05 June 2011

Illustra drawings: proof or spoilage?

A few months ago Desiree Muis sent me some remarkable stuff. At first sight it seem to be Illustra records, picture discs released by the Illustra Record Trading Co. N.Y., but if you look better you will miss the hole for the spindle in the centre. Desiree told me, that these 4 ( in fact two double sided) pictures are printed illustrations, apparently proofs or spoilage for the 1930s Illustra advertisement records. She found photos from these drawings at this Flexible Records blog too and asked me for additional information. Print used for a Illustra record which has originally the song Maria, Mari (E. di Capua) by Cav. Salvatore Salvati (tenor). It was originally recorded in Berlin-Marienfelde February 1930 by Tri-Ergon (matrix number 03245). (collection: Desiree Muis)
During the 1930s (flexible) advertisement records were an upcoming medium for promotion. In the US flexible records like Flexo and Durium were promoting products with its flexible "plastic" or carboard records - in Europe Dubrico, Sound Distributor
did the same on a cardboard base - another firm was Illustra, which had an office in Amsterdam.
This proof was used for another Illustra record for Gitanes cigarettes. (collection Desiree Muis)
The Illustra Record Trading Co. N.V. ( in Holland it was known as Illustra Handel Maatschappij N.V. ) released numerous colourfull advertisement records like the ones on this page.
Illustration for an Illustra record entitled Bombes sur Monte Casrlo ( L' amour des marins). (ca. 1931) (collection: Desiree Muis)
One of the most well known Illustra record must have been the Louis Davids Wat een meisje weten moet. The Dutch compilation album Wat een meisje weten moet - Reclame Klassieken, released by the Theater Instituut Nederland and De Weergever, both in Amsterdam, has this record reissued, like as great collection of pre-war (Dutch) advertisement and promo records. The prints Desiree sent me seem to be proofs for some other Illustra recordings.
Proof for the Go Home and Tell Your Mother 78rpm for Citroën ( ca. 1931) (Collection: Desiree Muis)
The Flexible Record blog has published a previous contribution about this label, entitled
Illustra Citroën Picture disc and gives all information I could find. Desiree told me: Het zijn ronde tekeningen, dubbelzijdig, doorsnede 23cm. (= It are round drawings, printed double-sided, with a cross-section of 23 cm. ). One of the pictures has the sentence: specimen non-destine a la vente ( = Not for sale), which seems to prove once more that this are proofs, not for publication, although it is possible that this sentence was used on the original record too, as it was free distributed. Well - a lot of questions about this rare stuff - hope you can help us to find the truth:

Where this proofs for Illustra records? Or is this spoilage? Maybe Desiree can tell us if the two drawings on both sides are printed exact on the same place - if not, it could have been spoilage and thrown away before the actually process of pressing the groove had taken place.
What is the actual cross-section for the original Illustra Flexible gramophone record? Do have the drawings the same size?
It seems that the crosses around the picture has to do with the print-proof. Is that correct?

Are these proofs rare? Did someone ever seen this kind of stuff?
Thanks Desirée for sharing these photos with us.

Deze blog is ook in het Nederlands verschenen op de Keep Swinging blog als: Illustra-tekeningen: misdruk of drukproef?

Hans Koert


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