Originally published in 2017
A friend returned recently from a yard sale with a stack of old LPs, phonograph records from the 1960’s and 1970’s. On the back of each of them is an interesting inscription:
“The Longines Symphonette Society, Symphonette Square, Larchmont, N.Y.”
A quick visit to google finds a long list of this company’s recordings, including 8 Track tapes, and this: “The Longines Symphonette Society was a direct marketing company working out of Larchmont and, later, New Rochelle, New York..” from the late 1960s to 1974.
“Their main specialization was in mail-order LP box sets of classical and easy listening music as well as releasing LPs of old time radio (OTR) programs (it was a subsidiary of the Longines watch company.)”
But Symphonette Square? Have a look at the logo, above, and the building below.
Lynne Crowley at the Larchmont Historical Society says the Longines Symphonette Society operated out of the rounded building on Myrtle Avenue, not far from entrance to I-95, and it also served as a temporary barracks during WWII.
“I don’t believe the address of Symphonette Square in Larchmont was an official address,” Lynne says, “but presumably the Post Office knew where to deliver.”
But it seems it all came to an inauspicious end.
In 1969, The Longines Symphonette Society was included in a Congressional investigation of lotteries, sweepstakes, and deceptive marketing practices, and consumers complained that the Larchmont based record company, like other mail order companies, sent unsolicited merchandise to people’s homes. The local record company at the address not found on any map, came to an end in 1974.