Ever wondered how 45rpm vinyl records came to be? If not then you've come to the wrong page. Perhaps instead you would like to go Browse Records . If you have pondered this question then read on.
The first practical sound machine was built by the American inventor Thomas Edison in 1877. Edison recorded sound on a cylinder, which was then rotated against a needle. The needle moved up and down in the grooves of the cylinder, producing vibrations that were amplified by a conical horn. Because of the vertical movement of the needle, this recording method was called the "hill-and-dale" process. Edison had intended the phonograph to be used primarily as a dictating machine in offices. However, with the invention of the flat-disc phonograph, or gramophone, by the German-born inventor Emile Berliner in 1887, the instrument began to develop as an artistic medium for recording the great singers and musicians of the time. The gramophone played records at 78 rpm, and the needle moved laterally (from side to side) in a groove of even depth. Like the cylinder gramophones, it reproduced sound with a needle whose mechanical vibrations were amplified by using a cone-shaped horn. Most such gramophones, moreover, were driven by spring motors and required rewinding. The records were made of shellac and broke easily. Despite such limitations, the gramophone became increasingly popular in the United States, largely as a result of the production of a huge collection of recorded musical pieces by American and European record companies. The companies employed the greatest singers of Europe and the United States, such as the Italian dramatic tenor Enrico Caruso. A wide variety of gramophones were also produced in Europe. In France, a gramophone was developed in which the needle travelled across the record from the centre to the rim, reversing the usual process, and in which the record revolved at 90 rpm; this machine produced sound of very high quality for the period. Swiss music-box manufacturers specialized in the production of small portable gramophones. The immense success of the gramophone led to demands for improved sound. In about 1920, the old mechanical process began to be replaced by electrical recording and reproduction, in which the vibrations of the needle were amplified by electromagnetic devices instead of a horn. The 78-rpm records continued to be used, however, until the invention of the first fully practical long-playing record in about 1948. In the post-war years, the further development of the high-fidelity record player (hi-fi) and stereophonic sound greatly advanced sound recording and reproduction.
British Decca had a far-reaching role to play after World War II when its ffrr--full frequency range recording--became internationally known. The frequency range of discs had been dramatically extended, and Ernest Ansermet's recording of Stravinsky's Petrushka in the new process was to awaken the unsuspecting ears of many record collectors in 1946 to the future high fidelity, or "hi-fi," possibilities of the phonograph. Two other developments in the late 1940s combined with the extended frequency range to produce a radical change in the development of recordings: magnetic recording and the first commercially successful long-playing (LP) record. In 1948 Columbia Records demonstrated 12-inch unbreakable vinyl discs that could play about 25 minutes of music per side. The standard shellac disc had revolved at 78 rpm, and a 12-inch disc had to be changed, automatically or manually, every five minutes, thus breaking up the continuity of longer works; the 12-inch LP, revolving at 33 1/3 rpm, could hold the average symphony, sonata, or quartet on a single side. And the vinyl discs had quieter surfaces than the shellac. Victor soon countered with its own microgroove records: seven-inch vinyl discs at 45 rpm. Each contained approximately as much music as a 12-inch 78-rpm disc, but the package was smaller. By 1950, a pattern had been set: 12-inch LPs for classical works and popular albums, 45s for individual popular songs. Extended-play 45s also were developed and successfully marketed. The LP opened up an entirely new market--not only newcomers but older record collectors who could see the advantage of the new technology and were willing to repurchase their collections as LPs. The 78-rpm shellac disc followed the cylinder into oblivion
So there you have it, that's how 45rpm vinyl records came into being. You've done well if you've read all of the above, so why not reward yourself by Browsing The Records and treating yourself to something.