Victor

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The Victor Talking Machine Company (1901–1929) was an American corporation, the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time. It was headquartered in Camden, New Jersey.

The company was founded by Eldridge R. Johnson, who had previously made phonographs to play Emile Berliner’s Berliner Gramophone records. Some sources also claim Berliner as a co-founder; others say Berliner was never connected with the Victor company, though that may have been part of a ruse by Johnson to defeat the Zonophone lawsuits that had put Berliner Gramophone out of business (in the U.S., but not in Canada, the UK, or Germany) and threatened Johnson’s phonograph business. (Zonophone had used patent ruses to defeat Berliner, the inventor of disc records, whose technology Zonophone had copied.) In any event, Victor ultimately acquired the remaining assets of Berliner Gramophone; it also acquired Zonophone after defeating it in court.

In 1926, Johnson sold his controlling (but not holding) interest in Victor to the banking firm of Seligman & Spyer, who in 1929 sold to the Radio Corporation of America, which then became known as the Radio-Victor Division of the Radio Corporation of America later RCA Victor. (See rca and RCA Records for later history of the Victor brand name.)

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