October – More music history #1

1912


Diamond disks

Edison Records, which had produced only cylinder records for four decades, introduces its Diamond Disk. (*)

These 10-inch diameter, quarter-inch-thick records – with cores made from wood flour – have 150 grooves per inch. Like Edison cylinders they reproduce using a vertical stylus motion rather than lateral (side-to-side) motion. (*) (Lateral-cut will eventually become the standard.) They’re played with a long-lasting diamond stylus, at a time when most players use steel or even fiber needles that must be replaced frequently.

The heavy disks are more costly to ship, Edison players are more expensive, and the firm releases less popular music. The records don’t sell as well as the (lateral-cut) Victors and Columbias… with which they are incompatible.

Edison also introduces Blue Amberol Records (celluloid plastic … highly flammable … over a molded plaster core) in 1912. The company goes out of business in 1929.

▷Chocolate phonos▹  Antique phono gallery   OGG: Rachmaninoff playing MP3: KFMU:All-DD podcast

See also: Unusual types of gramophone records, Great Phenol Plot

1949

The first Schwann LP record catalog is published by William Joseph Schwann.

An organist and trained musicologist, Schwann is owner of The Record Shop, across from MIT in Cambridge, MA. A canvass of other record-store owners encourages him to create his first catalog. The 26-page (mainly classical music) catalog, with 674 entries from 11 companies, typed by hand and mimeographed, sells 11,000 copies.

In 1953 Schwann quits the store to do the catalog full-time at 137 Newbury St. in Boston. By 1958 it lists nearly 20,000 LP’s; by the time he sells it in 1976, it lists 40,000 LPs in over 300 pages.

▷NYTimes obit▹  Covers gallery

1967

Island Records issues the first of its pink label records, John Martyn‘s London Conversation. Back to Stay 

By 1972 there’d been 56 ‘pink’ releases, with three designs. ▷Label discog▹

1979

First issue of Seattle‘s The Rocket, a free biweekly local music newspaper. Offices were originally over the Rendezvous Bar in Belltown.

The paper is sold to SF’s BAM in 1995, marking the beginning of the end. How The Rocket Fell to Earth
Review of new book Before Seattle Rocked by Kurt Armbruster