Which is which?


There were advertisements during early 1900's promoting the realism of the talking machine.

But in the 1908 "Which is which?" advertising campaign by The Victor Talking Machine Company the question was directly asked of consumers: Can you really tell the difference between the actual performer and the Victor record?

The "Which is which?" text was graphically positioned between an artist and a Victor machine followed by the answer that "You think you can tell the difference...But can you?"

Examples then followed of various venues where listeners were "delighted" where they thought they were listening to the singers themselves, or "craning their necks to get a glimpse of the singer," or "rushing from all directions to see the singer..." But in each case the source of the "beautiful voices" was a "Victor."

Consumers were offered the consolation regarding their mistakes with the explanation that "Even in the Victor laboratory, employees often imagine they are listening to a singer making a record while they really hear the Victor."

And the final advice? "Why not hear the Victor for yourself? Any Victor dealer will gladly play any Victor Records you want to hear."


Madame Melba, 1908


Enrico Caruso, 1908


Antonio Scotti, 1908


Marcella Sembrich, 1908


Geraldine Farrar, Colliers, 1908


Forty years later - "Which is which?" asked again, this time by Columbia.

"Say, which one am I?" cried Frank Sinatra. This Columbia Record is more me than me!"


"This Columbia Record is more me than me!" cried Frank Sinatra. Columbia Records, 1947.