Menestrel (J. Girard & Cie)

J.Girard et Cie was a company that did most of its business via mail order. Somewhat the Sears-Roebuck of France in the late 19th, early 20th century. Remember at the time the main transport was horse or train, so mobility was not like we are used to today. Thus for all the people, who lived far away from the main cities, at this time, probably the bulk of the population, mail order houses was a very popular alternative for shopping. The articles could be selected at home from the catalogue and delivered by post with payment by instalments. J.Girard et Cie began as a company supplying lamps, books, cameras, und art-works. In 1899 they added phonographs, initially selling the Pathe Gauloise in a custom Cabinet, manufactured by Pathé. Later, J.Girard et Cie sold a series of phonographs, special designed by Pathé and only obtainable by the own mail order.

1899 Model - Blue Gauloise branded

Link to ROMFI

This model was a blue Gauloise as marketed by Pathe, packaged in a custom wood box for Girard.

1900 Model - Blue Gauloise unbranded

Link to ROMFI

On the wood case was a celluloid plaque with "Le Menestrel" printed on it, as identification.

1902 Louis XV style - Blue

Link to ROMFI

One of the most beautiful of all French phonographs (if not all phonographs?) was the Louis XV "Ménestrel", especially built by Pathé for J.Girard et Cie. This luxury talking machine was put on the marked in 1902 in a blue version. The phonograph is built on a massive cast iron base. The case is decorated by golden painting in style of "Luis XV". Characteristic are the royal lily ornamentation and the golden lyre on the iron lid.

The "Ménésterel" cost at the time 147 French francs, payable in 21 monthly instalments of 7 French francs. Included in the delivery were ten standard size cylinders format standard, ten cylinders format inter and five blank cylinders for recordings.

The blue Louis XV version is the rarest of the Menestrels.

Louis XV style - Green

Link to ROMFI

The green painted phonograph was sold first time in 1903. It could play both standard size as well as Inter size cylinders. Included in the price were were ten standard size cylinders, ten Inter size cylinders and five blank cylinders for recordings.


Recentx Record