On 04/21/2012 06:01 PM, David Lewis wrote:
> The rubber disc story comes from Gelatt. I have never seen one, and have
> never known anyone to encounter one, but that doesn't mean they might not
> have existed. I think that if you found one, it may not be playable by
> conventional methods no matter how hard it might have been originally
> because very old rubber tends to dry out and split.
> And I have no confidence in rubber as a viable playing surface.
Fred Gaisberg mentions rubber in "The Music Goes Round":
"Berliner had been using ebonite or vulcanised rubber for pressing
records. Ebonite took a lot of pressure and would not retain the
impression permanently. Pondering over this he remembered that the Bell
Telephone Company had abandoned vulcanised rubber and adopted a plastic
material for their telephone receivers. The Durinoid Company of Newark,
N.J., were button manufacturers who undertook to furnish pressings on a
similar substance from matrices supplied by Berliner. The new substance
was a mixture of powdered shellac and byritis, bound with cotton flock
and colored with lampblack. It was rolled under hit colanders into
"biscuits." When heated, these "biscuits" were easily molded under
pressure and when cooled they retained the impression. "
He doesn't give the year, but the general time period in the larger
discussion is the 1890s. Also do keep in mind that Gaisberg's memory has
been proven faulty in numerous instances (that, or he withheld or
embellished things, perhaps to avoid embarrassing still-living subjects).
Read and Welch (in the 2nd edition of From Tin Foil To Stereo) also
mention hard rubber Gramophone discs, and say that the discs had uneven
shrinkage when cooling and also occasionally were ruined by gas bubbles
on the surface. They, however, credit Gaisberg for both finding the
Durinoid Company and for arranging for Durinoid to press records in
their shellac-based compound.