On this day:
1889 – Columbia Phonograph is formed in Washington, D.C.
Columbia Records (also known simply as Columbia) is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment (SME), a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc., the United States division of Sony Corporation. It was founded in 1887, evolving from an earlier enterprise named the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, being the second major record company to produce recorded records. Columbia Records went on to release records by an array of notable singers, instrumentalists, and bands. From 1961 to 1990, its recordings were released outside the U.S. and Canada by the CBS Records label (which was named after the Columbia Broadcasting System) to avoid confusion with the EMI label of the same name, before adopting the Columbia name internationally in 1990. It is one of Sony Music’s three flagship record labels alongside RCA Records and Epic Records.
Until 1989, Columbia Records had no connection to Columbia Pictures, which used various other names for record labels they owned, including Colpix Records, Colgems Records, Bell Records and later Arista Records. Rather, as above, it was connected to CBS (which stood for Columbia Broadcasting System), a broadcasting media company which had purchased the company in 1938, and had been co-founded in 1927 by Columbia Records itself. Though Arista Records was sold to Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), it would later become a sister label of Columbia Records through its mutual connection to Sony Music. Both Columbia Records and Columbia Pictures are connected through their parent company Sony Corporation of America, which is the parent of both the music and motion picture arms of Sony in the United States.
Artists currently signed to Columbia Records include but are not limited to Adele, A R Rahman, Barbra Streisand, Beyoncé, Bring Me the Horizon, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Calvin Harris, Celine Dion, Daft Punk, David Gilmour, Earl Sweatshirt, Electric Light Orchestra, Ella Henderson, Harry Styles, James Arthur, J. Cole, Juicy J, Lavengro, Little Mix, One Direction, Passion Pit, Patti Smith, Pharrell Williams, and the casts of Fox’s hit television shows Glee and Empire. In 2012, Columbia Records gained the highest label share on adult contemporary radio in the US, and was named the number-one adult contemporary label that year.
1927 – Teddy Wakelam gives the first live radio commentary of a football match anywhere in the world, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury.
Captain Henry Blythe Thornhill (Teddy) Wakelam (8 May 1893 – 10 July 1963) was an English sports broadcaster and rugby union player.
He played rugby for Harlequin F.C. and became its captain. On 15 January 1927 Wakelam gave the first ever running sports commentary on BBC radio, a Rugby International match, England v Wales (final score 11-9) at Twickenham. By today’s standard it sounded really odd: to give listeners an idea what it actually was they were hearing a picture was published in the Radio Times of the pitch divided in numbered squares. And as Wakelam described the run of play a voice in the background mentioned the square the play was happening in. It is believed the phrase “Back to Square One” comes from this, long abandoned, practice.
Wakelam was an expert on a wide variety of sports. A week after his broadcasting debut he and C.A. Lewis gave the first football commentary on British radio, Arsenal – Sheffield United, 1-1. Later in 1927 he would also cover cricket and Wimbledon. It was in London SW19 that he would prove to be an unflappable character: in the mid 1930s he accidentally set fire to his notes but kept on commentating as if nothing had happened.
The first sports commentator on BBC radio also became one of the first on BBC television in 1938, when he covered the test match at Lord’s. He also gave commentaries on boxing and even non sporting events like Tidworth Tattoo, but rugby union always remained his specialty. Only a handful of his commentaries have survived, but apparently Wakelam was quite a good reporter. John Arlott called him “a natural talker with a reasonable vocabulary, a good rugby mind and a conscious determination to avoid journalese.”
Teddy Wakelam also was rugby correspondent for The Morning Post. He wrote a number of books including ‘Harlequin Story’ (1954) about the history of his old club. He is namechecked in the title of a sports book, “After Captain Teddy” by Mike Jeffrey.
Born on this day:
1858 – Beatrice Webb, English sociologist and economist (d. 1943)
Martha Beatrice Webb, Baroness Passfield, FBA (née Potter; 22 January 1858 – 30 April 1943), was an English sociologist, economist, socialist, labour historian and social reformer. It was Webb who coined the term “collective bargaining”. She was among the founders of the London School of Economics and played a crucial role in forming the Fabian Society.
Beatrice Potter was born in Standish House in the village of Standish, Gloucestershire, the last but one of the nine daughters of businessman Richard Potter and Laurencina Heyworth, a Liverpool merchant’s daughter. Her paternal grandfather was Liberal Party MP Richard Potter, co-founder of the Little Circle which was key in creating the Reform Act 1832.
From an early age Beatrice was self-taught and cited as important influences the cooperative movement and the philosopher Herbert Spencer. After her mother’s death in 1882 she acted as a hostess and companion for her father. In 1882, she began a relationship with twice-widowed Radical politician Joseph Chamberlain, by then a Cabinet minister in Gladstone’s second government. He would not accept her need for independence as a woman and after four years of “storm and stress” their relationship failed. Marriage in 1892 to Sidney Webb established a lifelong “partnership” of shared causes. At the beginning of 1901 Beatrice wrote that she and Sidney were “still on our honeymoon and every year makes our relationship more tender and complete”.
One of Beatrice’s older sisters, Catherine, became a well-known social worker. After Catherine married Leonard Courtney (see Catherine Courtney, Baroness Courtney of Penwith), Beatrice took over her work as a voluntary rent-collector in the model dwellings at Katharine Buildings, Wapping, operated by the East End Dwellings Company.
Beatrice and Sidney Webb working together in 1895
The young Beatrice also assisted her cousin by marriage Charles Booth in his pioneering survey of the Victorian slums of London, work which eventually became the massive 17-volume Life and Labour of the People of London (1902-1903).
These experiences stimulated a critical attitude to current ideas of philanthropy.
In 1890 Beatrice Potter was introduced to Sidney Webb, whose help she sought with her research. They married in 1892, and until her death 51 years later shared political and professional activities. When her father died in January 1892, leaving Potter an endowment of £1,000 pounds a year, she had a private income for life with which to support herself and the research projects she pursued.
The Webbs became active members of the Fabian Society. With the Fabians’ support, Beatrice Webb co-authored books and pamphlets on socialism and the co-operative movement including The History of Trade Unionism (1894) and Industrial Democracy (1897).
In 1895, the Fabians used part of an unexpected legacy of £10,000 from Henry Hutchinson, a solicitor from Derby, to found the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Contributions to theory of co-operative movement
Beatrice Webb made a number of important contributions to the political and economic theory of the co-operative movement.
In her 1891 book The Cooperative Movement in Great Britain, based on her experiences in Lancashire, she distinguished between “co-operative federalism” and “co-operative individualism”. She identified herself as a co-operative federalist, a school of thought which advocates consumer co-operative societies. She argued that consumers’ co-operatives should be set up co-operative wholesale societies (by forming co-operatives in which all members are co-operatives, the best historical example being the English Co-operative Wholesale Society) and that these federal co-operatives should then acquire farms or factories.
Webb dismissed the idea of worker co-operatives where the people who did the work and benefited from it had some control over how it was organised, arguing that – at the time she was writing – such ventures had proved largely unsuccessful, at least in ushering in her form of socialism led by volunteer committees of people like herself. Examples of successful worker cooperatives did of course exist, then as now. In some professions they were the norm. However, the Webbs’ final book, The Truth About The Soviet Union (1942), celebrated central planning.
It was Webb who coined the term “collective bargaining”.
1865 – Wilbur Scoville, American chemist and pharmacist (d. 1942)
Wilbur Lincoln Scoville (January 22, 1865 – March 10, 1942) was an American pharmacist best known for his creation of the “Scoville Organoleptic Test”, now standardized as the Scoville scale.
He devised the test and scale in 1912 while working at the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company to measure pungency, “spiciness” or “heat”, of various chili peppers.
Scoville was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He married Cora B. Upham on September 1, 1891 in Wollaston (Quincy, Massachusetts). They had two children: Amy Augusta, born August 21, 1892 and Ruth Upham, born October 21, 1897.
Scoville wrote The Art of Compounding, which was first published in 1895 and has gone through at least 8 editions. The book was used as a pharmacological reference up until the 1960s. Scoville also wrote Extracts and Perfumes, which contained hundreds of formulations. For a time he was a professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. In 1912, he devised the test and scale known as the “Scoville Organoleptic Test” while working at the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company. It measured piquancy, or “spiciness”, of various chili peppers. It is now standardized as the Scoville scale.
In 1922, Scoville won the Ebert prize from the American Pharmaceutical Association and in 1929 he received the Remington Honor Medal. Scoville also received an honorary Doctor of Science from Columbia University in 1929.