The Pathephone Comes to America



by Doug Boilesen, May 2024

The May 1914 issue of The Talking Machine World noted that the Pathé Frères Phonograph Company had leased the entire second floor of a new building in New York. It was also pointed out that an announcement of its usage would be made in the near future.

The Talking Machine World, May 1914.


Pathé phonographs and records had been imported into the United States under the American branch of Pathé Frères which was incorporated in New York in 1907 (Sutton, Allan, The Pathé-Perfect Discography, Digital Version 2.0, ©2023). Their phonographs and records were already sold in many countries around the world, but not with its own dealers and jobbers in the United States.


French Postcard c.1907 showing Pathé phonographs as part of Europe's popular culture. (PM-0737)


Pathé in London, The Talking Machine World, January 15, 1907.


In the October 1914 issue of The Talking Machine World the Pathé Frères Phonograph Company announced to the trade that they had opened offices in New York City where "we have our goods on display and ready for examination and comparison."

"Our plan is to sell goods in the usual way, through distributors and dealers. We shall limit the number of jobbers, and shall be very judicious in the selection and location of dealers. We are now ready to receive the applications of jobbers and dealers and solicit your visit and correspondence."



The Talking Machine World, November 15, 1914.


The following May 1915 message to the Phonograph Trade was a promotion of the Pathé Pathephone model #200 and Pathé records. It also showed how Pathé was progressing with developing their network of new agents and Pathephone shops around the country.


The Talking Machine World, May 15, 1915 featuring the Model 200.


One of their early dealer ads in the United States was their colored die-cut brochure featuring the Pathephone Model 200 and the advertising theme of listening to your favorite singer in your own home.


Pathephone's double-fold brochure circa 1915 ready to open. (PM-2145)


The opened brochure showed that it was also a mailer. (PM-2145)


The brochure's illustration was later used on the above trade card for a Buffalo, New York furniture store with a Progressive Pedro tally sheet on its reverse side (PM-0198). Victor & Co. was Buffalo's "Complete Home Furnishers" and was unaffiliated with the Victor Talking Machine Co.


A later trade card for Victor & Co. identified it as "Buffalo's Largest Furniture Department Store" (circa 1930's). For a history of Main, Genesee, and Pearl Street Blocks in Buffalo see Western New York History As We Were.


Pathephone "The Charm of Music" trade card with Progressive Pedro tally sheet on its reverse side (c. 1916).


The following Pathé Frères Phonograph Company 1915 magazine ad used the advertising theme of the living artist coming into your home. It's a foundational theme seen in many Victor, Columbia and Edison ads which each promoted the idea that anyone who owns a phonograph and records can have entertainment previously limited by location, time, and money. By owning a phonograph music could be heard anytime, anyplace and by anyone. See Phonographia's "The Stage of the World!" gallery for examples of how recorded sound was promoted as being no less real than hearing the greatest artists of the world in person.

Transported into your home the artists sang with "the art of the original singer or player -- in all the actual shading and phrasing of the song or the composition." Into your home was "the living artist" who could stir "your very soul" with its realism and "magic spell."


Pathé Frères Phonograph Company ad, 1915. The Pathephone "Brings to You the Living Artist!" ad also advertised that Pathé was still looking for jobbers for a few areas of the country.


"Pathéphone Is the Real Music-Master." "Life -- Realism, Throbbing Personality...It brings to your home the magic spell of the greatest artists of the world." Pathé Pathéphone, magazine ad 1915.


"When you are listening to the Pathéphone you actually seem to be in the magnetic presence of the artist." "Life Is a Search For Perfection." Pathé Pathéphone, 1915 (5" x 6" magazine ad).


The world's best music is "at the Pathephone owner's instant command." The Saturday Evening Post, December 11, 1915.


See Phonographia's Pathé is Supreme gallery for examples of Pathe's 1920 "Supremacy" advertising campaign.