Héctor Lorenzo Lucci

Victor's little dog

inety three years have passed since the appearance of the symbol which made a fox-terrier dog turn into the most popular and well-known dog in the world.

Circumstances plus coincidences helped Nipper to become the most important part of the most famous commercial symbol up to date. The happy idea of the English painter Francis Barraud to shape with oil painting on canvas the scene he observed a dozen times from his house, originated when he received by inheritance, among other things, a phonograph with wax cylinders and the dog Nipper which had belonged to his brother, who had died a short time before.

So when Barraud played on the phonograph one of the cylinders recorded with his brother's voice, he saw that Nipper approached the horn and, while looking at it attentively, listened to the voice of his old master. That precise circumstance was captured by Barraud's painting. As simple as truthful its title is: His Master's Voice; it happened in 1895.

Some time later that work was offered by its author to the Edison Bell Co. from London, but the offer was rejected by that company which had invented the cylinder-phonograph.

Faced with that negative to buy it, Francis Barraud hung the painting on one of the walls of his workshop. So it remained for four years until Mr William B. Owen, who learnt about this work, appeared before the painter to suggest Barraud to replace 1877 Edison's cylinder-phonograph by the disc-gramophone invented by Emile Berliner in 1888. So did Barraud. He covered the phonograph image by superimposing the gramophone painted picture. It was 1899 when the work was bought by the small modest Gramophone company, where William B. Owen was advertising and public relations manager.

Since the acquisition of such work, both the Gramophone company and Nipper began to be seen all over the world because all products manufactured by the company bore, without exception, this funny symbol which in this decade will be a hundred years old.

Since the first acoustical recordings on wax matrixes up to the present laser, compact or digital recordings, they had, have and will surely have Nipper seated in front of a horn as a symbol of sound recording and playing.