The "-ola" Brands

The "-ola' brands related to talking machines and recorded sound

The suffix -ola was used in 1898 with the introduction of the pianola by the Aeolian Company in New York. The pianola was a specific name for the player piano manufuctured by the Aeolian Company but it would become a generic term for all player pianos. Its name was based on "piano" and "viola."

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When the Victor Talking Machine Company introduced their new cabinet model Victor gramophone in August 1906 which they named the "Victor-Victrola". The Victrola was a trademarked name but like the pianola it ended up also becoming a generic term, i.e., for any talking machine.

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"You can tell them the moment you raise the lid and see the trademark "Victrola." Saturday Evening Post ad, 1921

 

Many other manufacturers followed Victor in adding '-olas' to their company name (see list below) so that the etymology of " factola' has been reinforced in its connection with talking machines by the variety of talking machines and descendent home entertainment technologies that reproduced sound.

 

Pianola Catalogue cover and the following ad are courtesy of the Pianola Institute, www.pianola.org

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The "ola's"

The following are names of most of the '-ola' phonograph companies of the 20th century.

Note - Special thanks to R.J. Wakeman who compiled a list of 'off-brand' talking machines in his June 2014 article for the Antique Phonograph Society (1) titled "Off-Brand Talking Machines". Wakeman extensively used the trade magazine Talking Machine World (TMW) in his research of which companies were making talking machines and when they may have first marketed their machines. He includes dates for his entries and notes that those dates refer to the date of "a machine’s first TMW advertisement, which in turn roughly indicates when a machine was first marketed. Manufacturers were quick to advertise in TMW all new products. Many but not all companies applied for a trademark."

Wakeman also used his correspondence with other collectors (which he identifies in his list as EM = email) for identifying machines that are known to exist but for which there is little information about the brand.

Mr. Wakeman's list of "off-brand" talking machines from 1910-1925 totals over 460 brands.

Below is an extract of those brands that are the '-olas' with a few of my additions that includes record labels and other related companies.

 

Amberola – National Phonograph Company,

Americanola – American Talking Machine Company, Bloomberg, Pennsylvania. August 1920 TMW

Amerinola – Amerinola Company, 1 Vandalia Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio. December 1919 TMW

Arionola – Arionola Manufacturing Company, 250 Devonshire Street Boston, Massachusetts. September 1914 TMW

Armoniola – Thomas Manufacturing Company, Dayton, Ohio. November 1916 TMW

Artanola – Saginaw Sectional Book Case Company, Saginaw, Michigan. March 1923 TMW

Artofola – The Artofola Company, Springfield, Illinois. October 1916 TMW

Autonola – Briggs Manufacturing Company. EM

Autrola - There is an existing model, however, no information other than the brand name. EM

Bamcola – Bachman Manufacturing Company, Ivanhoe & Southwest Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri. December 1919 The Music Trades

Carola – The Carola Company, Leader-News Building, Cleveland, Ohio. August 1916 Cosmopolitan Magazine

 

 

Carryola – Carryola Company of America, 647 Clinton Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. July 1924 TMW

Chimonola – Chimonola Company, 131 The Arcade, Cleveland, Ohio. September 1919 TMW

Cirola – Cirola Phonograph Corporation 1227 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. April 1920 TMW

Clarinola – George B. Clark Company, Inc., Bridgeport, Connecticut. EM

Claxtonola – Brenard Manufacturing Company, Iowa City, Iowa. January 1919 TMW

Clayola – Bristol and Barber Company, Inc., 3 East 14th Street, New York City, New York. November 1922 TMW

Cleola – Tyrola Phonograph Company, Wilmette, Illinois. January 1920 TMW

Cleartonola - still-existing model, however, no information other than the brand name

Collerola – George Coller, Reading, Pennsylvania. EM

Concertola – World Phonograph Company, 218 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. March 1917 TMW

Consola – Consolidated Talking Machine Company, 227 West Lake Street, Chicago, Illinois. November 1917 TMW

Crystola – The Knabe Brothers Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. November 1915 TMW

Davenola – Davenport Cabinet Works, 829 West 2nd Street, Davenport, Iowa. November 1919 TMW

Duffinola – The Duff Company, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. EM

Elti-Nola – Charles H. Elting & Company, Chicago, Illinois. EM

Electrola – German Gramophone Company Record Label Company, Berlin 1925. In March 1931 Electrola, with its parent label and Carl Lindstrφm Company parent Columbia Graphophone Company, merged to form the Electric & Musical Industries Ltd. (EMI). - Wikipedia

Embrola – Embrola Talking Machine Company, Department “A”, St. Paul, Minnesota. January 1918 TMW

Eubanola – Ramos-Eubank Phonograph Manufacturing Company, Richmond, Virginia. March 1919 TMW

Eufonola – Acme Cabinet Company, 116 West 32nd Street, New York City, New York. November 1916, TMW

Favorola – Bon-Ton Manufacturing Company, 211 South Broadway, St. Louis, Missouri. October 1920 TMW

Gabelola – Gabel’s Entertainer Company, 210 North Ann Street, Chicago, Illinois. March 1917 TMW

Genola – General Phonograph Company, Elvira, Ohio. EM

 

 

 

Glenola – There is an existing model, however, no information other than the brand name.

Grafonola - The Columbia Grafonola, The Columbia Graphophone Company, Woolworth Building, New York, 1916

 

 

 

Grafonola by Guild Electric - 1960's replica of a hand crank horn style phonograph. This electric turntable plays 12", 10", and 7" records. The horn holds the speaker.

 

 

 

Gramola – "His Master's Voice" (HMV) Gramola was marketed by the Gramophone Company's German Electrola Record (HMV) company for the market in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and others with a pasted over “Gramola” Label as seen in this 1927 advertisement.

1927 Gramola ad for Austria and Czechloslavkian markets (Courtesy of grammophon-platten.de)

 

 

Grandola – Grandola Phonograph Company, 1269 Broadway, New York City, New York. November 1915 TMW

Gunsonola – Brandford, Ontario, Canada. EM

Harmonola – The Harmonola Company, 1611 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. October 1916 TMW

Harponola – The Celina Furniture Company, 101 Mercelina Park, Celina, Ohio. November 1917, TMW

Harpvola – Harpvola Talking Machine Company, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 1916 TMW

Harrolla – King Talking Machine Company, 11 West 25th Street, New York City, New York. January 1917 TMW

Hayne’ola – Hayne’ola Phonograph Corporation, Ottawa, Illinois. January 1917 TMW

Hrenola – There is an existing model, however, no information other than the brand name.

Humanola – Humanola Talking Machine Company, Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. May 1917 TMW

Keimola

 

Ko-Hi-Ola – Koehler and Hinrichs, St. Paul, Minnesota. November 1916 TMW

Librola — Seaburg Manufacturing Company, Jamestown, New York. Aril 1920 TMW

Lyreola – Lyre-Ola Manufacturing Company, 1504 Pine Street, St. Louis, Missouri. April 1920 TMW

Maestrola – Sound Reproduction Company, Inc., 56 Liberty Street, New York City, New York. September 1916 TMW

Magnola – Magnola Talking Machine Company, 711 Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. May 1916 TMW

Majestrola — Bell & Voss Berlin. EM

Marvelola – Weser Brothers, 524 West 23rd Street, New York City, New York. January 1920 TMW

Masterola – Master Talking Machine Corporation, 381 Fourth Avenue, New York City, New York. April 1915 TMW

Modernola – Modernola Company, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. May 1919 TMW

Motrola - Jones-Motrola, Inc., Electric motor to crank your phonograph instead of unsightly winding crank - 29-33 West 35th Street, New York City. Saturday Evening Post December 1917

 

 

 

 

Munola – The Munzer Manufacturing Corporation, 307 South 6th Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota. November 1917 TMW

Musicola – Musicola Talking Machine Company, 242 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. March 1920 TMW

Musictrola – Passow & Sons, 832 -842 Madison Street, Chicago, Illinois. March 1916 TMW

Nytrola – T. & H. Specialty Company, Charleston, West Virginia. January 1921 TMW

Ogdenola – Ogden Manufacturers, Chicago, Illinois. EM

Oranola – Perfection Talking Machine Company, Inc., 129 De Graw Street, Brooklyn, New York. August 1919 TMW

Orchestrola – The Thomas Manufacturing Company, Dayton, Ohio. June 1916 TMW

Oriola – Metropolis Sales Company, 27 Union Square, New York City, New York. April 1917 TMW

Panola – still-existing model, however, no information other than the brand name

Perfectrola – Milwaukee Talking Machine Manufacturing Company, 416 Fourth Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. January 1916 TMW

Phonola – Caloric Sales Company, 1381 Continental and Commercial Bank Building, Chicago, Illinois. October 1916 TMW

Phonola – Waters Conley Company, Inc., 17 E. Chestnut Street, Chicago 11, Illinois. 1960 print ad

1960

 

Playonola – Playonola Talking Machine Company, 1210 Third Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. May 1920 TMW

Portrola – Portable Phonograph Company, Reserve Bank Building, Kansas City, Missouri. February 1920 TMW

Queenola – Queenola Phonograph Company — Masier & Weng, Allegan, Michigan. EM

Ramosola – Ramos-Eubank Phonograph Manufacturing Company, Richmond, Virginia. March 1919 TMW

Retola – Ausonia Reed Furniture Company, 844 Gerard Avenue, New York City, New York. October 1920 TMW

Rhonola – Waters & Conley Company; portable model. EM

Rilonola — Riley Talking Machine Company, Inc., Utica, New York. EM

Robinola – Robinola Talking Machine Company, 119 East 5th Street, Cincinnati, Ohio. June 1917 TMW

Saxola – Sachs and Company, 425 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. May 1919 TMW

Swanola – makers of Black Swan Records, Pace Phonograph Corporation, 257 West 138th Street, New York City, New York. October, 1921 The Crisis Advertiser

Symphonola – The Larkin Company, Buffalo, New York. EM

Tabe-A-Nola – Tabe-A-Nola Phonograph Company, Inc., Reading, Pennsylvania. September 13, 1919 The Music Trades

Thieryola – J. B. Thiery Company. EM

Tonkola – William Tonk and Brother, 36th Street at 10th Avenue, New York City, New York. March 1918 TMW

Tonola – Tonola Phonograph Company, 11 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota. May 1917 TMW

Toyola – Berg A. T. & S. Company, Long Island City, New York. EM

Verdiola – Illinois Talking Machine Company, 56 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois. July 1918 TMW

Victrola - Victor Talking Machine Company, Camden, N.J. Munsey's Magazine 1906

 

 

Victrola Electrola - Victor Talking Machine Company, Camden, N.J. 1928

1928 Victor Victrola Electrola VE7-26X

 

 

Vitanola – Vitanola Talking Machine Company, 17 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. February 1915 TMW

Vonola – There is an existing model, however, no information other than the brand name.

Waderola – Wade Talking Machine Company, 12 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. March 1920 TMW

Watrola – Wartell Phonograph Company, 178 West Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois. October 1919 TMW

Westrola – The Wesley Company, Chicago, Illinois. June 1920 TMW

Wycola – Wyeth Manufacturing. EM

Yohnola – Oliver Yohn & Sons, New York. EM

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Other phonograph/music-providing '-ola' companies (post 1925)

Motorola - Motorola started as the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation in Chicago in 1928, however, "Paul Galvin wanted a brand name for Galvin Manufacturing Corporation's new car radio, and created the name “Motorola” by linking "motor" (for motorcar) with "ola" (from Victrola), which was also a popular ending for many companies at the time, e.g. Moviola, Crayola. The company sold its first Motorola branded radio on June 23, 1930" ... and "later changed the company name to Motorola, Inc."- Wikipedia

Motorola Model 50XC (1940) radio, made of Catalin (photo courtesy of Wikipedia - photograph taken at SFO airport "On The Radio" exhibition 2018).

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Motorola Phonograph-Radio magazine ad, 1945

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Playola - Children's record player in its box, 1948

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Radiola - Radio-Victor Corporation of America, Radiola Super-Heterodyne, December 1929 Arts & Decoration magazine

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Ad on back of Matinee Musicale program January 25, 1926 Temple Theatre, Lincoln, NE

 

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Rock-Ola - Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation, Chicago, IL 1932 with its first jukebox produced in 1935. (2)

Rock-Ola Model 1422, 1946 courtesy of Jukebox The Golden Age, ©1981 Lancaster-Miller, Inc.

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Nicktrola Ornament, 2007 by Christopher Radko

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Footnotes:

(1) The Antique Phonograph Society (www.antiquephono.org) - The Antique Phonograph is a worldwide society of 1000+ members who share a passion for the preservation of antique phonographs, gramophones and records. We encourage, promote, publish and present research on the history of sound recording and reproduction, including the machines that create and preserve these wonderful voices and sounds. To that end, our Society maintains informative articles on its website which are open to the public, as well as an exhaustive online searchable archive of over 20,000 pages of phonograph and record research material available to members. We publish a full-color quarterly journal called The Antique Phonograph. The APS also sponsors an annual antique phonograph/record Expo and banquet, to which all are welcome. JOIN TODAY!

(2) The Rock-Ola Scale Company was founded in 1927 by David Cullen Rockola. The company became the Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation in 1932.

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Factola © 2019

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