I don't know this for a fact, but I bet there are components of shellac that are either not
available anymore or are too toxic for anyone to produce in US or EU countries.
In the RCA film, "Command Performance," the announcer says there are dozens of ingredients in the
shellac compound used to produce Victor records.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Stamps" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2014 7:03 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] shellac 78 problem
> For a few years now, there have been discussions in other forums about the need for even just one
> press in the world that could press shellac records, since there are quite a few people who would
> like at least one full-fledged authentic shellac disc record of custom recordings that can play on
> original mechanical "hand crankers" - gramophones and Victrola phonographs. As explained in
> another of these forums:
> There is an EMI patent from 1957 containing a reference to how shellac records were pressed:
> "Shellac records can be satisfactorily pressed at a hydraulic pressure of 1,250 pounds per square
> inch and a steam pressure of 100 pounds per square inch with a moulding cycle of 25-35 seconds.
> The normal weight of 10" records produced under these conditions is 6-6 1/2 ounces with an average
> thickness ranging between 0.068" and 0.075"." (British Patent No. 865,702)
> The raw materials must be blended in a heavy-duty set of calendar rolls, to create a uniform
> mixture, which contains slate dust as well as some other fillers, which is a very difficult
> procedure. The material containing shellac includes gum, dope and dyes, along with carbon black,
> which can hold up under pressure and heat.
> The last known records pressed in shellac form on a regular bases were made in India in the
> mid-1960s. Perhaps there could be a manual hydraulic press somewhere in that country that is
> repairable? If there is an individual somewhere that is pressing shellac records, they have yet to
> announce their existence publicly, but there's always hope.
> Tim Stamps
> Independent Archivist
> On Sep 3, 2014, at 3:57 PM, Richard Grimes wrote:
>> Greetings ARSC!
>> I am new to the list, so I hope I am corresponding with you all in the proper manner with this
>> email. If not, just let me know and I will redress accordingly.
>> I am the Artistic Director of an eclectic contemporary group called cordis - and I am in a
>> pickle - hoping you or one of your members might be able to assist, or at least point me in a
>> direction. I very recently aquired a Victor IV talking machine, with the foolish assumed there
>> would some boutique sources out there that would be able to press shellac discs. My research has
>> indicated otherwise, and I am now in a bit of a panic as the ensemble is knee deep in the
>> recording of a new album that is dependent upon the use of our trusty
>> Victor. We can always fake it in the studio, but live, we cannot.
>> Do you know of any sources who might be able to assist us here? i am a neophyte when it comes to
>> understanding this early technology, so please forgive me if my query comes across as ridiculous.
>> any direction you might be able to offer is greatly appreciated.