Curtiss Aeronola

The 78rpm-Club

aeronola advertThe Curtiss Aeronola gramophones were manufactured at 163 Dufferin Avenue in Toronto, Ontario Canada circa 1919 by the Curtiss Aeroplanes & Motors LTD.

Model No. 2 - Fumed Oak & Mahogany (Retail $ 85.-)
Model No. 3 - Fumed Oak & Mahogany (Retail $ 115.-)
Model No. 4 - Fumed Oak & Mahogany & Walnut (Retail $ 135.-)
Model No. 5 - Fumed Oak & Mahogany & Walnut (Retail $ 165.-)

Glenn Curtiss was an aviation pioneer born in upper state New York. He produced airplanes, motorcycles and engines. He associated himself with the Wright brothers and formed the Curtiss-Wright Corporation.
In an effort to expand his production, Curtiss built a plant in Toronto as well as the city’s first airport in Long Branch area. His facility was purchased shortly thereafter and taken over by the Canadian government in 1916 during the First World War.

Curtiss was friends with Alexander Graham Bell who in turn was friends with Emile Berliner. Berliner helped Bell in developing the telephone and who is also the inventor of the gramophone. Curtiss had worked with Bell on aviation projects.

After WW I ended in the spring of 1919, Curtiss retook possession of his plant and dedicated a part of it to become the gramophone factory on Dufferin. The factory was meant to produce up to 300 units a day. They were recruiting cabinet makers, rubbers, trimmers and finishers: rate 50 cents per hour up to 6 dollars a day. At 50 cents an hour it would have taken 2 months of work to enable you to buy my Model number 5.

The company was forced into receivership and the gramophone production facility became the General (car) Top Company in August of 1920. The Curtiss Company was then managed by Canadian financier Clement Keys who brought it back to prosperity sans gramophone production.

Source: http://www.keithwright.ca


According to Larry Milberry in "Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades" (CANAV Books, Toronto, 2008), "While Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. suddenly was out of airplane manufacturing [after WW I] and selling off equipment, Toronto might have been surprised to see advertisements placed in local papers in July 1919 by Curtiss Aeroplanes & Motors Limited seeking tradesmen. The company earlier edged out by CAL [Canadian Aeroplanes Limited] was back in business. One Curtiss ad read "Wanted Immediately Cabinet Makers Rubbers, Trimmers, Finishers for Burning In. Rate 50cents per hour, and piece work to be started at once to enable men to earn $6 or more per day. Apply at Company's Office, 163 Dufferin Street, to Mr. Wright, Superintendent." In that neighbourhood, it is likely that Curtiss was using some CAL floor space. In 1919, however, Curtiss was building no airplanes. Instead, it was turning out some general products, but specialized in a new home entertainment fad--the phonograph. By now, with a great wave of postwar prosperity, every family craved a phonograph. (page 164)