May 16, 2011

Nipper . . . The World’s Largest Man-made Dog





Arnoff Moving & Storage has the distinct pleasure of owning the old RTA building (former RCA distributor) in Albany, New York, at 991 Broadway. In 1954, the Nipper statue (which is 25-feet high, weighs 4 tons, and has a steel frame and composite body) was erected via crane to its current perch, complete with an aerial beacon ascending from his left ear because of his height. Nipper has the great distinction of being the largest man-made dog in the world.

When the Arnoff family purchased this building in 1997, the Albany community was very concerned about the future of their beloved Nipper, fearing that he might be dismantled by the new owners. Local politicians, community members, and reporters demanded answers to their questions about Nipper’s fate, and Arnoff Moving & Storage responded by not only completely renovating the building, but by restoring Nipper, as well, to his previous glory. This delighted the Albany community and all those who love him from around the world. Testimony to this is on the front page of the Albany Times Union newspaper, which featured the top bold headline about how Nipper has been saved, and below it, beneath the fold, the headline that Mother Theresa had died.

The history of 991 Broadway, according to Duncan E. Hay of the Northeast Museum Services Center, begins circa 1912:

“This reinforced-concrete building was constructed around 1912 to house the manufacturing operations of the American Gas Meter Company. In 1958 it became the home of RTA, distributors of RCA electrical appliances. About that time a twenty-five-foot, four-ton statue of Nipper, the symbol of the Victor Company, was erected on the roof. The statue was built by the W. L. Stansgaard Company of Chicago, shipped on railroad flat cars in five sections, and erected by James McKinney and Company using a ten-story crane.”

The story of Nipper began in 1884 in Bristol, England, where the little stray mutt (part bull terrier, part fox terrier) found a home with Mark Barraud, a Bristol theater stage set painter. The dog was named Nipper because he always nipped at people’s ankles. When Mark Barraud died, his brother Francis adopted the dog, but Nipper seemed to miss his original master and would sit in his habitual pose, listening to the phonograph with his head cocked, seemingly waiting for his master’s voice. Although Nipper died in 1895, four years later, Francis Barraud, a painter, captured the scene on canvas. Then, in an effort to brighten the painting, which he felt was too dark, he borrowed a brass horn from the Gramophone Company in London to paint over the original phonograph. They offered to purchase the painting if Francis would paint their new disc gramophone into the painting, which is how the final image of “His Master’s Voice” came to being. In 1900, the painting became the trademark for Victor Talking Machine, later known as RCA Victor, and the rest is history, as Nipper became one of the most recognized trademarks in the world.

11 comments:

  1. Nice Dog........Very recognizable all over the world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a great blog and would like to recommend it to others too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Many things in this blog was really helpful. Thanks for all the

    information and will certainly recommend it to others too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. To Car Service in Houston -- Glad you're enjoying our blog. If you ever have a question about a certain topic, please let us know and we'll be happy to address it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really like what you have in your post. Would like to see more.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The blog has incorporated all the necessary components to make it into a very interesting read. Please keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  7. To Edison piano movers nj -- Thank you for the kind words! There is never a dull moment in the moving industry. -- Peggy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi! nice post. Well what can I say is that these is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for sharing your ideas, its not just entertaining but also gives your reader knowledge. Good blogs style too, Cheers!


    - The storage ipswich ma

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was driving to Albany last year and glanced to my right from the interstate. It was a huge surprise to see Nipper in the distance! I yanked the car over to the next exit and went in search....you've done a wonderful job of maintaining one of the last remaining American icons. As a former RCA Electronics employee, Nipper and Chipper were both dear to my heart, and I say, "Thank you!"

    ReplyDelete
  10. My name is Rodney I grew up with that dog. He's been there ever since I was a kid left Albany in 1980.

    ReplyDelete
  11. NYC Movers and Packers is the best full organization moving association. We are approved and defended. Our strong movers give adjacent and long division moving organizations. Here are organizations available for the mover, movers, moving association, moving work, moving organizations and moving work. We are giving the best organizations in particularly sensible expenses. We are capable in moving organizations with arranged work.

    ReplyDelete