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Little Wonder Record

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Henry Waterson (in business partnership with Ted Snyder and the famous songwriter Irving Berlin) introduced these unsleeved 5 1/2 inch diameter mini-records in 1914; the line survived until 1923 and Columbia did the pressings. Contrary to many published accounts, Waterson did not conceive of or develop the Little Wonder Record. Court documents clearly show that the record was largely created by Columbia's chief recording engineer, Victor Hugo Emerson. Emerson would establish his own company, the Emerson Phonograph Company Inc., and release small diameter records on his own Emerson Records (2) label.

Most of the artists on Little Wonder Records were anonymous [possibly to avoid the bother of royalty payments], but were well-known Columbia artists such as Al Jolson, Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band and Frank Crumit as well as studio freelancers such as Henry Burr, Peerless Quartette, Collins And Harlan and Sam Ash. However, Little Wonder released distinct recordings, not dubs of the 10" issues.

The earliest ones had etched "labels", before the more usual paper ones were used (starting with record NO. 435). Marketed through dime stores at 10 cents each (less than a quarter of the selling price of regular 10 inch records), they sold by the millions. The numbers (catalogue & matrix being the same) started at 1 and ran to 1776.

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