these records are notable for being blue in color, rather than the usual black. Several variations of the "Indian" label exist, differing only in minor details. The records appear to have been numbered using a sequence which began at (or near) 030000; the numbers had reached the mid 031000's by the end of operation. The records exist in 7-inch, 10-inch and 10.75-inch sizes, with the latter size being derived from its connection with Odeon (which also used that size). The seven-inch discs used a different numbering sequence, and seemed to have only been produced for a short time. The double-faced issues used the numbers of each side when issued.

The company was closed after unfavorable judgments on patents which the American Record Company had violated from Emile Berliner, Columbia Records, and the Victor Talking Machine Company.

The label of the discs featured artwork depicting a Native American with a smoking pipe listening to a front-mount disc phonograph of undeterminable manufacture.

In February 1979 Maurice White of the R&B group Earth, Wind and Fire re-launched the American Recording Company (ARC), a Columbia Records distributed label whose artist roster included Deniece Williams, Ray Kennedy and the Emotions. Following the release of Earth, Wind and Fire's 1981 album Raise!, Columbia discontinued the label the following year, and all of its artists returned to Columbia.

Print references[edit]

  • American Record Label Book, Brian Rust, Da Capo, 1984.

External links[edit]