Indestructible Record (1907 – 1922)

Indestructible Records were a type of phonograph cylinder made by the Indestructible Phonographic Co of Albany, New York starting in 1907.

Unlike the competing Edison cylinders (Gold Moulded Records and from 1908, Amberol Records) that were still made of a wax compound, Indestructible Records were made of celluloid making them much more durable. In addition, Indestructable records had a thick cardboard core, and metal rings at both ends.

It wasn’t until 1912 that Edison also began making celluloid cylinders (in the form of Blue Amberol Records).

As well as being sold directly, Indestructible Records were also distributed by Columbia Records, and were available through Sears, Roebuck and Co. under the Oxford Records label. Two and four-minute (from 1909) cylinders were available, and over the course of production 1,598 titles were available.

Indestructible Records were made until 1922, when a factory fire ended production.

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Amberol Records (1908 – 1912)

Amberol Records were a type of phonograph cylinder, introduced in 1908 by Edison Records. They were successor to the Gold Moulded Record, and by doubling the number of grooves to 200 threads per inch, Amberol Records doubled the playing time to 4 minutes.

The wax used in Amberols was a harder compound than previously and this new compound also began to be used in Gold Moulded Records at the same time. The process of making Amberol Records was the same, using a gold-coated mould made from a master cylinder, and like Gold Moulded Records, ran at 160 RPM.

Machines designed to play the older cylinders had to be modified to play Amberol Records, and phonographs were introduced in 1909 that could play either by moving a switch.

Although Amberol Records increased interest in cylinder records, there were problems as they cracked easily, could shatter during playback, and wore out rather quickly. Amberol Records were replaced in 1912 by Blue Amberol Records that used a different formulation (celluloid reinforced with a plaster of Paris core) to overcome some of these problems.

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Preservation / Migration

media stability 4obsolescence 4

Blue Amberol Records (1912 – 1929)

Blue Amberol Records are a type of phonograph cylinder recording, introduced by Edison Records in 1912. They replaced the 4 minute black wax Amberol Record introduced in 1908.

Blue Amberol Records are made of blue celluloid around a plaster of paris core, and play for 4 minutes at 160 rpm. Their introduction led to a resurgence of sales of cylinder records.

After 1915, many Blue Amberol Records were acoustically dubbed from Edison Disc Records, and some recordings contain the sound of the disc machine starting and stopping. The celluloid surface of a Blue Amberol Record is able to withstand hundreds of playings, with only a moderate increase in surface noise if played on well-maintained machines with a stylus in good condition.

Kits were available to allow Blue Amberol Records to be played on older cylinder machines, and some machines were produced that could play both.

Production of Blue Amberol Records ceased in 1929, when Edison Records closed.

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Preservation / Migration

media stability 4obsolescence 4