Columbia Records Factory (1935-1957)

After the dissolution of the Columbia Graphophone Company, Juan Inurrieta embarked on his solo venture. The first general catalog of the factory, published in 1936 and containing all the albums released until the end of December 1935, included a notice that read, “The words Columbia, Graphophone, Two musical notes, Radiofonola, Fonorradiola, Iberia, Apollo, are duly registered to designate records, electronic devices, needles, etc. The management.

This catalog featured numerous references to the Regal label, which had been used by the “Columbia Graphophone Company SAE.” However, from that point on, these records were once again labeled as Columbia. These were the records whose matrices were not owned by the British company and included Spanish music, spoken word archives, zarzuelas, folk music, and more. Notable among the records of Basque music to which new references were assigned are the first commercial album recorded by improvisers (Asteasu y Txirrita N 1176, formerly RS 53811), as well as bands like the Irutxulo and the Municipal Band of San Sebastian, the Pello Errota Group, the Choirs from San Sebastian and the Poxpoliñas, the “Usurbe” quartet, the pipers from Regil, the Ochote Sietecallero of Bilbao, the Orfeón Donostiarra, the Schola Cantorum Saint Cecily from Bilbao, and the triki-trixas from Elgoibar, Gipuzkoa, and Zumarraga, as well as the txistu performers from Renteria and San Sebastian, among others. All of these had previously been published under the Regal label.

All manufacturing processes were carried out within the premises of the Columbia Records Factory, which encompassed various departments, including printing and a laboratory. The labels affixed to the records and the record sleeves were produced in-house at the factory’s printing department. Moreover, a chemical department was responsible for creating the matrices of the records. The bath used for making matrices also served the dual purpose of manufacturing gramophone needles and knitting needles. Additionally, the factory boasted a recording studio where they captured the most popular music. In fact, Columbia’s recordings reached far-flung locations like Angola, where they conducted recording sessions for Portugal. They even contemplated the possibility of establishing a factory in Angola.