Recording Pioneers

Frederick Charles BURT  1885 - 19**   arrowarrow PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU


Frederick Charles BURT  1885 - 19**

aka Frederick C. Burt, F. C. Burt, Frederick Burt, F. Burt
nationality American
birth 30 Jan 1885, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts
death ................. (after 1942)
marriage in <1916>
Isabell ............

b. .... 1886, .........., MEXICO
d. ........................

  • Fred(e)rick Charles

    b. 22 Mar 1916, East Orange, Essex, NJ
    d. 15 Oct 2007, Stuart, Martin, FL

  • Ferdinand/Fernando (aka James Elliott)

    b. .... <1918>, East Orange, Essex, NJ
    d. .... 1999, ........., ..........


father .......... BURT

b. ............, MA
d. .................

mother .................

b. .............., MA
d. .................

  • Frederick Charles

    b. 30 Jan 1885, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts
    d. ...................... (after 1942)


“George Werner and Fred Burt, connected with the Recording Department of the National Phonograph Co., returned to New York from a three-months’ visit to Havana, where they made over 300 masters of Cuban selections by native artists. Their efforts were directed by Rafael Cabanas, manager of the Mexico office of this company, who made a special trip to Cuba for this purpose”.
(from: Cuba canta y baila: discografía de la música cubana 1898-1925 by Cristóbal Díaz Ayala. Fundación Musicalia, San Juan, PUERTO RICO, 1994)

National Phonograph Company: This company was incorporated in New Jersey on January 27, 1896, to succeed the North American Phonograph Company and to return control of both the marketing and manufacturing of the phonograph to Edison. Within six months of the formation of the company, its profits were assigned to Edison in exchange for his technical improvements in the phonograph. Its foreign department, which also supervised the overseas interests of the Edison Manufacturing Company and the Bates Manufacturing Company, operated distribution offices, recording studios, and factories for manufacturing phonograph records in Great Britain, Germany, France, and Belgium, along with distribution subsidiaries in Australia and Mexico. In February 1911 the company was reorganized as part of the newly formed Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
Mexican National Phonograph Company: This company was formed in 1906, when a resident manager (Rafael Cabanas) was appointed in Mexico City, to sell phonographs, records, and other products. The company's office in Mexico City was closed in February 1911, with provisions that local dealers would thereafter be supplied directly from West Orange. The company was legally dissolved in September 1914.

Fred BURT (20y; single)
+ George WERNER (33y)
dep. Havana, CUBA: 24 Feb 1906
arr. New York, USA: 27 Feb 1906

Frederick C. BURT (23y)
+ George J. WERNER (33y)
dep. Vera Cruz, MEXICO: 16 July 1908
arr. New York, USA: 24 July 1908

Fredrick BURT (24y)
+ George WERNER (34y)
dep. Vera Cruz, MEXICO: 20 Aug 1909
arr. New York, USA: 27 Aug 1909

Frederick C. BURT (29y)
dep. Bergen, NORWAY: 28 Nov 1914
arr. New York, USA: 7 Dec 1914
address: 144 Stockton Place, East Orange

1900 CENSUS (West Orange, Essex, NJ, 14 June 1900):
Fredrick M. BURNETT (b. .. July 1848, New Jersey) salesman
Florence B. BURNETT (b. .. Dec 1849, at sea)
- Fredrick BURT Jr. (b. .. Jan 1885, New York (= Massachusetts)) adopted son at school

1910 CENSUS (44 Stockton Place, East Orange, Essex, NJ):
living with adoptive parents:
Fredric BURNETT (60y)
Florence BURNETT (59y)
- Fredric BURT Jr. (25y; single) (b. Massachusetts) manager, phonograph

WWI Draft Registration 1917-18
Frederick Charles BURT, b. Jan. 30, 1885 Mass.

1920 CENSUS (215 N. Park Street, East Orange City, Essex, NJ):
Fredrick (sic) C. BURT (34y) expert, recorder factory
Isabell BURT (34y)
- Fredrick (3y)
- Ferdinand (20m)

1930 Census (NJ, Essex Co., East Orange City, 239 N. Park Street):
Frederick C. BURT (46y), married at 31, b. Mass. recorder expert, phonograph
Isabel M. BURT (46y), married at 31, b. Mexico, both parents b. Mexico, imm. 1926, alien
- Frederick C. (14y), b. NJ
- Fernando E. (11y) b. NJ

WWII Draft Registration 1942
Frederick Charles BURT, age 57, born Jan. 30, 1885 Springfield, Mass.
residence - 44 Stockton Place, East Orange, (Essex Co.,) NJ (this is the same address as in 1910, although in 1920 and 1930 he's at a different address. It appears that he moved back to his adoptive parents' home)
employer - Thomas A. Edison Inc., West Orange, NJ
person who will always know my address - Thomas A. Edison Inc.

There is a picture of Frederick C. Burt together with George Werner on website The Edison Phonograph Works with the caption:

This photo of a 1909 Native American recording session with Edison Engineers George Werner and Fred C. Burt shows the rarely seen Edison studio master recording machine which in this case is an Edison Class M electric phonograph. Edison Triumphs were also used as master recorders at Edison's recording studio. The white master cylinders are of a similar composition as the ones made today by the North American Phonograph Company. You will note the engineer adjusting the depth of cut with a special adjustment screw. He is adjusting the advance ball, a little saphire on a screw, that raises and lowers the cutting stylus into the wax blank.

Also a picture of Werner and Burt on Allan Sutton's Mainspring Press website: INSIDE THE EARLY RECORDING STUDIOS. Rare glimpes inside early recording studios, from the collections of the Edison National Historic Site and the Library of Congress

Caption: Edison staffers George Werner and Fred C. Burt in a Columbia Street recording room in West Orange, New Jersey (January 22, 1917). By this time, the West Orange studio was used primarily for experimental and dubbing work, while regular commercial recording sessions were assigned to the New York studio. (ENHS)


  • Edison phonograph monthly, IV, no. 11, April 1906, p. 10.
  • Cuba canta y baila: discografía de la música cubana 1898-1925 by Cristóbal Díaz Ayala. Fundación Musicalia, San Juan, PUERTO RICO, 1994
  • From tinfoil to stereo: the acoustic years of the recording industry, 1877-1929 by Walter Leslie Welch, Leah Brodbeck Stenzel Burt, Oliver Read (University Press of Florida, 1994)
  • Thomas Edison in West Orange by Edward Wirth (Arcadia Publishing. Charleston SC, Chicago IL, Portsmouth NH, San Francisco CA, 2008)




Anne Mine
Paul Cleary
Martha Kelley