Memories of the Phonograph
- A unique star in the history of talking machines
was a a terrier whose lineage is commonly thought to be a mix of Fox
and Bull Terrier. But his pedigre didn't matter. It was his curiousity
and famous pose as he listened to sounds from a machine that epitomized
what this new wonder was introducing to the world.
in 1884 in Bristol, England, Nipper was painted listening to a phonograph
in late 1898 three years after Nipper's death. The original painting
by Francis Barraud displayed an Edison-Bell Phonograph as the source
of Nipper's interest. In 1898 Barraud repainted the Phonograph with
a Berliner Gramophone and it was this painting that would become the
trademark for Eldridge Johnson's Victor Talking Machine Company (which
Johnson took over from Emile Berliner).
his ear cocked sitting in front of a talking machine listening to
"His Master's Voice," Nipper would be seen in countless advertisements
into the 21st century and far outlive the Victor and its generation
is one of the great advertising ironies that the dog that couldn't
find a home with the Edison Phonograph went on to become one of the
most famous marketing images of all time, doing so for Edison's chief
competitor, the Victor Talking Machine Company.
February 11, 1899, Francis filed an application for copyright of this
painting “Dog Looking At and Listening to a Phonograph.”
to Leonard Petts, author of The story of 'Nipper' and the 'His
Master's Voice' picture painted by Francis Barraud, negotiations
for the transfer of the copyright of the repainted picture with the
Gramophone " were completed with Barraud by 31st January 1900
and on 6th February the Company applied for a Memorandum of the Assignment
of Copyright of the painting of Dog looking into and listening to
a Gramophone and entitled His Master's Voice."
made his first appearance on the Gramophone Company's advertising
literature on the Record Supplement for January 1900.
original painting (below) by Francis Barraud, Nipper's owner and brother
of the original owner, displayed an Edison Phonograph as the subject
following photograph shows the 1899 update where Barraud has repainted
the Phonograph as a Berliner Gramophone.
Nipper listening to an Edison Phonograph
The repainted HMV version with
Nipper and a Berliner Gramophone
Since Nipper became such an icon in the advertising world it's not
surprising that there are many examples of "art", cartoons
and parody that feature Nipper as the star.
see a few of these Nipper inspired works go to Phonographia's PhonoArt
gallery "Nipper Art".