The history of 78 RPM recordings
Any flat disc record, made between about and the late s and playing at a speed around 78 revolutions per minute is called a "78" by collectors. The materials of which discs were made and with which they were coated were also various; shellac eventually became the commonest material. May 03, · In the ’s, Emile Berliner’s first gramophone records came out and it spun at 78 RPM. The record material was made out of Shellac, a material that can “ping” when you hit .
They are almost always made of a different material than the vinyl that most people would be familiar with. Most commonly they are made using a shellac resin.
Interestingly, not all of the records play at 78 RPM. Records made in the 19th century in particular will have been intended to be played at speeds between 70 and RPM. This was before the era of turntables driven by electricity, and rrecords the speed could be recirds by a person operating the turntable by adjusting a counterweight.
Although 78s to many ears sound worse more muffled, crackles and pops due to ageto some people they are a uniquely enjoyable listening experience. These fans profess that because the music was recorded directly on to the record, it is a true form of tecords that retains its spontaneity and genuineness given that it has not been processed recores altered in any way. The records were created by the musician s making sounds directly in to a horn which in turn vibrated a needle refords shaped the record.
LPs used amplifiers, which allowed a greater range of sound to be recorded. They can be found regularly in second hand stores. There is not as large a community of collectors with 78 RPM records as there is with LPs, and therefore there are more available for the picking. By fpm same token, selling your 78 RPM records will not net you very much money.
They are seen as outdated and there are recodds on the second hand market. Some rare records are worth a reasonable amount of course, so if you think you have a rarity in your collection be sure to read up on it before selling it or giving it away. Due to the era of their creation, 78 RPM records will not be for everyone. People who enjoy classical music will particularly enjoy 78 RPM records, as this was the most recorded form of music during the early 20th century.
They were sold in paper or cardboard sleeves and therefore lack the beautiful covers of LP records. The paper they come in is generally pretty tatty and dirty, although replacements are available. They are easily broken when compared to the flexible plastic of vinyl recordsand should therefore be handled with mwde. If kids are allowed to touch your vinyl, make sure your shellacs are well out of reach!
They should be collected for love radial piston pump how it works enjoyment, not for value. Alternatively you can invest in an old gramophone to play your 78 RPM records for that truly authentic feel.
Name required. Mail will not be published required. Find how much snow did bristol ri get how to maximise income and minimise cost when wanting to sell vinyl records. Find out how to clean 78 RPM records. The shellac material needs madd be treated completely differently to vinyl.
Cleaning your vinyl records is one of the more unpleasant parts of owning vinyl, but very necessary. Learn how to avoid and fix those nasty pops and clicks, as well as restore those unplayable records. Just how much is your vinyl collection worth?
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78 RPM records are the oldest form of recorded music. Called ’78s’ for short, they were first created in They are almost always made of a different material than the vinyl that most people would be familiar with. Most commonly they are made using a shellac resin. (Edison Diamond Disc records all play at ) Other vintage disc records include radio transcriptions (78 or 33 rpm, often 16" in diameter), movie soundtrack discs (33 rpm, 16") and Victor Program Transcriptions (10" & 12", 33 rpm). Most vintage disc records were made from a shellac-based material, though vinyl discs began to appear in the post WW-II era. Non-vintage disc records were made from . For that matter, no record was ever made of pure shellac. The old-stlye 78rpm "shellac" record was made of a molding material that we now call a thermoplastic ("melts with heat"), in which shellac was greatly extended by assorted neutral filler materials, among them the carbon black which gives the black look to most records.
A phonograph disc record also known as a gramophone disc record , especially in British English , or simply a phonograph record , gramophone record , disc record or record , is an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove.
The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. At first, the discs were commonly made from shellac , with earlier records having a fine abrasive filler mixed in. Starting in the s polyvinyl chloride became common, hence the name "vinyl". In the mids, gradually, records made of any material began to be called vinyl disc records , also known as vinyl records or vinyl for short.
The phonograph disc record was the primary medium used for music reproduction throughout the 20th century. It had co-existed with the phonograph cylinder from the late s and had effectively superseded it by around Records retained the largest market share even when new formats such as the compact cassette were mass-marketed. By the s, digital media , in the form of the compact disc , had gained a larger market share, and the record left the mainstream in They were also listened to by a growing number of audiophiles.
The phonograph record has made a niche resurgence as a format for rock music in the early 21st century—9. As of , 48 record pressing facilities remain worldwide, 18 in the US and 30 in other countries. The increased popularity of the record has led to the investment in new and modern record-pressing machines. According to the Apollo Masters website, their future is still uncertain. The large cover and inner sleeves are valued by collectors and artists for the space given for visual expression, especially in the case of inch discs.
In the s, these tracings were first scanned by audio engineers and digitally converted into audible sound. Phonautograms of singing and speech made by Scott in were played back as sound for the first time in Along with a tuning fork tone and unintelligible snippets recorded as early as , these are the earliest known recordings of sound.
In , Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. Unlike the phonautograph, it could both record and reproduce sound. Despite the similarity of name, there is no documentary evidence that Edison's phonograph was based on Scott's phonautograph.
Edison first tried recording sound on a wax-impregnated paper tape, with the idea of creating a " telephone repeater" analogous to the telegraph repeater he had been working on. Although the visible results made him confident that sound could be physically recorded and reproduced, his notes do not indicate that he actually reproduced sound before his first experiment in which he used tinfoil as a recording medium several months later. The tinfoil was wrapped around a grooved metal cylinder and a sound-vibrated stylus indented the tinfoil while the cylinder was rotated.
The recording could be played back immediately. The Scientific American article that introduced the tinfoil phonograph to the public mentioned Marey, Rosapelly and Barlow as well as Scott as creators of devices for recording but, importantly, not reproducing sound.
A decade later, Edison developed a greatly improved phonograph that used a hollow wax cylinder instead of a foil sheet. This proved to be both a better-sounding and far more useful and durable device. The wax phonograph cylinder created the recorded sound market at the end of the s and dominated it through the early years of the 20th century.
Lateral-cut disc records were developed in the United States by Emile Berliner although Thomas Edison's original patent included flat disks , who named his system the "gramophone", distinguishing it from Edison's wax cylinder "phonograph" and American Graphophone 's wax cylinder " graphophone ". Berliner's earliest discs, first marketed in , only in Europe, were Both the records and the machine were adequate only for use as a toy or curiosity, due to the limited sound quality.
In the United States in , under the Berliner Gramophone trademark, Berliner started marketing records of 7 inches diameter with somewhat more substantial entertainment value, along with somewhat more substantial gramophones to play them. Berliner's records had poor sound quality compared to wax cylinders, but his manufacturing associate Eldridge R. Johnson eventually improved it. Abandoning Berliner's "Gramophone" trademark for legal reasons, in Johnson's and Berliner's separate companies reorganized to form the Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden, New Jersey , whose products would come to dominate the market for many years.
In , inch disc records were introduced, followed in by inch records. These could play for more than three and four minutes, respectively, whereas contemporary cylinders could only play for about two minutes. Despite these improvements, during the s discs decisively won this early format war , although Edison continued to produce new Blue Amberol cylinders for an ever-dwindling customer base until late in By , the basic patents for the manufacture of lateral-cut disc records had expired, opening the field for countless companies to produce them.
Analog disc records dominated the home entertainment market until they were outsold by digital compact discs in the s, which were in turn supplanted by digital audio recordings distributed via online music stores and Internet file sharing. Early disc recordings were produced in a variety of speeds ranging from 60 to rpm, and a variety of sizes. As early as , Emile Berliner 's United States Gramophone Company was selling single-sided 7-inch discs with an advertised standard speed of "about 70 rpm".
One standard audio recording handbook describes speed regulators, or governors , as being part of a wave of improvement introduced rapidly after A picture of a hand-cranked Berliner Gramophone shows a governor. It says that spring drives replaced hand drives. It notes that:. The speed regulator was furnished with an indicator that showed the speed when the machine was running so that the records, on reproduction, could be revolved at exactly the same speed The literature does not disclose why 78 rpm was chosen for the phonograph industry, apparently this just happened to be the speed created by one of the early machines and, for no other reason continued to be used.
By , the speed of the record was becoming standardized at a nominal value of 78 rpm. However, the standard differed between places with alternating current electricity supply at 60 hertz cycles per second, Hz and those at 50 Hz. Where the mains supply was 60 Hz, the actual speed was Where it was 50 Hz, it was Early recordings were made entirely acoustically, the sound being collected by a horn and piped to a diaphragm , which vibrated the cutting stylus.
Sensitivity and frequency range were poor, and frequency response was very irregular, giving acoustic recordings an instantly recognizable tonal quality.
A singer almost had to put his or her face in the recording horn. A way of reducing resonance was to wrap the recording horn with tape. Lower-pitched orchestral instruments such as cellos and double basses were often doubled or replaced by louder instruments, such as tubas.
Standard violins in orchestral ensembles were commonly replaced by Stroh violins , which became popular with recording studios. Even drums, if planned and placed properly, could be effectively recorded and heard on even the earliest jazz and military band recordings. The loudest instruments such as the drums and trumpets were positioned the farthest away from the collecting horn. Lillian Hardin Armstrong , a member of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band , which recorded at Gennett Records in , remembered that at first Oliver and his young second trumpet, Louis Armstrong , stood next to each other and Oliver's horn could not be heard.
During the first half of the s, engineers at Western Electric , as well as independent inventors such as Orlando Marsh , developed technology for capturing sound with a microphone , amplifying it with vacuum tubes , then using the amplified signal to drive an electromechanical recording head. Western Electric's innovations resulted in a broader and smoother frequency response, which produced a dramatically fuller, clearer and more natural-sounding recording.
Soft or distant sounds that were previously impossible to record could now be captured. Volume was now limited only by the groove spacing on the record and the amplification of the playback device. Victor and Columbia licensed the new electrical system from Western Electric and began recording discs during the Spring of To claim that the records have succeeded in exact and complete reproduction of all details of symphonic or operatic performances Electrical recording and reproduction have combined to retain vitality and color in recitals by proxy.
Electrically amplified record players were initially expensive and slow to be adopted. In , the Victor company introduced both the Orthophonic Victrola , an acoustical record player that was designed to play electrically recorded discs, and the electrically amplified Electrola.
The Orthophonic had an interior folded exponential horn, a sophisticated design informed by impedance-matching and transmission-line theory, and designed to provide a relatively flat frequency response. Its first public demonstration was front-page news in The New York Times , which reported:.
The audience broke into applause John Philip Sousa [said]: '[Gentlemen], that is a band. This is the first time I have ever heard music with any soul to it produced by a mechanical talking machine' The new instrument is a feat of mathematics and physics. It is not the result of innumerable experiments, but was worked out on paper in advance of being built in the laboratory The new machine has a range of from to 5, [cycles], or five and a half octaves The 'phonograph tone' is eliminated by the new recording and reproducing process.
Gradually, electrical reproduction entered the home. The spring motor was replaced by an electric motor. The old sound box with its needle-linked diaphragm was replaced by an electromagnetic pickup that converted the needle vibrations into an electrical signal.
The tone arm now served to conduct a pair of wires, not sound waves, into the cabinet. The exponential horn was replaced by an amplifier and a loudspeaker. Sales of records declined precipitously during the Great Depression of the s. According to Edward Wallerstein the general manager of RCA's Victor division , this device was "instrumental in revitalizing the industry".
The earliest disc records — were made of variety of materials including hard rubber. Around , a shellac -based material was introduced and became standard. Formulas for the mixture varied by manufacturer over time, but it was typically about one-third shellac and two-thirds mineral filler finely pulverized slate or limestone , with cotton fibers to add tensile strength, carbon black for color without which it tended to be an unattractive "dirty" gray or brown color , and a very small amount of a lubricant to facilitate release from the manufacturing press.
Columbia Records used a laminated disc with a core of coarser material or fiber. The production of shellac records continued throughout the 78 rpm era which lasted until the s in industrialized nations, but well into the s in others.
Less abrasive formulations were developed during its waning years and very late examples in like-new condition can have noise levels as low as vinyl. Flexible, "unbreakable" alternatives to shellac were introduced by several manufacturers during the 78 rpm era. Beginning in , Nicole Records of the UK coated celluloid or a similar substance onto a cardboard core disc for a few years, but they were noisy.
In the United States, Columbia Records introduced flexible, fiber-cored "Marconi Velvet Tone Record" pressings in , but their longevity and relatively quiet surfaces depended on the use of special gold-plated Marconi Needles and the product was not successful. Thin, flexible plastic records such as the German Phonycord and the British Filmophone and Goodson records appeared around but not for long. In the US, Hit of the Week records were introduced in early They were made of a patented translucent plastic called Durium coated on a heavy brown paper base.