The Flat Disk Replaces the Cylinder and the Battle of Speeds

The brand new Victrola XI was the star of the 1913 Eaton's Catalogue and was sold at the same price as in the 1912 Berliner Gramophone catalogue. In 1913-14, Eaton's offered the popular Victrola VIII and IX. Since consumers preferred records to the cumbersome cylinders because they were easier to store and less fragile, the company stopped selling cylinder phonographs in 1914.

In 1917-18, Eaton's offered His Master's Voice gramophones, and, starting in 1918, devoted a whole page in the catalogue to Victor and Columbia records. In 1919-20, the company sold floor models of gramophones under the brand name of Symphony, which was changed to Eatonola the following year. Portable record players in suitcases were introduced in 1924 and sold for several years.

Until the end of the 1930s, the Eaton's Catalogue featured only mechanical gramophones. The Victor Orthophonic, marketed as a revolution in sound technology, was introduced in 1925 by Victor Talking Machine. By 1929-30, Eaton's was selling the new Model 43 Victor Orthophonic. In its 1939-40 catalogue, Eaton's offered the first electric model record player, under its own brand name, Viking; this model included a radio. Table models of Viking record players were released in 1946. The following year, Eaton's offered the Astra, a model that featured a radio and a record player and was very modern in design. In the early 1950s, the company still sold a battery-operated combined model for homes without electricity.

"Battle of the Speeds"

The late 1940s saw the emergence of the "speed war." In 1948, Columbia introduced the long-playing record (33 rpm on vinyl) to replace the 78 rpm. RCA Victor responded the following year by launching the 45 rpm.

In 1952-53, Eaton's offered the popular RCA Victor record player, which was made of plastic and appeared on the market at the same time as the 45 rpm. This model could be connected to a radio or television speaker. At the time, record players had three speeds - 33, 45 and 78 rpm - and Eaton's introduced its first Viking model with that feature.
by Nicole Cloutier

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