Monday, September 5, 2011

36. Pilippine VICTOR PHONOGRAPH ..."The White Man's Voice"

"A WHITE MAN'S VOICE" Among the Igorottes, Philippines.
1910 colored postcard
Victor Talking Machine Company goes back to the late 1880's, when entrepreneur named Emile Berliner invented the mass-producible flat phonograph record. Edison had invented the cylinder phonograph in 1877, but there was no practical way to mass-duplicate cylinders at that time. The flat disc design allowed copies to be made in the manner of a printing press.  The Victor Talking Machine Company was officially founded by Johnson in 1901. It quickly became a major player in the rapidly growing phonograph market.  The phonograph became an instant home entertainment market.

With the coming of the American in 1898, they have brought with them their technology including the gramophone, which was known as the “White Man’s Voice” among the native Filipinos.

The Victor phonograph player advertisement.  It was distributed by Erlanger & Galinger in Escolta, Manila
A Subuagne's first experience with a phonograph, Mountain Province.
1905 colored postcard.
An American named Anderson was responsible for the promotion of these talking machines. Anderson was the sole representative in the Philippines of Victor Talking Machine Company, one of the two recording companies in the United States with representation in the Philippines. The other one was Columbia Records represented by Isaac Beck, one of the early American pioneer businessmen in the Philippines, the only colony of the United States. Anderson had a store located at Isaac Peral Street (now United Nations Avenue) located just a stone throw away from the hotel where he rented a room, along with the other American government officials, a fashion then among them. Manila Hotel’s construction was finished in 1912 and almost immediately it attracted the American colonials who made both their residence also their official address.

on VICTOR Record

Anderson’s store sold both the horn-shaped Victrola record player and Victror Records. When he decided to record Pilipino songs, the songs from the sarzuela were the choice of the elite then. Sarzuela was a stage presentation similar to opera but localized in form. The most famous stage actor and actress then were Victorino Carrion and Maria Carpena and therefore their solos and duets were the initial repertoire for recording. Recording of local songs was aimed at generating more sales for Victrolas and the ploy was effective.
To support the promotion of records, Victrola and other novelty goods, Anderson put up radio station KZEG in 1923. EG of KZEG stood for Erlanger and Galinger, a big company in the United states which supplied him with novelty goods. He made use of the facilities of his recording studio also as his broadcasting studio.

These gramophones became an instant hit and among the Filipino socialites.  During the silent films era, voice or music was provided by the gramophone.  The official distributor in the Philippines was Erlanger & Galinger in Escolta.  They were sold for 210 – 450 pesos in 1910. 


1. The Recording Industry at a Glance by Danny Yson
2.  History of the Victor Phonograph  /

Pre-war Philippine artist on Victor records


  1. I would like to share this message by Museo De Maria Carpena, Inc. of FB: Muli po akong nagpapasalamat sa muli nyong pagbabahagi nito. Sana'y maimbitahan po namin kayo sa aming pagtitipon tungkol kay Maria Carpena sa darating na araw. Mabuhay po kayo Pinoy Kollektor!

  2. Hi, Pinoy Kollekto! I've been enjoying the great images of your collection, and, of course, we, your viewers, are very much thankful to you! Please keep on sharing what you have! What I wanted to ask is if you have a picture or image of the famous restaurant in the early part of the last century owned by a black man, Thomas Pritchard, which was located in Plaza Goiti. He had two establishments, Tom's Dixie Kitchen and later Tom's Grille. It was THE place where to be at that time. Thank you so much and more power to you!

    1. Hi Jun, Thanks for the compliments. Unfortunately I do not have any photo / memorabilia of the Tom's Dixie Kitchen. If I find any I will post it here.

  3. Very informative thank you! I wonder if you have a collection of 78s and other pre-CD discs? I am currently doing a study of our recording industry.

    1. check this out: