Do You Really Know Where Nipper Came From?

Most of us know that Nipper is on the old RCA Building, was the logo for RCA back in the day, but who is Nipper?

One of my favorite subreddits is “Today I Learned,” where people talk about exactly what it sounds like, things they randomly learned. The Albany subreddit featured one recently because it referenced something local – Nipper.

As I mentioned, most of us in the area know that Nipper was the RCA dog and can be found on the old RCA building. It ended up being the largest replica of Nipper in the world, but apparently there’s more to Nipper than just being a logo.

If you take a look at the Wikipedia page for the trademark “His Master’s Voice,” you learn that Nipper was actually a real dog at one point. “His Master’s Voice (HMV) is a famous trademark in the recording industry and was the unofficial name of a major British record label. The phrase was coined in the 1890s as the title of a painting of a terrier mix dog named Nipper, listening to a wind-up disc gramophone”

Francis Barraud, an English artist, inherited Nipper from his brother Mark when Mark died along with a phonograph and recordings of Mark’s voice. Francis realized that the dog seemed to act differently towards the recordings of his late master’s voice coming out of the cylinder photograph and decided to paint His Master’s Voice. Then, the painting was purchased by the Gramophone Company and eventually used in publicity material.

I do like the rumor posted by u/threedice that said “The creepier version of this story is that the painting shows Nipper and the gramophone both on a polished wooden table. Some have taken the polished wooden table and suggested that it might be the top of a casket, in that Nipper is listening to the voice of his dead master – who’s in the casket – and who made his final recording to be played on the gramophone.”



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