Recording Pioneers

Frederick Leopold MAISCH  1884 - 1967 arrowarrow PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU


Frederick Leopold MAISCH  1884 - 1967

aka Rederick L. Maisch, F. L. Maisch, Frederick Maisch, Fred Maisch, F. Maisch
occupation tool maker/machinist/recording engineer
birth 17 Oct 1884, Manhattan, New York, NY
death .. Jan 1967, Martinsville, Somerset, NJ
marriage married on 20 Dec 1905, Hamilton, Wentworth, CANADA:
Annie Pauline DEUTSCHER

b. 1 Mar 1883, Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA
d. 31 Aug 1959, Martinsville, Somerset, NJ) arrived in USA in 1906 or 1907

(source: Ontario, CANADA Marriages, 1857-1924; “Twigg Deutscher Tree” on internet)
  • Thelma E. MAISCH

    b. 16 Apr 1917, Merchantville, Camden, NJ
    d. 20 Aug 1987, Wall Township, Monmouth, NJ - buried at Somerset Hill Memorial Park, Basking Ridge


father August Theodor MAISCH

b. .. Mar 1862, New York
d. ..............(before 1930)

mother Elizabeth Maria Emilie SCH(R)ICKE

b. .. Nov 1863, Mariewalde, Prussia, GERMANY
d. .......) immigrated from Germany in 1872

marriage got married on 9 Dec 1883, Manhattan, New York, NY
  • Frederick Leopold

    b. 17 Oct 1884, Manhattan, New York
    d. .. Jan 1967, Martinsville, Somerset, NJ

  • Charles Otto

    b. .. Sept 1886, New York
    d. .............

  • Dora Emma

    b. .... 1892, .......
    d. .... 1892, .........

  • Harry August

    b. 28 Apr 1892, New York
    d. .... 1967, Morris, NJ

  • August T.

    b. .... 1895, ......
    d. .... 1895, ...........

  • Wilhelmina A.

    b. .. Apr 1896, New York
    d. ..............

  • Christopher/Christian Leopold

    b. .. Dec 1898, New York
    d. .........


1880 CENSUS (9 June 1880, Manhattan, New York, NY):
Leopold MAISCH (b. .... <1832>, Baden, GERMANY - d. 10 July 1916, Woodhaven, Long Island; 84y)
Also in 1900 & 1910 censuses)
Elizabeth KIENZEL - MAISCH (b. ........, Württemberg, GERMANY)
- Louisa ENGLADER (daughter) Joseph ENGLADER (son-in-law)
- August T.
- Charles
- Philhelmina (= Wilhelmina?) (10y)
- Leopold (8y)
- Catherine (5)

1900 CENSUS (7 June 1900, Brooklyn, Kings, NY):
August MAISCH (b. Mar 1862, NY) sign painter
Elisabeth (b. Nov. 1863, GERMANY)
- Frederick (b. Oct 1884) sign painter
- Charles (b. Sept 1886, NY)
- Harry (b. Apr 1892, NY)
- Whilemina = Wilhelmina (b. Apr 1896, NY)
- Christopher (b. Dec 1898, NY)

1910 CENSUS (18 Apr 1910, Brooklyn, Kings, NY):
August T. MAISCH (49y)
Elizabeth (47y)
- Charles O. (23y)
- Henry = Harry (17y)
- Whilhelmina (14y)
- Christopher L. (11y)

1910 CENSUS (16 April 1910, Philadelphia, PA):
Frederick L. MAISCH (25y) machinist / Tool Maker
Annie P. (27y)
= Janet DEUTSCHER (53y)
= Norman N. DEUTSCHER (18y)

Frederick L. MAISCH


1920 CENSUS (30 Jan 1920, Audubon, Camden, NJ):
August (57y)
Elizabeth (56y)
- Charles (32y)
- Christian (21y)

1920 CENSUS (Merchantville, Camden, NJ, 20 Jan 1920):
Fredrich (=Fredrick) L. MAISCH (35y) Recorder / Talking Machine Co.
Annie P. MAISCH (36y)
- Thelma E. (2y/8m)

1930 CENSUS (Elizabeth, Union, NJ, 7 Apr 1930):
Frederick L. MARIK (sic = MAISCH) (46y) sound recorder Victor Talking Machine Co.
Anna V. (= Annie P.) MAISCH (47y)
- Thelma E. (12y)

714 Glen Ave., Westfield. Union, NJ
RCA Victor Manufacturing Co., Camden, NJ (154 E. 24th St., New York City, Manhattan, NY)

Tool maker in 1905

March [1912] — Frederick L. Maisch was added to the Laboratory Staff as machinist, having been transferred from Department “A.”

November 16th [1915], Frederick L. Maisch started to work in the Recording Department as a member of the Recording Staff (pp. 12/19 of part III).

[1918] In the troublous days of the World War, when every loyal citizen was trying to do his bit for Uncle Sam, our loyal and good Victor Company, feeling that their products were somewhat of an unessential nature, plunged into War Work to the extent, I understand, of about eighty per cent of the entire plant, the government constantly pushing them for production.
Skilled labor shortage was growing more acute all the time; therefore, the Victor Company was obliged to take from the Recording Laboratory on September 12th, 1918, the following men, who were placed in various departments of the plant to do war work: Raymond H. Sooy, Charles E. Sooy and Frederick L. Maisch, three members of the Recording Staff; and Marcus Olsen, John Yeager, George Murray and Russell Chafey of the Laboratory Experimental Machine Shop. This, of course, caused a decided decrease in both the Recording Staff and our Experimental Machine Shop, and naturally resulted in a. reduction of our monthly supplements of records.
But, just as soon as armistice was signed on November 11th, 1918, all government work ceased and the bunch came flocking back to the Laboratory to take up their former positions and duties. (p. 71)

On September 20th [1920] I, H. O. Sooy, accompanied by Fred Maisch, left for Chicago, Ill., to make a second repertoire of dance records from the Benson Orchestra of Chicago, under the direction of Roy Barry. These records were recorded in the same room as on the previous date, Forster’s Recital Hall, 235 So. Wabash Avenue. We returned from Chicago on October 3d after recording fifteen selections. Mrs. H. O. Sooy accompanied me to New York to meet Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Sooy arriving from Europe on the “S.S. Olympic” on December 6th, they returning from Europe to spend the holiday season.

December 13th Fred Maisch and I were in New York making piano solo records of Mr. Rachmaninoff, the Victor Company, as well as we, being particularly anxious to get a good record of the selection entitled “Prelude C. Minor” as played by Mr. Rachmaninoff, who is also the composer of the number. However, this particular selection proved to be another one of the “Jonah” type, and it was necessary for us to make thirteen records before one was selected for a master. The cause of this, like many other selections we have found difficult, was unexplainable. (p. 85)

April 7th, 11th and 14th [1921]: I, accompanied by F. Maisch, was in New York making records of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Willem Mengelberg (guest conductor). (p. 90)

May 23d [1921]: I, accompanied by F. L. Maisch, journeyed to Washington, D.C., under instructions that I was to make two records of Warren G. Harding, President of the United States, the records to be recorded in the The White House May 24th, my appointed time at the White House being twelve o’clock, noon. Daylight saving time was then effective in most cities, but on arriving at Washington, we found standard time in effect. After my arrival, I called Mr. Beck, Attorney General, U.S.A., who had made the appointment, notifying him I was in Washington, representing the Victor Co., for the purpose of making the records of President Harding, and asked him my appointed time at the White House, and how I should obtain entrance to same. Mr. Beck asked me to call Mr. Christian, secretary to the President, saying he would give me full instructions. I then called Mr. Christian, asking him for the appointed hour, and what entrance I should use to come to the White House, informing him I had quite a lot of conspicuous paraphernalia; Mr. Christian said that made no difference, and that my appointment was at twelve o’clock, noon, further adding that the President would make the records at two o’clock, p.m., and for me to come to the front entrance, ask for Mr. Hoover at the front door, who was acquainted with the entire plan, and he would see that we were taken care of. The hour and matter of entrance to the White House being settled, I then wanted to get a good-looking taxicab to take our equipment to the White House, retaining the taxi until we were finished, so not to cause any more confusion than (p. 91) possible. Inquiry at the taxicab stand at the Raleigh Hotel where we were stopping brought forth the information as to how I could get a taxi large enough to get my paraphernalia in, as most of the taxies in Washington, D.C. are of the touring car type, and not suitable for carrying luggage. It was then I learned that such taxies as I wanted were stationed only at the Union Depot, so over to the Depot I went, got hold of the taxi starter, salved him a bit, and he gave me just what I wanted. Returning to the Raleigh Hotel, I loaded up our equipment and started for the White House, arriving 12.02 p.m., or two minutes after the appointed time.
We fully expected to be stopped on entering the White House grounds, but, strange to say, we drove right up to the front door without any interference from the Secret Service. After making ourselves known to Mr. Hoover, we unloaded our luggage, following which Mr. Hoover took us to the President’s study to see if the room was suitable for making the records. Naturally, we accepted the President’s study as a suitable place for the work, after which Mr. Hoover had our recording paraphernalia sent to the quarters assigned to us, and we started immediately to put the recording machine together to make ready for the President at the appointed time. We got along nicely, and, apparently, had lots of time to have everything in readiness for the arrival of the President, which, of course, made us feel very comfortable; however, my comfort was of short duration, as misfortune assailed me when I stooped to pick up a part of the machine which was lying on the floor. Upon rising from my stooping posture, I found the seat of my pants had been badly ripped, and, after discovering the embarrassing plight I was in, the beads of perspiration came out on my head as large as peas. I remarked to Fred “I’ve had a terrible accident,” and informed him of the predicament I was in. It was then 1.10 p.m., or fifty minutes before the President’s appointment, and there I was in the White House at Washington, D.C., with my pants all ripped out, and the feeling of embarrassment increasing all the time. (p. 92).
However, I made known my troubles to Mr. Hoover, and asked him where I could find a tailor to make repairs; Mr. Hoover directed me to a tailor repair shop, and I beat it out of the White House grounds in haste to get my troubles remedied, leaving Maisch to take care of the recording apparatus. I imagined that everybody along the highways saw the uncomfortable predicament I was placed in. On arriving at the tailors I again explained my accident, and asked if he could make repairs immediately. He consented, and as the shop was on the street floor, with large windows, it was to me, more or less, like a movie procedure. It was necessary for him to put screens around me while I removed my unfaithful garment for him to mend. However, the repairing was done very quickly and I was soon on my way back to the White House. Upon my return the guards were not going to admit me, but it just so happened that one of the guards recognized me and informed the others I was there by appointment, after which I was permitted to enter. It was then 1:45 p.m. when I returned. Mr. Hoover informed me I had better be in readiness, so I hastened to the President’s study, where the records were to be made, and President Harding arrived on the scene sharply at two o’clock, accompanied by two secret service men.
The President entered the room alone, and closed the door behind him, leaving him in the room alone with Maisch and myself, which was more than I had ever dreamed would occur. It was then I realized the confidence placed in our good firm, and Attorney General Beck who had succeeded in getting the President’s consent to make the records.
We found the President to be a very considerate, reasonable, obliging and charming gentleman. He read his two speeches over for me to time (so as to determine the size of the record) which he was to make, the titles being “The President’s Address at Hoboken, N.J., May 23, 1921” (on the return of 5,212 bodies of soldiers, sailors, marines and nurses, who lost their lives in the Great War) and “The President’s Address at Washington, November (p. 93) 12th, l921” (opening the International Conference for the Limitation of Armament). We then proceeded, and, upon my recommendation, the President made two master records of each speech. After we had finished, the President, personally, gave me the printed copies of the two speeches which he used to read from for making the records, and inquired if there was anything else he could do for us. We thanked him for the time and patience he had with us, and he said there was one thing he was going to ask us to do for him. The President said at some later date he wanted to compile a little talk, and then he wanted to speak it on a record for his Airedale dog, “Laddie,” who is quite a White House pet. Assuring him we would be only too glad to make the record for him at his convenience, we then packed our paraphernalia and returned with the records, had them manufactured, and they were issued as a Special for Thanksgiving, 1922, after having been approved by both the President and the Victor Talking Machine Company.

October 18th & 19th, 1923: On the 18th, H. O. Sooy, R. R. Sooy and F. Maisch went to New York to make records of the Sistine Choir, who had been touring this country. They did not keep their appointment the first day, but did record on the 19th. (p. 102)

October 24, 1923: R. R. Sooy and Fred Maisch left for St. Louis, Mo., to make records of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, after which they journeyed to Chicago and made records of Benson’s Dance Orchestra, returning November 9th.

January 11th, 1925: Fred Maisch left for Chicago to make another repertoire of Organ records of Jesse Crawford, returning January 17th.

November 28th, 1925: Fred Maisch and Harry Shumaker left on a recording trip for St. Louis and Chicago, taking Electrical Equipment and new recording material known as 580. (Returned December 24th, 1925.)
(source: Memoir of my Career at Victor Talking Machine Company, 1898-1925 by Harry O. Sooy (online article David Sarnoff Library))

Maisch Quits After 41 Yrs. Work
New York, Oct. 1. - Fred Maisch, RCA Victor’s senior recording engineer, is retiring this month following his 65th birthday and the 41st anniversary of his first Victor recording session.
On October 31, 1908 Maisch joined Victor and handled the controls when Enrico Caruso, Antonio Scotti, Louise Homer and Elsie Abbott, cut their famous Quartet from Rigoletto. He will be the subject of a feature story in The New York Times next week. (source: The Billboard of 8 Oct 1949, p. 16)

IMMORTALS ON WAX TO LOSE OLD FRIEND; Fred Maisch, First to Record Caruso's Voice, Will Retire After 41 Years' Service by IRVING SPIEGEL
For forty-one years, Fred Maisch has sat at the recording controls in the laboratory of the Radio Corporation of America or those of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Over those long years as senior engineer, he has put on wax virtually everything from Bach to bop.
New York Times of 4 October 1949.
[to be continued]


  • Memoir of my Career at Victor Talking Machine Company, 1898-1925 by Harry O. Sooy (pp. 12/19 of part III)
  • Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of America’s Blue Yodeler (“The Definitive Biography of the 'Father of Country Music'”) by Nolan Porterfield
    1979, University of Illinois; 1992, University of Illinois; paperback edition; 2007, University Press of Mississippi




William Thermann