There are not so many good stories with a happy ending in our life. One of them is the history of gramophone records, or “vinyl”.
It is fundamentally wrong to think that vinyl is something prehistoric. The times of gramophones, phonographs and radiograms were long gone, and now vinyl “turntables” are highly technological devices. So, the sound quality of the audio system with such a player is at its best. At very high altitude! To compare the sound received from the records, with the compact disc is an occupation, believe me, ungrateful. Anyway, first ride on a Mercedes and then transfer to the Zaporozhets. Listen once, and everything will immediately become clear.
Time for a change
If everything is fine with sound, then why did the CD almost completely supplant “vinyl” as a result, you might ask. Why are records being compared with the originals of great artists, and CDs – with their copies, but still the CD is very popular?
The thing is that a CD as a carrier is, of course, more practical. Vinyl records are prone to scratches, resulting in degraded sound. And a CD (unless you specifically scratch it) will last a long time. The second reason is that in the 80s of the last century, technical progress was so rapid that it became unprofitable to engage in the production of complex products. The production technology of a compact disc is much simpler than vinyl, so the choice was clearly made in favor of the first. Gradually, if not literally consumer goods, then cheap equipment in plastic cases with printed circuit boards – in general, stamping – went on sale. At the same time at the peak of popularity was pops. How are these two phenomena related? Yes, very simple. Simple and unpretentious music did not require any strict standards for its recording. The light motive of “un-un” and the sweet voice of Thomas Anders – that’s all. There was no difference where to listen to such music, it sounded almost the same both in the concert hall and on the radio. So, vinyl began to disappear into the past, the release of players was sharply reduced, and the lamp technology turned into an exclusive category. However, not everything is so sad. At one time, probably the best music of the twentieth century was released on “vinyl”. Basically it is, of course, classical, jazz, rock music. However, on sale you can find almost any record, from ABBA to Metallica and Iron Maiden. Of course, the scale of production is incomparable with the mass character of CDs, but it is much more difficult to find “sucks” on the plates. And do not forget about the sound!
Shellac and Vinyl
Back in 1877, when the first phonogram was recorded, the painful search for suitable material for the new media immediately began. The form for the plate was chosen as a circle on which spiral grooves with irregularities were applied. But the question arose – what kind of material to choose? In 1835, the German chemist Justus von Liebig, after long experiments, discovered vinyl chloride, which later played a huge role in industry and everyday life. And five years before the first photogram was recorded, in 1872, another German chemist, Yu. Bauman, obtained a vinyl chloride polymer, which later found its practical application.
The prototype of the modern plate appeared in 1888 – then they used a zinc disc, on which a layer of wax was applied according to the method of the German engineer E. Berliner. By his name, gramophone records are sometimes referred to as Berliner discs. A little later, Berliner introduced another know-how to the world – the method of removing duplicates from the source disk for mass production. At first the discs were stamped from celluloid, ebonite and rubber. But all of them did not arrange because of unreliability. Many more different substances and substances were tried, and in the end they decided to focus on a natural resin called shellac. She stood out with young shoots of plants with the direct participation of female insects Tachardia Lacca (Tachardia Lacca). To obtain the raw material for the plate, it was necessary to separate the shellac from the bark of the plants, process it with hot water, melt it and filter. The material itself was worth its weight in gold (one female in her short age manages to isolate only 20─25 mg of this substance).
At that time, the only device that could reproduce the recordings was a gramophone with a spring drive and a horn that played the role of modern speakers. In addition, he filtered out clicks and noises. Due to the fact that the steel needle pressed against the plate very strongly, the disks very quickly deteriorated. The best way out was to duplicate the recording on the back of the plate. Over time, when it was possible to achieve a smaller weight of the clamping mechanism, they began to write on the second side the continuations of the works.
Record in Russia
The Russian gramophone industry of the beginning of the 20th century was a series of small artels. It is known about two factories in Moscow – “Writing Amur” and the Pathee brothers factory, about one – near Moscow, at the Aprelevka station (“Metropol Records”) and about one – in St. Petersburg (factory of the Russian-American JSC Gramophone)