The company's first advertisement from 1909. Even at this early stage, the company was selling records to be played on its "talking machines". Visionary Thinking: The Story of Canada's Electrohome, Raymond Stanton, 1997 Canadian Corporate Histories, page 17.
Talking Machine World, August 15, 1918, p. 53: "The Phonola Co., of Canada, Ltd., which firm take over the phonograph business of the Pollock Mfg. Co., Ltd., of Kitchener, Ont., announce this month the first list of Phonola records. The Phonola firm, in addition to the parent factory at Kitchener, recently finally completed a transaction whereby they become owners of a factory at Elmira, especially equipped for the production of cabinets. This new addition will take care of the greatly increased demand for the Phonola."
Talking Machine World, September 15, 1918, p. 36: "All details of the transaction have been completed whereby the phonograph business of the Pollock Mfg. Co., Ltd., is transferred to the Phonola Co. of Canada, Ltd. The latter firm is putting into immediate effect an aggressive business policy and proposes to materially enlarge the output of the Phonola Phonograph and the Phonola record."
Talking Machine World, August 15, 1919, p. 115: "A solid brick addition, forty by one hundred feet, is being erected at the cabinet plant at Elmira, Ont., of the Phonola Co., of Canada. Ltd. President A. B. Pollock expects to occupy the new building within two months and a material increase in the output of cabinets will at once be possible."
Talking Machine World, October 15, 1919, p. 27: "A. B. Pollock General Manager and Otto Heineman, president of the General Phonoraph Corporation, New York, announced recently that the company had purchased the factory of the Pollock Mfg. Co., Kitchener, Out., Canada. The factory passed into immediate possession of the company and Arthur B. Pollock, who was the head of the Pollock Mfg. Co., will remain as genral manager. The Kitchener, Ont., plant of the General Phonoraph Corp. will manufacture a complete line of motors, tone arms and sound boxes for the conumption of the company's Canadian trade and for shipment to the British Empire. The motors that will be manufactured will be partly the Heineman type and partly a new design made especially for the Canadian trade. Quantity deliveries will start approximately January 1, 1920. A new building has already been started and the plant will be considerably enlarged to take care of the demands of the Canadian trade. The tremendous demand for Heineman products in the Dominion of Canada influenced Mr. Heineman to purchase the Pollock factory so that Canadian manufacturers may receive enhanced service and co-operation. The Canadian office of the company, which is under the management of C. J. Pott, has achieved remarkable success, and new contracts are being signed daily whereby the leading phonograph manufacturers in Canada will be able to secure Heineman motors to meet their requirements. The purchase of the Pollock factory at Kitchener, Ont., gives the General Phonograph Corp. an imposing chain of manufacturing plants. Every factory is working to capacity and the output is increasing."
Talking Machine World, June 15, 1925, p. 154: "Pollock-Welker, Ltd., a recently formed company with an Ontario charter, has purchased the factory, plant and business of the General Phonograph Corp., Ltd., at Kitchener, Ont., and will continue specializing in the manufacture of Helycon phonograph motors, tone-arms and reproducers, which are so favorably known to the trade in Canada and on the other side of the line. The principals of the newly organized corporation have been active in the business of phonograph manufacture for many years. Arthur B. Pollock is one of the pioneers of the industry. Alexander H. Welker has been associated with Mr. Pollock in motor development and production and when the General Phonograph Corp., Ltd., purchased the business of the Pollock Mfg. Co., Ltd., a few years ago. Mr. Welker continued the factory superintendency while Mr. Pollock was general manager. In order to create an outlet for one of their models of the Helycon motor, Pollock-Welker, Ltd., are introducing a portable phonograph.
Roll Back The Years, by Edward Moogk, National Library of Canada, 1975:
The Manufacturing Company of Berlin, Ontario [the city patriotically changing its name to Kitchener in 1916, notes KW] was manufacturing talking machines labeled 'Phonola' before June 1914 when they began importing Phonotopia, Odeon and Jumbo records. Records would later be produced under the Phonola label. In 1915 they began constructing speakers "based on the principle of the pipe organ...The series of chambers employed were in varied sizes determined by scientific calculation. The new Phonola model...[was] called the Organola....In the Fall of 1919, the General Phonograph Corporation of New York...purchased Pollock's phonograph factory in Kitchener. Arthur B. Pollock was to remain manager of the factory...In August, 1925, the Phonola Company of Canada, Elmira, began to manufacture the Grimes receiving sets for the Canadian Trade."
(images from the above publication)
Pages 66, 106 and 55
Text of the above:
"The Phonola Motor is of the latest improved design "direct spiral drive with worm-gear governor." Only two wheels perform the transmission of power from the spring to the main-shaft and there to the governor. Both wormgear spindles are milled, hardened, ground and polished. The power of the spring is consumed in reproducing the record and not in the production of noise. Noise in a motor means consumption of power. The best material and workmanship are used in the manufacture of these motors. They run absolutely noiselessly, govern perfectly and if handled with care due a good piece of machinery will never get out of order."
"At the same time [April 1915], the Pollock Manufacturing Company Co. prepared to bring out a new idea in sound reproduction, the brain child of Alex A. Welker, secretary-treasurer of the company, who had made a special study of tone reproduction and acoustics. Construction of the speaker was based on the principle of the pipe organ, applied in a manner that would amplify and purify the tones produced. The series of chambers employed were in varied sizes determined by the scientific calculation. The new Phonola model was introduced in August 1915 an called Orgonola."
Two from page 109
Note: the Kitchener plant goes from A. B. Pollock in 1907 to Pollock Mfg. to Pollock-Welker in 1925; the Elmira plant goes from A. B. Pollock in 1907 to Pollock Mfg. to Phonola in 1917.
From Bob Kerstein [who seems to have missed the Phonola name]:
In 1907, Electrohome Ltd. was founded by Arthur Pollock. Electrohome evolved from a manufacturer of phonographs, radios, furniture and televisions, to a maker of high-resolution projections systems, owner of media properties - including CKCO-TV - and a holding company. In 1998, following the sale of its media assets to Baton Broadcasting, Electrohome was split into two companies: Electrohome Ltd., which continued to manufacture projection systems, and Electrohome Broadcasting Inc., a holding company for the 11.9 percent of the stock of CTV held by Electrohome.
According to a June 2008 article in the Kitchener "Record":
In 1907, Arthur B. Pollock came back to Berlin from New York with the rights to a hornless phonograph, acquired from Herman Schroeder, who was competing with the likes of Thomas Edison in the rapidly developing home entertainment market. Pollock joined forces with Alex Welker, a young engineer, to build the new-fangled phonograph and sell it across Canada Their company was called Pollock Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The name changed to Dominion Electrohome Industries Ltd. in 1933 and was later shortened to Electrohome Ltd. The complete article and another about the coming demise of Electrohome are here
From Visionary Thinking: The Story of Canada's Electrohome, Raymond Stanton, 1997 Canadian Corporate Histories [with additions]:
Nineteen year-old Arthur Bell (A. B.) Pollock left his job as book-keeper of a dry goods store in Berlin, Ontario [the city patriotically changed its name to Kitchener in 1916] in 1896 for New York city to seek a better life. There he joined two friends from Berlin High School, one of whom was A.B.'s future brother-in-law, Charles Harry Boehmer [A.B. married Rosie Boehmer, September 2, 1902 in Waterloo, ON]. A.B. became the private secretary of Tennant Putnam, who was treasurer of the New York Yacht Club and president of the Manhattan Club. It is suggested that this allowed A.B. to come into contact with Herman Schroeder [sic], who was trying to market inside-horn gramophone-style machines. Schroeder, we’re told, was finding it difficult and expensive to market his machines in the US and when A.B. told him there were no such machines in Canada, Schroeder allegedly suggested to him that he should begin such a business. In 1906, A.B. returned to Berlin with a supply of parts (motors, tone arms and reproducers) from Schroeder. Lacking the necessary mechanical skills to make the machines, he turned to Alex Welker who, it’s reported, helped Milton and Nelson Good manufacture the LeRoy automobile in Berlin, Ontario from 1899 to 1904. By 1909, A.B. was able to give up selling insurance to concentrate on gramophone sales and formed the Pollock Manufacturing Company with himself, his brother James [presumably the “J.B.” involved in the patent case below], Boehmer, Boehmer’s brother August, and Welker as directors.
Charles Harry Boehner and A.B. Pollock, photographed in New York about 1900 from Visionary Thinking: The Story of Canada's Electrohome, Raymond Stanton, 1997 Canadian Corporate Histories, page 10.
Click on the picture below to see the diagram from Canadian patent CA 105611 under “Hermann Schröder (United States of America)”, filed 1907-04-08.
Quick history from all of the above plus from a summary of the documents available from the University of Waterloo Library:
1907: A.B. Pollock founds the Pollock Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in Kitchener (then Berlin) to make phonographs [Under the brand “Phonola”. Later, a woodworking plant in Elmira was acquired for the construction of phonograph cabinets].
1917: The Phonola Company of Canada Limited was formed to continue the phonograph-assembly and record business.
1920s: Pollock's firm begins to market electric and portable phonographs.
1925: Establish Grimes Radio Corporation Limited to produce and sell Grimes radios in Canada.
1933: The company name is changed to Dominion Electrohome Industries Ltd. and the Electrohome brand is introduced for products ranging from fans to food mixers.
1939: The outbreak of war brings contracts for everything from radio sets to wooden aircraft components.
1949: C.A. Pollock launches radio station CFCA-FM, followed in 1954 by the more successful television station CKCO.
1980s: Electrohome sells several divisions, including home-comfort products, furniture and motor manufacturing, and focuses on broadcasting and commercial video products.
1997: CKCO and the company's interest in the CTV television network are sold to Baton Broadcasting [Not quite right as the company's Kitchener and Edmonton TV and radio stations were folded into Baton Broadcasting at this time in return for cash and a stake in Baton, which had taken control of the CTV trademark.].
1999: Electrohome sells its digital projection systems business to Christie Digital.
2004: Christie Digital buys Electrohome's last manufacturing plant on Wellington Street in Kitchener.
2007: The Redmond Group of Companies signs a deal to buy the Electrohome trademarks.
In 2010 ELECTROHOME was acquired by CWD® a Niagara Falls, Ontario-based consumer electronics manufacturer.
They have website with a page in homage to the history here: http://www.electrohome.com/heritage/
When it eventually disappears, it is copied here.
There is also a page in homage to the old firm and its plants here.
Apparently in 1915 Berliner took Phonola (Pollock) to court regarding patent infringement. Pollock won the point that Berliner at that time was illegally importing and had not used the Canadian patents with 12 months. Toronto World, Nov. 11, 1915 pg 6:
Machine ("Special" No.2) for sale September, 2006 (photos by KW):
Hulk of another "Special No. 2" for sale at the Guy Lombardo Museum auction in London, ON, January, 2015 [pics by KW]:
(Two pictures of the plates were required to capture all deatils)
Machine for sale June, 2007 (photos by KW):
Sign at same sale:
Machine ("Duke") owned by Keith Wright (I like to point this out: this machine was a gift from my wife before we were married. It was my first machine. That means that my subsequent collection is all HER fault. Photos by KW.):
Records in Keith Wright's collection. Note that they started off as hill-and-date records hence the 'lateral cut' notation on one:
Ron Hodgson of Ottawa contributes the following photos regarding his machine, a "Duchess" serial # H24770 and another lateral record:
Canadian Music Trades Journal, July, 1914, p. 36.
CMTJ, January, 1915, p. 32.
CMTJ, March, 1918, p. 44.
Canadian Music Trades Journal August 1918, pp 106-107, showing the factories.
Toronto Daily Star, January 11, 1919, p. 10.
CMTJ, May, 1919, p. 60.
CMTJ, June, 1919, p. 70.
CMTJ, August, 1919, p. 72.
The Globe, December 13, 1919. Image digitally enhanced by Hopkin Design.
Toronto Daily Star, February 27, 1925, p. 29. This 1925 ad indicates that Phonola is now selling Grimes radios and including a radio in one of its console model phonographs. The ad also tells us that Phonola has been making phonographs "for 18 years" which would make 1907 the starting year.
Cyril Penton of Summerside PEI, sends the following pictures of his later wind-up Phonola as well as the following story:
... as I mentioned, mywife Heather and I bought it at a yard sale ... we were more interested in it as a potential piece of furniture ...the previous owner, an older gent, remarked that there was a crank that belonged to it "somewhere" in his home ... he said if he found it, where could he contact us ... Heather replied simply that she worked in the local branch of the TD bank ... no name, phone number, etc. ... about a week later she was at work ... it was quiet and no customers at the moment ... the elderly gent walked in waving the crank and called out loudly enough for all the staff to hear him "did anyone here buy a gramophone at a yard sale last Saturday?" ... Heather waved him over and he gave her the crank with a broad grin and a "knew I had it in the house somewhere!" ... little did we realize at the time what an essential part of the Phonola it was."
Phonola may have also supplied hardware to other manufacturers. This soundbox is on a machine marked for Symphonola (picture KW).
"Chippendale" for sale through ebay July, 2008:
"Princess" for sale through Winnipeg classifieds January, 2009:
Machine labelled "The Phonola Co., of Can. Ltd., Model Special No. 5, Serial Number 61837, Registered July 11, 1907" for sale online May, 2011:
Machine from the "company's first advertisement from 1909" for sale, Aberfoyle, May 2013. "Crown Prince" from "Pollock Manufacturing Co.". Looks like a VTLA from Victor (first Victrola). Sorry, couldn't get the record storage doors open. (Pics by KW)
On the Brantola page Betty Pratt has mentioned about Frank Stanley:
Wayne Kelly's Downright Upright, p. 120 says that Stanley took over the Cecilian Piano Co. in 1922, but then went out of business two years later when Mason & Risch bought out their stock. I have an address for Stanley Piano factory at 121-135 De Grassi St., and store at 14 Temperance St., Toronto on an illustrated pamphlet. Another letterhead from Frank Stanley Oct. 1920, says they are agents for Brunswick Phonographs and Records at 241 Yonge St.
Plate from under the lip of the turntable.
Portable for sale at Cambridge Antiques 2013/2014 (pics KW):
Not to be confused with the US Waters Conley Phonola which is shown here.
From Lance Husoy a Phonola Special No. 1 with an impossibly low serial number, 3, for sale in Vancouver, B.C. in 2023.
An upright Phonola with an unusual hinged door recess for the crank.