1908 - 1909

Elephone records were made by The Universal Talking Machine Company which was William Barraud's first foray into the early Gramophone record field. He was later involved in the Invicta record company which produced Invicta and Guardsman records. William Barraud was the uncle of Francis Barraud, well-known for painting the famous HMV dog-and-gramophone portrait and he also painted the picture of Sgt Hassall used on the Guardsman label.

The Universal Taliking Machine Company recording rooms (and presumably their offices) were at 3, Scrutton Street, Finsbury, London E.C. It is very likely that any recordings were made under the supervision of German recording experts from the Lyrophon Company, from spring 1908 to early 1909. Universal's recordings were issued on their Elephone record label, and it is thought that the presence of an Elephant on the label (which was a registered design) is what prevented Jumbo records from also using an Elephant on their earliest issues.

Elephone's British recordings are in the 20000 series and should have a small "o" prefix. Other masters used are from German Lyrophon, and also some French recordings which have an "F" suffix. It was the intention of the company to make ethnic Indian recordings for Export to India, but none have ever been reported, so this may never have happened.
The business (and presumably the recording rooms) moved to 37, Curtain Road, London E.C. in November 1908, but by March 1909 the company needed more money, and proceeding to wind up the business started by June 1909 and it seems likely that the Universal Talking Machine Company never really made much in the way of profit!

Elephone records are exceedingly scarce, as can be seen by the very sparse listings below. So far, I know of these catalogue series, a plain 100-, 1000-, A-1500, D-4000 and G-8000.

Source: Michael Thomas