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You know, I bet the plant infrastructure was just added on and built out over time, that would be 
typical way of using an old facility. I don't know if Mercury's ownership of the plant pre-dated 
Philips (1960) or if Philips owned or leased the plant before they bought Mercury. Eventually, I 
think the plant was operated by an independent pressing company, which pressed for Atlantic, among 
others. Someone said, I think on this list, that the site eventually had a CD manufacturing plant on 
it, but it wasn't a Philips/Polygram plant (their U.S. CD manufacturing was originally in North 
Carolina, in a joint venture with DuPont).

In the early days of Philips owning Mercury, the Richmond plant was capable of using quiet vinyl and 
pressing records in the league of RCA Indianapolis, but not quite as good (for one thing, the vinyl 
was lighter weight). However, by about 1964, the quality had gone downhill. By the late 60's, 
everything coming out of that plant was noisy and scratchy. They seem to have had plating issues as 
well as cheap-vinyl syndrome. Everyone I know who worked for Philips/Phonogram/Polygram told me that 
Job 1 as far as the executives in Holland were concerned was keeping costs down and cutting wherever 
possible. For what it's worth, RCA's quality also went downhill, starting with the ill-advised 
Dynagroove system.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Malcolm" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 11:47 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Richmond plant (was: A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine)


> Off on a related tangent, I've often wondered if, after Gennett sold the plant to Decca and then 
> Mercury (with maybe a couple of other client record companies like Joe Davis and Phillips, who 
> both had records pressed there) they all used the same presses as the elephants that depended from 
> Gennett. It would explain a number of things if they did, including the quality, or lack thereof, 
> of the pressings issued.
> Malcolm
>
> *******
>
> On 2/22/2016 1:36 AM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Hi Eric:
>>
>> I have no idea why Mercury used the various colored labels. It could have to do with what vinyl 
>> compounds were used, or the distribution lists, or something else. I am pretty sure that 
>> Mercury's Richmond plant, at least in the early 60's, used a quieter vinyl compound for the 
>> broadcast-only pressings. I have plenty of Limelight albums pressed there in the late 60's, with 
>> Broadcast Only labels, and the vinyl is awful, so apparently some Philips cost-cutter changed the 
>> protocol at some point. The early Richmond Mercury Living Presence cuts, the ones with "RFR" in 
>> the deadwax, generally aren't bad. I think a noisier vinyl compound was generally used for 
>> Philips USA pressings of the same era. The PHS90000/PH50000 series was cut at Fine Recording, 
>> from tapes sent over by Philips, and pressed at Richmond. The USA cover art and liner notes were 
>> original to this market, too. At first, after buying Mercury, Philips tried to establish a unique 
>> label/brand in the US market. They never put enough money behind it and never had any marketing 
>> skill, so it didn't catch fire. They pulled the plug on all of this by the early 70s, 
>> consolidating their classical record business in Holland. There is also some overlap in the 
>> Mercury and Philips classical catalogs. Mercury made a series of recordings for Philips, all 
>> released on the Philips label, in 1961 in England. And, in the SR90400 range, there are some 
>> recordings from Philips released under the Mercury Living Presence label here. Mercury producer 
>> Harold Lawrence produced recordings for Philips, notably Colin Davis/LSO Handel Messiah. And, 
>> from 1965 on, Philips engineers made the Mercury recordings in England, using their own version 
>> of the 3-spaced-omni mic technique, which they called "M3."
>>
>> -- Tom Fine
>>
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Nagamine" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 4:03 AM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>
>>
>>> Tom,
>>>
>>> Thanks for the link to the Penndorf page. I'd forgotten about his work on
>>> labels.  I found that he does mention that the colored labels were promo/for
>>> broadcast pressings in section 11. It's interesting that there were various
>>> colored promo labels when labels like Columbia generally only had white
>>> label promos. I think that RCA had no promo labels only the "for
>>> demonstration" stamp on the backs of their jackets. London only had those
>>> round promo stickers on the front of the jacket.  I don't think I've ever
>>> seen EMI or UK Decca promo labels.
>>>
>>> Thanks to Karl Miller about the Copland 3rd. I guess I need to purchase the
>>> Pristine release of Carnegie Hall performance of BSO/Koussevitzky.
>>>
>>> --------------------------
>>> Eric Nagamine
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
>>> Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 3:00 AM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>>
>>> Hi Eric:
>>>
>>> I don't have answers to all your questions, but some info. See below.
>>>
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Nagamine" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 3:21 AM
>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] A couple of Mercury questions for Tom Fine
>>>
>>>
>>>> Hopefully Tom can answer a couple of questions..
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> 1.       I've been sorting through a deceased friend's collection and I
>>>> noticed there were many different colored labels in addition to the normal
>>>> Dark Plum or later Red labels. There's the common white label promo, but
>>>> I've also found Pink, Green, Yellow and Gold labels in place of the normal
>>>> plum or red labels on stereo SR series discs. Some say promo and some
>>> don't.
>>>> Any significance in this? I know some of the early mono Mercuries have the
>>>> Gold Label and I think so does the Civil War sets, but these are not
>>> those.
>>>>
>>> First of all see this, from the late Ron Pendorf
>>> http://ronpenndorf.com/labelography3.html
>>> Ron got his information directly from Harold Lawrence, so I assume it's
>>> correct. Ron doesn't address
>>> the green, pink and yellow labels I have seen from time to time. I assume
>>> they have to do with
>>> promotional or other uses. Ping me off-list with some deadwax info on those
>>> records and maybe we can
>>> figure out some things. One thing I can tell you  is that the non-glossy
>>> sleeves of early issues,
>>> even if they have color printing on the back, indicate an inferior pressing
>>> from Mercury's own
>>> Richmond IN plant. The best pressings, 1951 through about 1962, were done at
>>> RCA Indianapolis and
>>> have an "I" somewhere in the deadwax. What has surprised me is how bad the
>>> Richmond "for broadcast
>>> only" white-label pressings are! Those were supposed to be the best vinyl,
>>> for broadcast. The
>>> examples I have did not shine a nice light on the quality of Mercury's
>>> plant.
>>>
>>>> 2.       Do you know if the Dorati/Minneapolis Copland 3rd in the most
>>>> recent Mercury box has the uncut version of the finale? From what I
>>>> understand, every recording from the late 50's on use Leonard Bernstein's
>>>> cuts from the late 40's, even the 2 Copland led recordings.
>>>>
>>> I am not familiar enough with the work to know the answer. Here is a video
>>> said to be of that
>>> movement:
>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZruGxBJwwg
>>> BY THE WAY -- I can tell you that all the wow and flutter and distortion you
>>> hear in this lousy
>>> transfer DON't EXIST in the new CD reissue, thanks to Plangent Process. The
>>> work is available in Box
>>> Set 3 and as a 96/24 download from HDTracks. We also got a much more full
>>> sonic spectrum, thanks to
>>> Andy Walter at Abbey Road Studios. If there were enough potential sales, and
>>> thus interest from the
>>> corporate parent, I'd remaster all the mono recordings the way we did
>>> Copland 3rd.
>>>
>>>>
>>>> Thanks for any light you can shed on this.
>>>>
>>> You're welcome!
>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --------------------------
>>>>
>>>> Eric Nagamine
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>
>