Tagged: 78 rpm

The speed of rotation of some formats of phonograph disc

Filmophone Flexible Record (1930 – 1932)

Filmophone was an early type of flexible record, introduced by Filmophone Flexible Records Ltd for the UK market in 1930.

They were 10-inches in diameter, double-sided and played at 78rpm. Unlike contemporary 10-inch 78s which were made of heavy and brittle shellac, Filmophone records were made of cellulose, and were initially available in a range of colours. Priced at 2 shillings and sixpence, they were popular in the UK for a time, and many of the releases were by British musicians.

Due to their flexibility, they don’t always lay flat on a turntable, and they were designed to last perhaps a dozen plays.

Nearly 400 titles were released on Filmophone records, but they stopped being produced in 1932.

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Durium record (1932 – 1933)

Durium was the name of a UK record label, and also the name of the material used to make the records it issued, which was a synthetic brown resin invented in the US in 1929. Durium was also used by a US record label called ‘Hit Of The Week’ between 1930 and 1932 to make cardboard-backed flexi-discs, initially with one song, and later with two songs on one side of the disc.

The UK Durium label also used the durium material make inexpensive cardboard-backed flexi-discs containing two songs, and sold at newsstands. Sound quality was as good or even better than the usual shellac used for most phonograph records of the time. They could be played with standard steel needles and were as durable as shellac discs (and less fragile). Like shellac records, Durium records span at 78rpm, but had closer spaced grooves to enable five minutes of playing time (at the expense of bass response).

Most discs were 10-inches in diameter, and were contained in flimsy sleeves. They usually had plain cardboard backings, but some had pictures of the artist.

In the UK, the Durium label released around 40 title from April 1932 to January 1933 at the rate of one per week, on Fridays which was traditionally payday in the UK.

Durium records are still playable today, unless they are badly creased. If the records will not sit flat on the turntable, they can be weighted with a upturned mug or similar object.

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Gala Goldentone (1960 – 1964)

Gala Goldentone records were a series of 6-inch diameter orange vinyl records aimed at children and played at 78rpm. They were produced by Gala Records between around 1960 and 1964, and about 54 titles were available.

Gala Records was a division of Musical and Plastics Industries Limited, which also owned Selcol (who manufactured the records) and Selmer, famous for organs and amplifiers.

In 1968, Gala Records produced another series of records for children called Gala Nursery Records. These were more conventional, being 7-inches diameter and pressed on black vinyl, but they still played at 78rpm.

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The Bell records (1921 – 1926)

The Bell was a record label issued by the Edison Bell Consolidated Phonograph Co in the UK starting in 1921.

The Bell has previously been used as a label for disc records between 1908 and 1912, but this time it was used for childrens records. Initially, The Bell discs were 5⅜ of an inch in diameter, but this later changed to 6-inches.

By the end of production, some titles were released on the label for adults, including some dance band items recorded specially for The Bell.

The label was discontinued in 1926, but Edison Bell continued to release some 6-inch discs under the Crown label.

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Victory records (1928 – 1931)

Victory record were manufactured by the Crystalate Gramophone Record Manufacturing Company for sale in Woolworth stores in the UK.

They were 7-inch 78rpm shellac records, selling for just sixpence (2½p). As well as the latest popular songs, they also contained instrumentals, dances and music for children.

All Victory records were electrically recorded, and had a playing time similar to a standard 10-inch record of the time (hence the claim on the label of being a ‘Long Playing Record’).

They were replaced in Woolworth stores by the Eclipse 8-inch 78rpm, and were discontinued in 1931.

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Pygmy Gramophone (1923 – 1925)

Pygmy Gramophone was a record label owned by Crystalate (who also produced Kiddyphone records) that produced small records aimed at children between around 1923 and 1925.

The records were made for the toymakers Bing Brothers who produced the Bing Pygmyphone, a small tinplate phonograph for children.

The records themselves were 5½-inches in diameter. Catalogue numbers ran from 1 to about 80 and the recordings were a mix of early dance music and popular vocal and instrumental selections.

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Kiddyphone (1920s)

Kiddyphone was a recording label that produced small diameter (either 5½, 6 or 7-inch) 78rpm records aimed at children during the 1920s.

The Kiddyphone label was based in the UK, and was owned by The Crystalate Gramophone Record Manufacturing Company Ltd. who also owned Imperial records. Hence, some releases on Kiddyphone are simply edited versions of Imperial recordings.

Kiddyphone phonographs were very small tinplate devices, wound with a key. Sound quality was very poor.

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8-inch 78rpm records (late 1920s – mid 1930s)


8-inch (20cm) 78rpm shellac records were introduced the late 1920s under labels such as Broadcast (British Vocalion), Eclipse (Crystallate Company), Edison Bell Radio and Plaza.

These records had a slightly narrower groove and smaller centre labels, and were able to compress 3 minutes on a disc that was 20% smaller than standard 10-inch 78rpm records.

Eclipse records were sold from 1929 in Woolworth’s stores for 6d (around 2½p). Eclipse records replaced the previous Victory range of 7-inch shellac records, and were cheaper to produce as well as giving an extra minute’s playing time. Eclipse promised two hits per record, one on either side. By 1935 Woolworth UK sold millions of Eclipse Records each year, but its margins were being eroded by escalating raw material costs. Eclipse records were replaced by the Crown range of 9-inch (22.5cm) records pressed on cheaper Bakelite.

Edison Bell’s entry into the 8-inch disc market came in 1928 with the ‘Edison Bell Radio’ label. These record cost 1/3d (about 6p). Almost all were recorded and made in Britain. It was a high-quality product aimed at the popular market, but the label was cancelled in 1932.

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Broadcast Twelve (1928 – 1934)

Broadcast Twelve was a type of 10-inch 78rpm phonograph record, introduced in 1928 by the UK-based Vocalion Gramophone Company Ltd.

Broadcast Twelve was so named as its narrower grooves and smaller centre label allowed the same playing time on a 10-inch disc as the equivalent standard 12-inch 78rpm record.

Records under the Broadcast label were also available in other sizes (including 8-inch), and were aimed at working-class consumers.

Vocalion sold Broadcast records in non-traditional outlets such as toy shops and stationers. Margins were very slim however, and in 1932 Vocalion went into liquidation, being bought by the Crystalate Gramophone Record Manufacturing Company Ltd. who phased out the Broadcast label by 1934.

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12-inch 78 rpm record (1903 – mid 1950s)

12-inch 78 rpm records were introduced slightly later than the 10-inch version, becoming widely available in 1903.

They increased the playing time to 4 or 5 minutes per side, over the 10-inch version’s 3 minutes and just 2 minutes for contemporary cylinders.

Despite their longer playing time, there were fewer releases on the 12-inch size, and they appear to have died out in the mid-1950s.

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