1915 - 1921
Operaphone Records was a record company in existence from 1915 until 1921, who released numerous phonograph records cut in the hill-and-dale and universal-cut methods.
The Operaphone Manufacturing Corporation of New York was established by John Fletcher, a professional musician and amateur inventor, in 1914 with George Thomas serving as company president.
A pressing plant in Long Island City was soon established. Fletcher claimed in a trademark application that he had first used the name Operaphone beginning in March, 1915. Advertising for Operaphone discs first occurred in January 1916, offering 8-inch discs for 35 cents.
12 new discs (24 titles) were released each month. Operaphone claimed their output of discs tripled between January and August 1916. The price of the 10-inch records had been increased to $1.00 by July 1920.
The company was reorganized in 1918 as the Operaphone Co., Inc. Eight-inch records were discontinued, some 200 having been produced, and a standard-size 10-inch series of discs was announced, but the records remained vertically cut. This series also failed to capture the public’s imagination (and wallets), and a final series of 10-inch records was introduced in July 1919. These discs used Emerson’s universal-cut system, which were intended to be playable phonographs using either the vertical or lateral reproducers. These met with the most success, as they are the most commonly-found Operaphone products.
In March 1921 it was announced in the trade publication Talking Machine World that Operaphone would quit the record business. The company was purchased by the Remington Phonograph Company, and it was reorganized as the Olympic Disc Record Company. Subsequently, Harry Pace partnered with Fletcher to bring use of the Operaphone pressing facility to the new Black Swan Records.
Operaphone also pressed records for client labels, including All-Star, Crescent, Domestic, and Elginola.
In Canada, the discs were sold for CAN$0.50, distributed by Canadian Phonograph Company of Toronto.