Recording Pioneers

R. S. Baker has appeared at several Ragtime festivals as a pianist and lecturer. Her particular interest lies in the brown wax cylinder era of the recording industry, and in the study of the earliest studio pianists, such as Fred Hylands, Frank P. Banta, and Frederick W. Hager.

Hager's Two Dollar Overtures

Hager’s Two Dollar Overtures

In 1903, two of the major disc record companies ventured into unexplored territory: long playing records. The Victor talking machine company and Columbia phonograph company

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Bass Drum Conundrum

Bass Drum Conundrum

In the 19th century, the bass drum in military bands was essential. The use of bass drums continued into the earliest days of recording, but

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Justin Ring and Fred Hager in 1902.

Milo and Rega

Justin Ring had a lot of love to give in his long life, as he cared for so many close friends and family. Later in

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Justin Ring's family (late 1920's)

Justin Ring’s Family Life

For many decades, Justin Ring has been an elusive character in the world of early recording and ragtime. Researcher Jim Walsh spoke of him only

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Hagers orchestra caricature(1902)

The Beaux of Bronx Park

In the 1890s and 1900s, military bands were all the rage. From Gilmore’s band to your village community band, they were loved by everyone. One

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Hylands and Held’s troupe enroute to England in 1913

Fred Hylands in Vaudeville

For researchers, scouring newspaper archives is an essential, yet at times tedious, process. Hours spent reading through century-old papers may yield only a small nugget

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Banta at Edison c.1899

The Original Frank Banta

Record collectors may be familiar with the name Frank Banta—a name usually associated with hot novelty and jazz piano of the 1920s, and rightfully so.

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Columbia Band, c.1902-04

When Prince Ruled Columbia

Charles Prince is a domineering character in the world of record collecting. If you see a pile of early records, the chances are pretty good

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The Mysterious Mr. King

The Mysterious Mr. King

If you ever find yourself thumbing through discographies of Victor records from the 1920s, one name shows up more than most. You’ll see him listed

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Who Was Fred Hylands?

Who Was Fred Hylands?

This is a face that few will recognize. Even over a century ago his face was not well known. Despite this, most people who own

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