The Role of Chemistry in History

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History of Recorded Sound

April 20th, 2008 · No Comments ·

Pet Sounds: What is an Album? / History of Recorded Sound / History of Polyvinyl Chloride / Vinyl Records: LPs and 45s / Album Conventions / Health and Environmental Issues / Downfall of Vinyl Records

  • The first practical sound recorder that also played back that sound was Thomas Edison’s photograph.
  • The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877. It recorded sound by converting it to electric impulses that moved an engraver on a wax cylinder. When the cylinder was played a stylus would read the grooves and produce sound. They contained about two minutes of sound.
  • Emile Berliner created the gramophone disc or gramophone record in 1889.
  • Eldridge Johnson developed a way to mas produce gramophone discs.
  • Up until the 1950’s most records were made out of shellac, a natural resin from the insect Kerria lacca. They were brittle and easily breakable.
  • In 1929, microphones were combined with recording technology to greatly improve the clarity and quality of recordings.
  • World War II introduced Magnetic tape to the recording process.
  • World War II also destroyed America’s only source of shellac when Japan blockaded  South East Asian ports. Thus vinyl was used as an alternative. 

Tags: Polyvinylchloride/Vinyl