Zonophone

1899 - 2013

Zonophone, early on also known as Zon-O-Phone was a record label founded in 1899 in Camden, New Jersey by Frank Seaman.

Seaman had worked for Emile Berliner's Berliner Gramophone. Seaman decided to start his own company to produce disc records and disc phonographs. Seaman's Zon-O-Phone records design and technology were shamelessly stolen from Berliner, and the machines similarly copied from the products of Eldridge R. Johnson's Consolidated Talking Machine Company. Seaman then sued Berliner and Johnson for violating his technology.

Seaman arranged for an alliance with Columbia Record (then manufacturing only cylinder records and machines), arguing that the patents held by Columbia Record concerning cylinders applied to any type of recording where a stylus vibrated in a groove, and that Zon-O-Phone would pay royalties if Columbia Record helped him drive Berliner out of business.

Johnson and Berliner counter-sued, and the following year emerged victorious in court—prompting the name of their new combined company, The Victor.

1901 the International Zonophone Company was founded in Berlin, the label was seen as the biggest competitor of the Berliner Gramophone Company. Partly also pressures of the Gramophone Company were sold on the label Zon-O-Phone, which led to disputes with Emil Berliner.

Further legal actions dragged on until 1903, when all of the United States and Latin American assets of Zon-O-Phone were turned over to Victor, and the Europe and British Commonwealth assets to the Gramophone & Typewriter Company (which would later become the Gramophone Company and launch the His Master's Voice label).


Zonophone - The Twin

In May 1911 The Twin was amalglamated with Zonophone, and The Gramophone Co.'s double-sided Zonophone record line became Zonophone-The Twin from June 1911. Normal single-sided production was abandoned, except for the Grand Opera series which continued for another couple of years.

The initial Zonophone-The Twin catalogue consisted of recordings from Twin and also some recordings from the Zonophone single-sided catalogue converted into double-sided records. Subsequent issues carried new recordings and more single-sided conversions.


Regal - Zonophone

In 1932, as a result of the formation of EMI from Columbia and HMV, Zonophone was merged with Columbia's Regal label to form Regal-Zonophone. The first Regal-Zonophone list was published in January 1933.

Interesting Blue Regal Zonophone link: A Tribute to Salvation Army Musicians, Music and Composers


There are different label groups:

Zon-o-phone Record 1899-1903 (etched)

Zon-o-phone Record

Zonophone (special)

International Zonophone

Zonophone (Gramophone)

Zonophone (writing angel)

Zonophone (brown)

Zonophone (yellow)

Disco Zonofono

Disque Zonophone

British Zonophone


Gallery

  • Runge Zonophone Freischütz
  • Panis Angelicus Groenen X-532236
  • Rigoletto Quartett Zonophone
  • Zonophon 44088
  • Zonophon TWIN1
  • Zonophon 6183
  • Zonophon 18020