BUSY BEE was an American record label active from 1906-1909. It was founded in 1904 by Sherwin Bisbee.
Records were produced by several manufacturers for the O’Neill-James Company of Chicago.
O’Neill-James introduced Busy Bee disc phonographs in 1906. These had a rigid rectangular lug affixed to the turntable and so required use of a disc with a corresponding cut-out through the label area.
Busy Bee records were produced by several companies, including the American Record Company, Leeds & Catlin, Hawthorne & Sheble, Universal Talking Machine Manufacturing Company and American Graphophone Company/Columbia Phonograph Co.
The term ‘Amberized’ (an early form of plastic) describes the type of material used for the manufacture of these recordings.
O’Neill-James dropped the Busy Bee label in 1909, following reciprocal lawsuits between Columbia Phonograph Co. and Victor Talking Machine Co. over patent infringement and distribution disputes.