I do like packaging boxes, a design item which invariably gets thrown out. Something about old examples which have survived the ravages of time, generally having been put to some secondary use, seems to stick two fingers up to our throwaway society. This fascinating example finally gets onto ST33. Getting an antique dealer to sell me the box rather than the 78s within (they’d been using it to carry the records around from fair to fair for some time, and hadn’t thought the box itself was of any interest…) took some doing – but I managed to persuade them eventually.
It is a sturdy cardboard delivery box for Columbia 78 rpm records, used to ship stock – maybe two dozen discs – from factory to record shops via some sort of distribution system. Nicely decorated with the label’s famous ‘magic notes’ logo, the box has been secured by both branded Columbia tape (adhesive backed paper) as well as that from “Poly” Service, which looks like it was the specialist record distributor (their logo is a flying parrot holding a record!).
It seems to have been sent to a local Sheffield shop judging by the pencil scrawl on the base. Date? Probably second half of the 1920s, based on the fact that Columbia merged with EMI in 1931, and only began using the “No Scratch” claim after switching to electric recording around 1925.
If you want to see more vintage (non record) boxes, there’s a page on our sister site, easy on the eye. There is an 1927 HMV shipping box on this site, use the search button.