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Title OkeH Records 1918 - 1920
. Some glimpses from the Talking Machine World, covering the frist two years of the famous OkeH Records founded by Otto Heinemann (The Motor of Quality...).

(all images are clickable for higher resolution)

The first (hill and dale or vertical cut) OkeH records had been announced by the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Supply Co., New York in May 1918.

July 1918

OkeH records had been made in the plant in Springfield, Mass.

Clifford Ridgley´s Sixty-ninth Regiment Band was one of the first Orchestras to record for OkeH in 1918.

OkeH records opened in late 1918 a bigger office in New York.

May 1919

Also the tenor Sam Ash and the Band of Patrick Conway recorded for Okeh records in the early days.

Another guest in the Okeh recording studios in 1919 was the Waldorf Astoria Orchestra led by Joseph Knecht.

In October 1919 OkeH introduced their lateral cut records.

February 1920

Soon afterwards they changed the Logo. For some months Okeh used the "old" and the new Logo. In Summer 1920 the Indian in the O had been gone...

Ray Miller´s Black and White Melody Boys - Kings of Syncopated Harmony (with Tom Brown from New Orelans on trombone) now also recorded for Okeh in 1920.

About the same time Okeh made the first Blues Record with Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds. But this is another story...

Otto Heineman, who founded the company which initially bore his name, later became the General Phonograph Corporation, and finally the OKeh Phonograph Corporation, was born in January, 1877 in Lüneberg, Germany. His earliest involvement in the phonograph industry was apparently in 1902 and was described in his own words:

In a small retail store in Berlin, Germany, two friends of mine and I had a few Zonophone phonographs on consignment, I think altogether six phonographs, and I remember the day when I was the proudest man in the world because I had sold my first machine. My joy did not last long because the machine came back three days later, for it did not work right. However, we did not lose our courage even if we lost our money.

Three months later, we were in the wholesale business, buying small phonograph machines from a German manufacturer and trying to export them—and we did. Russia in those days was a great field and one of our export shipments went to St. Petersburg, now known as Petrograd. I think we sold about fifty machines which we bought from this German manufacturer and my two friends and I packed same and so the first export shipment left. Money was rather scarce with us in those days and we were waiting every day for a check from our St. Petersburg friends to cover this shipment—so one day a letter arrived but no check and the explanation was that every machine in the shipment arrived in a broken condition—so we three partners decided that we might be good salesmen but we were certainly not good shipping clerks.

A year later, still the same three young men bought the factory for whom we originally jobbed the phonographs and from this little beginning (I think at that time the factory employed 25 men) arose a world wide phonograph company…

The factory referred to above was Carl Lindström A-G of Berlin of which Otto Heineman became a director. His first known connection with the United States was when he arrived New York on July 27, 1909 with his wife Recha (born 1880 in Frankfurt am Main), apparently as tourists. But it seems that the opportunities presented by the then rapidly expanding American economy did not go unnoticed, as he returned to the U.S. in June, 1914 with a view to establishing a business venture.

After that visit he returned to New York for the second time that year on November 27, 1914 with his brother Adolph. It seems that wartime conditions prevented their return to Germany and the Heineman brothers established an import business at 45 Broadway, New York. By 1918, the Otto Heineman Phonograph Supply Company, Inc. was a major supplier of motors, reproducers and other parts used in the manufacture of Phonographs.
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Posted by Grammophonteam

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