Little Marvel Records (1921-1928)
To promote competition and get the best deal for customers, the Woolworth Buyer signed up two record suppliers. Crystallte developed discs under the Mimosa label, while the Vocalion Gramophone Record Company established the Little Marvel label exclusively for the High Street retailer. Vocalion's roots were in the USA, where it was well established, while the UK was a new market. The 'Little Marvels' were launched on trial in 1921, with the range extending into all stores from 1923 onwards. The labels featured the redfront chain's "Diamond W" motif.
The tiny records were intended to play at 80 revolutions per minute, matching the speed a gramophone would actually be going when playing the inner grooves of a larger 78rpm disc. They featured a bought-out wholly owned track on one side and a halfpenny royalty track on the other, and rarely named the performing artist. To the frustration of collectors today, the early discs did not carry catalogue numbers. Of the two labels Little Marvel proved the more popular partly because of the mix of titles carried. If anything the recording quality was not quite as good as Mimosa but this was balanced by better titles and more up-tempo songs. Little Marvel discs were offered for sixpence right through until 1928. Many records are still in circulation, and many of today's great grandparents bought their first gramophone record on the Little Marvel label - and kept it for old time's sake. You can click one of the links below to sample some of the music and, if you like, download a copy courtesy of the Woolworths Museum.
Little Marvel Records (5½" & 6" discs from the UK 1923-28)
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