Friends of Nipper

Celebrating Nipper - His Master's Dog



Friends of Nipper support this site to honor Nipper, a unique star in the history of talking machines.

Nipper 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.

Born 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).

With 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 of listeners.

It 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.


Click on this image to enter the Nipper Art Gallery and see other Nipper inspired works of art


On February 11, 1899, Francis filed an application for copyright of this painting “Dog Looking At and Listening to a Phonograph.” According 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."

Nipper made his first appearance on the Gramophone Company's advertising literature on the Record Supplement for January 1900.

The original painting (below, left) by Francis Barraud, Nipper's owner and brother of the original owner, displayed an Edison Phonograph as the subject talking machine.

On the right is a photograph showing the 1899 update where Barraud has repainted the Phonograph as a Berliner Gramophone.








Memories of the Phonograph is a section of Phonographia that offers a variety of recollections, short stories and memories of the Phonograph by Friends of the Phonograph.

Click on this image to learn the story of Carie, another special Terrier, who like Nipper was a Friend of the Phonograph 100 years after Nipper.



PhonoLinksare connections to 21st century phonographia.

PhonoLinks are sourced by contemporary phonograph related references found in newspapers, advertisements, the intranet, or perhaps simply by something seen while walking down the street. Click Here or on the PhonoLinks image to learn more.

PhonoArtis a gallery of art that displays the phonograph as a cultural icon.

As depicted in greeting cards, computer clipart, cartoons, advertisements, periodicals, posters and in a variety of venues from museums to the internet, the phonograph can be seen as a richly connected symbol. Click Here or on the PhonoArt image to learn more.





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