Michael Thomas' Website


Labels - O

Home Page  Records British Dance Bands Sound Files Contact Me

British 78rpm record labels whose name begins with O. Using the letter links below you can see pages for other letters.
Unless otherwise noted, all research and images are my own, but as you will see, many other people have helped, especially with the label catalogue listings.

All images are thumbnails, so clicking on them will display a full-sized image. Where the label name is a link, clicking it will take you to a new page with more information and, in most cases, an attempt to list all issues on that label.

  B     D     F     H      K     M                   W &  Z


Label Description

Octacros Octacros records were produced as a result of a dispute between Cinema operators and the major record companies, who wanted to charge an extra fee (as well as the fee to the PRS) for use of their records in cinemas.  To circumvent this rather typical high-handed attitude, Synchrophone Ltd produced Octacros records. These records first appeared in 1934, using old masters from the defunct Piccadilly label, with a 3-digit catalogue number. There was also the 1000-series of new recordings and the 2000-series of continental recordings. The company was taken over and closed by Decca in 1937, effectively creating a duopoly of Decca & EMI.
Odeon The Odeon record was a major international label during most of the 78rpm period. I am concerned here only with those made for British consumption. The trade mark was registered in Britain in 1904 and the actual records appeared soon after. There were two sizes, 7" and 10", costing 2/6 and 5/- respectively and were double-sided at a time when all records were still single-faced. Some of the British issues were "paste-over" on the original German ones and some had the British label pressed in, in the usual way (see image). The outbreak of WWI in 1914 meant that German-produced records such as Odeon ceased to be available, but during the 1920s & 30s, certain Odeon records were sold in Britian, almost at random it seems, using Parlophone/Lindstrom masters.

A listing of British Odaon records, compiled by Mike Langridge is available from the CLPGS.

Okeh Okeh are, of course, a well-known American record company, founded in 1918 by German emigrant Otto Heinemann. From 1919 and for probably a very short period afterwards, Okeh records, both lateral and vertical cut, were imported to Britain. They rarely turn up, but are recognisable by the British copyright stamp affixed to the label. From 1922-23, Okeh masters were available in Britain on Parlophone.
The image, right, is courtesy of Norman Field from his excellent website, http://early78s.uk/.
Oliver Another of the Crystalate 'mini' disks, Oliver seems to vary in size between 5" & 6", similar to Mimosa, and also 7", these dating from about 1930, using masters also available on Victory. Like Mimosa, they were available from the early 1920s until about 1930.


Thanks to Rainer Lotz for the third photo in a colour scheme I'd not seen before.

Olympic Olympic records were produced Levy's Phono and Cycle Stores of High Street, Whitechapel, London.
There were three series produced; all were manufacture by The Crystalate Manufacturing Company.

The first series used Grammavox masters (Sound Recording Compamy) and had a violet label with gold printing and had JA- prefixed catalogue numbers. These date to just prior to WWI.

The second series dates from 1919 to about 1922. These used "Popular" masters which also belonged to the Sound Recording Company. The catalogue series ran from 100, with no prefix. The labels were usually red, but, like Popular, the colour could vary depending on the paper the company could get.

Finally, in the mid-1920s the label made its third appearance, the masters now being Crystalate's own, also issued on Imperial. Just to confuse things, these also used a 100- series catalogue range. The labels were red with gold printing (similar in style to the second image here). Many, if not all, are just pasted over standard Imperial pressings. Sometimes these have the same catalogue number as the original Imperial issue.

Thanks to Rainer Lotz for the scan of the pale blue/green style, and to Norman Field for the 1920s paste-over image.

Operaphone Despite the label name, nothing operatic was ever issued on it. The fare was the usual popular song, music hall and orchestra music to be found on other cheap records of the period. They were pressed in Germany from Bel Canto (and other) masters during 1913-14.


Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt and Rainer Lotz for providing the label photos.

Oriole This was another attempt at the record market by Levy's of London (see Levaphone). The first of 4 different series of Oriole records were released in May & June 1927, and 15 different records were released, though the recordings generally dated from a year or two earlier. They were all from American Vocalion's "race" catalogue and numbered 1000 to 1012 plus 2000 and 2001 for 4 sides by white cabaret artists.  

The P-100 series dates from the early 1930s and the label is either gold (see example) or silver.

In the mid-1930s, there was a short-lived LV-100 series, gold labelled with the same design as the earlier 30s P- series. These were re-issued in the 1950s as LB-series, using the original masters and a new-design of label in Black with silver printing.
Then in the 1950s, they used a CB-catalogue series, reissuing (again) the 1930s sides and then also new recordings, selling for 5/9.

Our Flag One of many hard-to-find pre-WWI labels, Our Flag was pressed by Kalliope in Germany using their own masters and those provided by J. Blum & Co.. They were sold though Philip Waldman of 249, Old Street, London from 1913 to 1914 when WWI put a stop to all German imports..

  B     D     F     H      K     M                   W &  Z

To Top of Page