Lost Musical Treasure

The Case:

A man in Port Washington, Wisconsin who owns a pair of metal "masters" that were used to press shellac records in the 1920s and 30s has a hunch they could represent surviving fragments of a lost moment in American musical history.

The contributor’s great uncle was the master sound engineer for one of the more peculiar recording enterprises in the United States, Paramount Records. He worked for the Wisconsin Chair Company, which, among other things, manufactured phonograph cabinets.

The company’s salesmen were savvy to the broad spectrum of musical talent at the time and established a tandem recording label, ultimately bringing some of the best blues artists from the Mississippi Delta to Wisconsin to record in the factory.

History Detectives travels to Wisconsin and New York to determine the significance of these metal masters and to explore how one company captured the regionally and culturally diverse music played around the nation in the 20s and 30s.


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Season 4, Episode 11

Tukufu Zuberi Location:
Port Washington, Long Island

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