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THE BEGINNING OF THE RECORD INDUSTRY

IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY


THE FIRST RECORD FACTORY: "PATHÉ"

  

Salustiano Loinaz Susunaga was born on 8 June 1883. When he was just twenty-five, he set up his store in Irun, where he sold cloths and waterproofs for men and women at 22 San Marcial Street. In 1913 he moved with his widowed mother and two younger sisters to San Sebastian. He started up his business at his home, at 39 Prim Street1 where he sold cameras of the Ernemann Heinrich branch, bicycles, binoculars and other gadgets in installments. By 1915 he had already expanded his sales to the "talking machines" and Homokord label records. As we can see, he had a very similar career as Juan Inurrieta so far. 

According to the minutes of the Pathé board meetings, which were held monthly, on December 17th 1915, Émile Pathé reported the usefulness of entrusting the exclusive exploitation in Spain to the society "Pathéphone-Exploitation", with a number of conditions that would give them enough profit from the sold records. On January 21st 1916, the minutes of the meeting reported the agreement with the company “Pathéphone-Exploitation”. This society accepted the monopoly of Pathé goods in Spain with the obligation to establish a factory for the manufacture of the Pathé records in this country.

 

Pasajes Municipal Archives

 

On February 1st 1916, Mr. Augusto de Aguirre on behalf of the owner, Mr. Don Juan Insausti, refered the plans of the pavilion to be constructed to the City Council of Pasajes. The plans, dated on January 25th 1916, were signed not only by the owner and Mr. Aguirre, but also by the lessee, Mr. Loinaz and Co.

The factory was built in a hurry. On January 30th 1916, the local government in plenary session dealt with the application for this construction, in which a number of plans of the architect Mr. Aguirre were attached. In the minutes it was reported that "it is a factory to build records for gramophones and similar things." In this plenary session it is agreed to transfer this issue to the commission work to consider it; nevertheless, the beginning of the clearing-up operations in the foundations was allowed the next day, in response to "the urgency required by the case”. It was not until February 6th when the plans were approved. 

Mr. Luis Casares took charge of the running of this factory, Pathé Font. We suspect that this man may be the same Mr. Louis Casares who signed a contract to duplicate cylinders through the pantograph copy2 with Pathé Frères in 1899. Luis Casares was a mechanic from Granada who also manufactured cylinders in the early years of the twentieth century. His shop was at 30 Reyes Católicos Street in Granada. Some cylinders have been found with the label "Casares mecánico. Granada". They belonged not only to Luis Casares but also to A. Casares Aceituno, who announced his Phonographic Great Hall at 3 Puerta Real Street in the same city, and even some of these cylinders show a connection between the two names, " A. Casares, impresionado por Luis ". All this suggests that there might be a family relationship between them. It is known that one Louis Casares worked for Pathé Firm for some years, in its factory in Chatou to be exact, until 1902, when his agreement with the company finished. It is easy to understand that the factory management in Pasajes was left to a professional mechanic with experience in copy, since, although in this case they were not cylinders but records, in the factory in Pasajes, only copies from the matrices that were sent from abroad were manufactured and no recordings were made. In this way, the factory in Pasajes manufactured records from matrices recorded in Paris, Milan or New York.  

Soon the activity of the factory became more intense and more water was needed. On June 20th 1916 the manager, Mr. Casares, requested the council to treble the cubic meters of water per day. This request of more water, as it was shown in the report by the city engineer, met two needs: one, the pressing of records and, the other, the cooling. It is the latter activity that needed vast quantities of water. 

In the middle of 1916, S. Loinaz and Co. began to announce a new Pathéfono device with an inside-horn and Sapphire diaphragm “Pathé”, as well as double records of 27 and 29 centimeters of the same brand. In Spanish and Italian General Catalog of Pathé records of 27, 29 and 35 cm of diameter in 1916-1917 Loinaz appeared as licensed for the sale in installments in Spain.

In 1917 the "Explotación española Pathéfono San Sebastián"3 began to ask agencies throughout Spain for the sale of their products. In April of that year, the firm Casa Inurrieta, as mentioned above, was listed as agency for sale them in San Sebastian, and even they announce, with the title "A new industry in Spain”, the exhibition and sale of Pathé records and devices manufactured in Pasajes at their store.  

Mundo Gráfico, May 30th, 1917

A month earlier, on March 22nd 1917, Salustiano Loinaz and Juan Inurrieta had joined together to buy a site in the district of Antiguo in San Sebastian from Angela and Clemente Balda, in order to build another factory for the exploitation of Pathéfono in San Sebastian. The undivided third part of this area belonged to Salustiano, which, as far as we are aware, he sold it to Andrés Peña later, on July 22nd 1921. 

On May 6th 1917, Messrs Loinaz, Inurrieta and Company requested permission to start building the factory to the City Council of San Sebastian, according to the plans by Miguel Irastorza. The factory to be built was only going to be used for storage, as it can be seen in the project. The building was located in front of the brewery of Mr. Kutz, next to the road leading from Benta Berri road to Igueldo4 .

Archive of the City of San Sebastian

The business went well and the extension of the factory in Pasajes was needed. On June 4th 1918, the construction of another building in Pasajes, between the Pathé factory and the viaduct (1 de Mayo Street), was requested to the City Council. The only promoter in this application was Loinaz and Company. The business was expanding and this year new models of devices were introduced, as Pathéfono "Concert", with mahogany furniture and inside-horn too.

In 1924, the name was changed. It was advertised with the name "Sociedad Española del Pathéfono" with factory in Pasajes and it became public limited company5 .

Regarding the repertoire of this label, in addition to arias from operas, they published mainly zarzuelas, couplets and dance music for Spanish market. In June 1917 they announced their latest double-sided records of 27 cm: recordings by the Bella Ninon, the tenor Leo Slezak, modern dances (one or two step and foxtrots), waltz and national anthems. The catalogue of July this year announced new recordings by La Preciosilla, the tenor Icilio Calleja, Crespo and it repeated the songs by the Bella Ninon and Leo Slezak. It was also added the violin solos by Rudenyi and the cello solos by Hollmann. In March 1919 it was advertised the complete opera Faust into 28 double discs in the press. In 1924 its repertoire includeed some tangos recorded by Francisco Spaventa, songs by Amalia Molina, Encarnita Marzal and Lolita Méndez and monologues by Mariano Ozores; also dance music by the Tziganes Ibarra Orchestra from Palace Hotel in Madrid and Lanin’s jazz-band. In June of that year it was advertised in the press, in addition to the above recordings, the zarzuela “La Bejarana”, flamenco by La Andalucita and El Canario, Lamoreux Orchestra from Paris and Pathé Orchestra. In September new celebrities were announced: Emma Calve with orchestra, the tenor Pierre Lamy, the zarzuela “La canción del olvido”, Milano Band, songs and couplets by Paquita Garzón and Mary La Palmerita. The following month some new releases we advertised: the recordings by the tenor Vara de Rueda, couplets by Cándida Suárez and Blanquita Suárez, Aragonese jotas by Mr. J. Numancia, The Choir of Madrid conducted by Rafael Benedito, whistle solos by Mr. Dionisio Méndez, the Mirecky Orchestra, Infantry Regiment Band no. 38 from Leon, the master Francisco Cales and Milano Band conducted by Ranzato.

The recording that the Pathé Band conducted by Rafael Gascon made in 1912 with “Aurrescu” and “Guernicaco arbola”6 is something exceptional in the catalog of this house.

The industrial activity in this factory finisheed in 1928 when Pathé company was bought by Columbia7

The building was neglected and it remained in ruins until after the war when it was repaired to be earmarked for the salting industry.

However, the trade of Salustiano Loinaz continueed in full-swing. By 1920 he had already requested the trademark "Crédito S. Loinaz" for the sale of motorcycles, bicycles, talking machines and many other products. At this time he registered several brands of photographic equipment. In 1925, he moved his shop from Prim Street to France Avenue (Villa Loinaz) where he continued with their business until the thirties. Then he took his shop to Miguel Imaz Street in Gros district and later, he occupied the ground floor of the Equitativa building, where he dealt with the sale of more innovative products, but without leaving the sales of records altogether, in this case, Regal label records.  


1 Municipal Register of the City of San Sebastian.
2 Pathé used the pantograph copy to duplicate lower quality cylinders which were sold at much lower price. See: " Casares y la Producción Pantográfica de cilindros Pathé”. Montejano (2005)
3 Advertisement published in Black and White, March 18, 1917
4 These land, which Salustiano Loinaz shared later with the American Hispanic Society, would be expropriated by the City Council of San Sebastian in 1930 to build the expansion of the Antiguo district.
5 In 1924 its name was changed to "Sociedad Española del Pathéfono y de Reproducciones Musicales SA”. In: Jones, Daniel E,; Baró y Queralt, Jaume. La indústria musical a Catalunya (1995)
6 Considering the catalog number (207), it is probably one of the first records manufactured in 1916 in Pasajes
7 The payment of the last contribution was made in 1929. Source: City Council of Pasajes.


ERESBIL

Basque archives of music
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