The 78rpm Home Page - Edison Stars

You will often find Edison Diamond Discs with red stars in the middle of the title area. This does not denote a big performing star or a big star of a song. Rather, it is a record that the Edison people were predicting would be a dog. A non-seller. It was a record that dealers were not required to stock and was not subject to full credit if returned as unsold.

[So, are we saying that Edison invented the cutout bin?]

Actually not, because the rules were VERY STRICT. There was to be NO DISCOUNTING AT ALL. For ANY reason. What I had meant to say above is that the red star records could NOT be retuned to the Edison company for full credit or ANY credit! Also, if the red star record did not sell, the dealer could not discount it to get rid of it. Full list price only. That is, until 1929. And then, perhaps we CAN say that Edison invented the cut-out bin--but it was the COMPANY he was cutting out! But even then you will notice that after only a few months of close-out prices they DISTROYED all remaining stock.

We have all heard of the lowering of single-sided Red Seal prices in the early 20s when they were reissued as double-sided pressings, but do some of you who have read through the trade press of the time know when the cutout bin really WAS invented? Other than Columbia selling off stock to the Chicago mail order companies for relabeling and spindle hole drilling, the closest thing I can think of is the little yellow stickers I've seen two or three times on a Columbia blue label acoustical: "Retired Record 39c" Has anyone else seen these, and does anyone know who did them? Was it Columbia itself?

Article courtesy Mike Biel (