Accession Number



CROSSLEY, Subgroup Buttons/Elephant Ears


In 1899, artist Francis Barraud walked into the office of the Victor Gramophone Company in London with “His Master’s Voice,” a painting of a fox tarrier staring intently at a cylinder phonograph. The manager, American William Barry Owen (1860-1914), agreed to purchase the painting if Barraud would update the phonograph in the painting with the newest wind-up version from their shop. The cash-strapped Barraud agreed. The image was soon trademarked and made famous as the logo for the Victor Talking Machine Company. The company was informally known as HMV for His Master’s Voice.
William Barry Owen was a native of Martha’s Vineyard where Mrs. William Crossley (nee Martha Edward Smith) was born and raised. Martha’s mother’s middle name was Owen, after the close family friend. It seems that Martha was told that Nipper, the HMV dog, belonged to Owen and even that the well-known dog was her mother’s pet and playmate. Nipper (1884-1895) actually belonged to Francis Barraud’s brother. He earned his name from his fondness of biting the back of his owner’s leg

Verification Reference

Encyclopedia of Massachusetts Biography


His Master's Voice.png


“Nipper,” Institute for Clew Studies, accessed October 28, 2020,