Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Columbia Records announces first mass production of 33-1/3-rpm long-player vinyl records

Columbia Records announces first mass production of 33-1/3-rpm long-player vinyl records. Sceptics fail to see the company's wisdom as the 78 record is at an all-time high on June 21, 1948

Columbia Records, 33rpm, vinyl records

Both the microgroove LP 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record and the 45 rpm single records are made from vinyl plastic that is flexible and unbreakable in normal use. However, the vinyl records are easier to scratch or gouge, and much more prone to warping.

In 1931, RCA Victor (which evolved from the Johnson and Berliner's Victor Talking Machine Company) launched the first commercially available vinyl long-playing record, marketed as "Program Transcription" discs. These revolutionary discs were designed for playback at 331/3 rpm and pressed on a 30 cm diameter flexible plastic disc, with a duration of about ten minutes playing time per side. In Roland Gelatt's book The Fabulous Phonograph, the author notes that RCA Victor's early introduction of a long-play disc was a commercial failure for several reasons including the lack of affordable, reliable consumer playback equipment and consumer wariness during the Great Depression. Because of financial hardships that plagued the recording industry during that period (and RCA's own parched revenues), Victor's "long playing" records were quietly discontinued by early 1933.

There was also a small batch of "longer playing" vinyl records issued in the very early 1930s: Columbia introduced 10" 'longer playing' vinyl records (18000-D series), as well as a series of double-grooved or longer playing 10" vinyl records on their Harmony, Clarion & Velvet Tone cheap labels. All of these were phased out in mid-1932.

However, vinyl's lower surface noise level than shellac was not forgotten, nor was its durability. In the late '30s, radio commercials and pre-recorded radio programs being sent to disc jockeys started being stamped in vinyl, so they would not break in the mail. In the mid-1940s, special DJ copies of records started being made of vinyl also, for the same reason. These were all 78 rpm. During and after World War II, when shellac supplies were extremely limited, some 78 rpm records were pressed in vinyl instead of shellac, particularly the six-minute 12-inch (30 cm) 78 rpm records produced by V-Disc for distribution to US troops in World War II. In the '40s, radio transcriptions, which were usually on 16-inch records, but sometimes 12-inch, were always made of vinyl, but cut at 331/3 rpm. Shorter transcriptions were often cut at 78 rpm.

Beginning in 1939, Dr. Peter Goldmark and his staff at Columbia Records undertook efforts to address problems of recording and playing back narrow grooves and developing an inexpensive, reliable consumer playback system. The 12-inch (30 cm) Long Play (LP) 331/3 rpm microgroove vinyl record album was introduced by the Columbia Record Company at a New York press conference on June 21, 1948.

Unwilling to accept and license Columbia's system, in February 1949 RCA Victor released the first 45 rpm single, 7 inches in diameter with a large center hole. The 45 rpm player included a changing mechanism that allowed multiple disks to be stacked, much as a conventional changer handled 78s. The short playing time of a single 45 rpm side meant that long works, such as symphonies, had to be released on multiple 45s (rather than a single LP), but RCA claimed that the new high-speed changer rendered side breaks so brief as to be inaudible or inconsequential. Early 45 rpm records were made from either vinyl or polystyrene. They had a playing time of eight minutes.

Another size and format was that of radio transcription discs beginning in the 1940s. These records were usually vinyl, 33 RPM, and 16 inches in diameter. No home record player could accommodate such large records, and they were used mainly by radio stations. They were on average 15 minutes per side and contained several songs or radio program material. These vinyl records became less common when tape recorders began being used for radio transcriptions around 1949.

Retro History for June 21 The 50s 60s 70s 80s

Retro History For The Decade 1980

1989 Carlton Fisk becomes AL catcher home run hitter, 307th at Yankee stadium
1989 Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson remarry
1989 Supreme Court rules ok to burn U.S. flag as a political expression
1989 Yankees trade Rickey Henderson to A's for Plunk, Cadaret and Polonia
1988 42nd NBA Championship: Los Angeles Lakers beat Detroit Pistons, 4 games to 3
1988 Many killed at demonstration against general Ne Win in Rangoon
1988 Rascals begin 1st tour in 20 years
1987 87th U.S. Golf Open: Scott Simpson shoots a 277 at Olympic Club in SF
1987 Ayako Okamoto wins LPGA Lady Keystone Golf Open
1987 Discovery rolls over from OPF to Vandenberg AFB
1987 Mike Tyson sexually harasses a parking lot attendant
1986 "Living on Video" by Trans-X peaks at #61
1986 "Vienna Calling" by Falco peaks at #18
1986 Bo Jackson, Heisman Trophy winner, singns with Kansas City Royals
1986 Heike Drechsler of East Germany long jumps 7.45 m (women's record)
1986 President Reagan gives speech defending his judicial appointments
1985 American, Brazilian and West German forensic pathologists confirm skeletal remains exhumed in Brazil were Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele
1983 Stephanie Kay Ashmore, of Alabama, 18, crowned America's Junior Miss
1983 Tennis ace Arthur Ashe undergoes double bypass heart surgery
1982 Paul McCartney releases "Take it Away"
1982 Washington D.C. jury finds John Hinckley, Jr. innocent by insanity
1982 John Hinckley found not guilty of 1981 attempted assassination of President Reagan by reason of insanity
1981 12-bottle case of 1979 Napamedoc Cabernet wine auctioned for $24,000
1981 81st U.S. Golf Open: David Graham shoots 273 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania
1981 Don Fagan and Walter Becker quit Steely Dan
1981 Joanne Carner wins LPGA Lady Keystone Golf
1981 Riots at Casablanca, kills 66-200
1981 Socialists/communists win French parliamentary election

Retro History For The Decade 1970

1979 Sri Lanka beat Canada by 60 runs to win the 1st ICC Trophy
1978 Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rice's musical "Evita," premiers in London
1977 Former White House chief of staff home run Haldeman enters prison
1977 Menachem Begin (Likud), becomes Israel's 6th PM
1976 Berlinguers PCI wins election in Italy
1975 "Jaws" by Steven Spielberg opens
1975 Elton John, Eagles and Beach Boys play Wembley
1975 Ritchie Blackmore quits Deep Purple, forms Rainbow
1975 Soyuz 19 returns to Earth
1975 West Indies beat Australia by 17 runs to win Cricket World Cup
1971 50,000 attend Celebration of Life, rock concert, McCrea Louisiana
1971 71st U.S. Golf Open: Lee Trevino shoots a 280 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania
1971 Indians Ken Harrelson retires from baseball to play pro golf
1971 International Court of Justice asks South Africa to pull out of Namibia
1970 70th U.S. Golf Open: Tony Jacklin shoots a 281 at Hazeltine National Minn
1970 Brazil beats Italy, 4-1, to win soccer's World Cup, in Mexico City
1970 Detroit's Cesar Gutierrez goes 7-for-7 to tie a record set in 1892
1970 Judy Rankin wins LPGA George Washington Golf Classic

Retro History For The Decade 1960

1969 Dmitri Shostakovich's 14th Symphony, premieres in Moscow
1969 John Pennel pole vaults world record (5.45 m)
1969 Zager and Evans release "In the Year 2525"
1968 Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren resigns
1967 Yankees take 5-3 lead in 11th and lose 6-5, in 2nd game Red Sox lead 3-2 in 9th and Yankees beat them 6-3
1966 Queen Juliana opens Coen tunnel in Amsterdam
1965 65th U.S. Golf Open: Gary Player shoots 282 at Bellerive CC in St. Louis
1964 Beckwith arrested for murder of Medger Evers, found guilty 30 yr later
1964 Mickey Wright wins LPGA Lady Carling Eastern Golf Open
1964 Phillies Jim Bunning pitches perfect game (Mets) on Fathers day, in 2nd game of DH, Mets get 3 hits, 3 being fewest hits in NL DH
1963 Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) succeeds John XXIII
1962 USAF Major Robert M White takes X-15 to 75,190 m
1960 Armin Hary runs world record 100m (10.0)

Retro History For The Decade 1950

1956 Anti-protons detected in the atmosphere
1956 East Germany frees almost 19,000 prisoners
1956 Oriole Connie Johnson beats WS Jack Harshman (1-0) in dual 1 hitters
1954 John Landy runs world record mile (3:58.0)
1952 Betsy Rawls wins LPGA Women's Western Golf Open
1951 "17" opens at Broadhurst Theater New York City for 180 performances
1951 Patty Berg wins LPGA Women's Western Golf Open
1951 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Evangelii praecones
1950 Joe DiMaggio gets his 2,000th hit
1948 Columbia Records (US) announces first mass production of 33-1/3-rpm long-players. Sceptics fail to see the company's wisdom as the 78 is at an all-time high

Have a groovy vintage retro day!

- Retro Rebirth


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