----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
> What's the history of vinyl 78's? I have a small pile from I think the very
early 50's, these are
> pop and country tunes. Was vinyl used for 78's in any mass quantities previous
to when vinyl LPs
> were mass-manufactured? The "newest" vinyl 78's I know of are kiddie records
pressed in the
> mid-60's. Aside from novelty stuff, was the medium used after the mid-60's?
> Thanks for the coming history lesson!
Yes! The manufacture of plastic 78's started during the WWII shellac
shortages, as a "makeshift" measure. It was found that they suffered
from short useful lives when used at home (on older players with
heavy tracking weights)...but radio stations, who had better players,
much preferred the relative noiselessness. When shellac became readily
available late in WWII (and the AFM ban ended, as well)...at least
some labels offered radio stations (who were starting to be provided
with free "promo records" at the time) the option of service which
provided vinyl copies.
In the later forties, labels began to offer (nominally) "unbreakable"
records...usually, as I understand it, mixtures of shellac and plastic.
Of course, vinyl records became standard for 33/45 pressings (question
of my own here...were any early shellac LP's ever pressed...?!), which
made the pressing of plastic 78's a simple possibility.
As far as "kiddie records"...plastic offered two major advantages:
First, as 78's disappeared, and records became vinyl microgroove
discs, plastic "kiddie discs" could be pressed on the same equipment;
second, the "unbreakable" (comparatively, anyway...?!) vinyl discs
stood the inevitable wear, tear and abuse much better than the old
shellac ones ever had...!
The few commercial and/or internal-use 78rpm pressings were made
on 10" LP presses by c.1960 (Broadcast Libraries were on vinyl
78's until at least 1968; I have a (use unknown) STEREO(!) 78 made
by RCA(C) in 1968; and occasional vinyl "test pressings" used
either for evaluation or for LP creation appear on auction lists
Steven C. Barr