Victor was a prolific classical, opera, pop, jazz, blues and country label launched circa 1901 in the USA by Victor Talking Machine Co.. In 1929, the company was bought by RCA. In 1946, the Victor label was replaced by the new RCA Victor label in most of the world. In Japan, however, the Victor label continued to exist; currently it is owned by Tokyo company Victor Entertainment, Inc.
For unofficial releases, use Victor (4).
• 1898: Francis Barraud paints "His Master's Voice", depicting his dog Nipper listening to a gramophone
• 1899: Barraud's painting licensed to The Gramophone Co. Ltd. in the UK; it is used on marketing materials (1899), later on records (1901 for the "His Master's Voice" phrase, 1909 for painting)
• 1900: Eldridge R. Johnson markets records on his labels Improved Gram-O-Phone Record and Improved Record
• 1901 (Jan.): Eldridge R. Johnson briefly markets records on his label Victor Ten Inch Record, then launches the Victor Monarch Record label
• 1901 (Oct.): Consolidated Talking Machine Company reorganized as Victor Talking Machine Co., still based in Camden, NJ, USA but only pressing records in Philadelphia
• 1901 (late) or 1902 (early/mid): Victor label launched by Victor Talking Machine Co.
• 1902: Victor labels begin using the Nipper logo, a simplified engraving the of "His Master's Voice" painting
• 1903: Victor Monarch Record is replaced by the Monarch Record and De Luxe labels for larger records; both use Nipper logo
• 1903 (Mar.): red versions of labels (often marked "Red Seal") launched to market premium-priced recordings by famous classical & opera performers; see Victor Red Seal
• 1905 (Mar.): Monarch Record and De Luxe labels retired; Victor now used for all sizes
• 1905 or 1907: Manufacturing plant in Camden, NJ opened (starting 1929, could be considered RCA Records Pressing Plant, Camden)
• 1908: Victrola label launched for the priciest Red Seal records and to promote the first Victrola console phonographs introduced in 1906
• 1908: the first double-sided Victor records released
• 1923: the first double-sided Victor Red Seal records released
• 1924 (Mar.): Canadian branch established as Victor Talking Machine Co. Of Canada Limited
• 1925 (mid): electrical recording begins, indicated by V.E. oval stamp in runout area
• 1925 (late): electrical recording first promoted as "VE" and "Orthophonic Recording" on record labels & sleeves
• 1927 (Sep.): Japanese branch established as 日本ビクター蓄音器株式會社 (Victor Gramophone Co. Of Japan Ltd, a.k.a. Victor Talking Machine Co. Of Japan, Ltd., later shortened to Victor Company Of Japan, Ltd.)
• 1929: Radio Corporation Of America (RCA) acquires Victor Talking Machine Company and its brands
• 1929: US label rim text reads "Victor Talking Machine Division - Radio-Victor Corporation Of America"
• 1930–1934: US label rim text reads "RCA Victor Company, Inc."
• 1934 (late): Canadian branch becomes RCA Victor Company, Ltd.
• 1934–1939: US label rim text reads "RCA Manufacturing Co., Inc."
• 1939–1942: US label rim text reads "RCA Victor Division Of Radio Corporation Of America" (some releases are filed under just RCA Victor Division)
• 1942–1946: US label rim text reads "Radio Corporation Of America"
• 1942 (Oct.): 10" pop catalog number format adopts "20-" prefix
• 1945 (late): Victor logotype replaced by RCA Victor logotype in advertisements
• 1946 (Jan.): Victor label replaced on records by RCA Victor; January 1946 was the last month the Victor label was regularly used outside of Japan
Additional guidance for submitters:
If the original "Victor" logotype appears on a 78 RPM record, it cannot have been made later than approximately January 1946, and if it also mentions RCA or Radio Corporation of America, it cannot be from earlier than 1929. Likewise, if the "RCA Victor" logotype appears on any record, it cannot have been made prior to 1946. Keep this in mind when editing release dates, and use the Reissue tag where appropriate.
First-edition release dates through the 1920s can often be researched at UCSB's American Discography Project; they used Victor's own internal paperwork as source material. Be careful not to confuse recording dates with release dates, though, and don't use the original release dates for represses/reissues.
In the 1960s and beyond, sometimes RCA Victor branding was split such that logos for "RCA" and "Victor" were on the same surface but somewhat separate. These should still be considered a representation of the RCA Victor label, as per forum discussion. A common combination in this era had logos for "RCA" on the packaging and for both "RCA" and "Victor" on the media—in this case, both RCA and RCA Victor should be entered as labels, with a release note along the lines of "RCA on sleeve, RCA Victor on labels". Do not use Victor as a label on these items.
On records bearing Victor or Victrola labels, the dog & phonograph drawing and the quotation "His Master's Voice" were all part of the Victor branding; don't misinterpret it as the UK label His Master's Voice.