Victoria



Jennifer Mueller, a historian living in Ottawa, documented the tangled history of "Ideal" and "Victoria" phonographs manufactured by the Regal Phonograph Company Limited, Toronto, Ontario in two articles published in 2006 in Antique Phonograph News - Part 1 and Part 2. This is an excerpt from Part 1 regarding the "Victoria" brand:

The Regal Phonograph Company was established in 1915 by E.A. Stevenson. Edwin Alexander Stevenson (1883-1947) was born in Ontario but began his career in Rhode Island with the sales department of the Columbia Phonograph Company in 1906. Stevenson subsequently moved to Columbiaís Toronto office. In 1915 he became a salesman with Nordheimer Piano and Music Company in the talking machine department of their Toronto store, located at 220 Yonge Street. Around the same time, Stevenson started the Regal Phonograph Co., working out of a phonograph repair shop at 43 Queen Street East. He produced a phonograph called the "Victoria", a name chosen in obvious imitation of the "Victrola".

There is very little information available about the "Victoria", other than the fact that Stevenson assembled the machines from parts purchased wholesale. It was described at the time as "a very good machine, a machine of good tone, ... and would be an ornament in any home." Unfortunately, Stevensonís attempts to market the "Victoria" landed him in court and resulted in a conviction for fraud. Instead of finding retailers to sell the machine, Stevenson secured several women to act as agents. The agents bought the phonographs from Stevenson for $80.00. They were instructed to sell the phonographs from their homes as if they were selling a single used item. Stevenson then placed advertisements in newspapers which offered a used Victrola-style talking machine, original price $250.00, for the bargain price of $90.00. This price allowed the agents a "profit" of $10.00. Since the machine was a new "Victoria" phonograph the advertisements were fraudulent. The agents continued the deception by showing the buyer a forged receipt for the $250.00 and sometimes substituted a different machine than the one originally viewed. Stevenson was charged in March 1916 and was convicted in April. He paid $500 in bail (approximately $8,000 today) and was given a suspended sentence. Not surprisingly, Stevenson ceased to manufacture the "Victoria".



Jennifer Mueller's Victoria upright phonograph




Toronto Daily Star newspaper, January 25, 1922 p. 2. Display ad by Heintzman & Co. Limited, Toronto, illustrating a Victoria tabletop phonograph.



Detail of the January 25 ad.



R.S. Williams and Sons Co., Ltd. ad in the Toronto Daily Star newspaper, January 4, 1927 p. 24 listing used phonographs including a cabinet model Victoria.



Toronto Daily Star newspaper, November 16, 1928 p. 36. Display ad by Wentworth Radio and Auto Supply Co. Limited, Toronto, including the sale of a Victoria phonograph in fumed oak.

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