78rpm records often had colourful labels as a way of drawing attention to themselves in shops - there were no illustrated records sleeves, just brown paper cases with a cut-out to show the label and sometimes an advertisement. 'The Winner' (later issues were labelled as 'Edison Bell Winner') was a one-and-sixpenny cheap label first marketed in 1912 by the British company Edison Bell: it was run by J.T.Hough who had in the 1890s managed to acquire the rights to market Edison phonographs and appropriated the name Edison Bell over the unsuccessful legal attempts of the American Edison company to stop him using it. The 'Winner' records were extremely popular and sold in their millions for twenty years: but competition from other cheaper labels such as Eclipse (sixpence) drove the company out of business in 1933.

This is an early example of the label, a maudlin song about the sinking of the Titanic on 15 April 1912, which from the lyric appears to have been issued as a fund-raiser. The circular stuck-on stamp is the copyright fee of one half-penny. You can hear the other side of the record, 'Stand To Your Post', in episode 9 of my podcast 'The Sound of 78s'.

The duration is 2m 50s and the file size is 2MB.




Roger Wilmut