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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Last Rose of Summer: 1921

Last Rose of Summer: 1921

New York, 1921. "Victor record display, New York Band Instrument Co. window." Over two dozen Nippers here by my count, as well as some handsome Victrolas in the kind of place that was the Apple Store of its day. View full size.

 

Re instruments

In the interests of accuracy I would point out that the 'accordion' is more likely to be a melodeon.

Regular accordions will play the same note on push and pull if you hold in a key. Melodeons play one note on the push and another on the pull, similar to the suck and blow of a mouth organ. Melodeons are much favoured by folk musicians as they are small, loud and give a punchy rhythm, due to the push/pull system, which is good for country/square dancing.

As this is a two row it is likely to be tuned either Fmaj/Cmaj or Cmaj/Gmaj. Modern boxes are more likely to be tuned Gmaj/Dmaj, which has become a more popular arrangement. There is also a possibility that it might be 'Irish' tuned which is B/C or C/Csharp.

Ride of the Valkyries

The Wagner recording must have been the size of a wagon wheel; he does tend to drag on.

My own Nippers and more

That large Nipper in the window is identical to one I picked up at a phonograph show years ago. They were made of plaster and were hand painted.

I also have several other Nipper items and two Victrolas -- a tabletop model and a console. I also have a Columbia suitcase style phono and tons of 78s.

Instruments!

I see some nice oldies in the window. A mandolin, a couple of ukuleles, a banjo uke, a balalaika (?), the necks of a tenor banjo and tenor saxophone, a cello and an Albert System clarinet (the curved-around A-key), and of course an accordion. VERY cool pic!

More Nippers than a speakeasy

I come up with 42, counting phono decals, record label logos, a book imprint and one reflected Nipper. After a nip myself, I'm not sure I didn't miss one or more.

[There are at least four or five reflected Nippers here. - Dave]

111 East 14th Street

That's the address for the New York Band Instrument Co., but the building is long gone now. Also, I found this circa 1931 brochure.

More than a Doggy in this window

The poster for Ernestine Schumann-Heink (the Celine Dion of her day) offers to "Let us play it for you." Here, let YouTube play it for you, showing the actual platter. "Sometime We'll Understand":

Think Ernestine was all music? Pshaw. Here she is ready for some top-down motoring. Maybe she sang "She's so fine, my 409" or maybe not.

Try before you buy.

It appears that there are listening booths inside so that you can sample your music before making the investment to take home.

Is Nothing Sacred?

Old Nipper in his day was probably as "iconic" as Ronald McDonald or the Cookie Monster is today. Even ON was the subject of parody. This old framed print picked up for a few bucks at a junk shop is one of my favorite finds. Its humor is age selective. Its copyright date is 1904.

 
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