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Columbia Records

Columbia Records, one of the oldest and most respected manufacturers of phonographs and records was founded in 1888, they began producing disc records in 1901. During the 1910s and 1920s, Columbia was one of the most prevalent record labels in the United States, along with Victor and Brunswick. In 1925, they introduced their marvelous "Viva-tonal" electrical recording process, producing some of the finest sounding records of the time, and recording some of the finest artists of the day. In 1926, Columbia acquired Okeh Records. Unfortunately, the company fell upon hard times in the 1930s. In 1932, Columbia introduced their "Royal Blue" records, pressed in blue shellac, which ran through 1935. In late 1934, the Columbia label was sold to the American Record Corporation, owners of Brunswick and many other popular labels.

By 1936, Columbia was essentially defunct, making very few releases. In 1938, however, Columbia, along with the ARC, was bought out by the Columbia Broadcasting System (which was ironically co-founded by Columbia Records), who breathed new life into the label, and Columbia once again grew to be a prominent label throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

Picture/Artist Labels

One of Columbia's specialties in the 1920s and 1930s was issuing special label designs for some of their most popular artists.

Special/Other Columbia Labels

Budget Labels

Columbia produced a number of budget labels, they were acoustically recorded using an improved process until early 1929, though some vocal records were electrically recorded for improved fidelity.

Other Labels Produced by Columbia


All images on this page created by R. Connor Montgomery, please do not reproduce without permission.