The process of Durium record stamping
In the Baltimore Afro-American an article was published, that I won't with hold you. The title was: Process Speeds Record Stamping 100 Times. Date: 24th of May 1930.
(source: Baltimore Afro-American May, 24th, 1930)
The article reads: Phonograph record making has been speeded 100 times by the discovery of durium, figures announced today by the makers of the "Hit-of-the-Week" record show.
While 700 ordinary records are being made, 70,000 of these new durium-processed discs can be turned out, it is shown. This article was published a few month after the release of the first Hit of the Week records February 1930 in New York City and fits into the advertisement campaign of Durium in newspapers and sponsored radio programs (like the Durium Hour) . Its cardboard records were an invention of a Columbia University professor Hal T. Beans and Joseph Reilly, who invented a way to produce gramophone records on a piece of cardboard covered with a resorcinol-formaldehyde resin, better known as Durium.
The manufacturing of paper records at the Durium Products Inc. factory in Slough)(GB)
The making of an ordinary shellac record was a semi-automatically labour-intensive process. Thanks to this new invention the productive capacity could be increased. Unlike ordinary records, which require time for hardening, the Durium records can be made at the speed of a printing press, for the Durium of which they are made of, hardens so rapidly it is impossible to time the action. As a result the discs can be stamped out fifteen at a time from metal dies, instead of requiring molding. Two years later, new printing machines in Slough (Gb) could produce 12 discs in one time.
A Durium printing press (Slough)(Gb)
Research has given me information about the process of how these records were made. I found detailed information and some pictures from the machines itself, used for printing. The Durium factory in Slough, near London, started its production early 1932 and pictures of the factory have been archived. It guess that the machine must have been like those used in the US, although a pictures show only 12 dies for one plate and the US patent shows 15 dies.
Hit of the Week C-1-2 (Hans Koert collection)If you have a copy of this record take it and have a look at it. It has a promo picture on the reverse of Rudy Vallee with necktie, made by Hal Phyfe, which reads : Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees are now Recording Exclusively For HIT-OF-THE-WEEK RECORDS and you can find at the label side the printed catalogue number C-1-2 ( which means that it was released the Thursday of the first and second week of the third month (C ) (of 1932) and below the label the impressed number 1198 B 2 - which means that the matrix number, the actually wax-recording was number 1198, in a range of matrix numbers which started with some test records (prob. 1000 and higher) and with the 1019 as the first actual commercial (promo) record “Tip-Toe Through The Tulips With Me” by Don Voorhees Orchestra (Recorded ca. December 1929).
Song "Alma Mater"(Lawrence University)
We do have some limited information about the actual recording proces ….. It is known that Durium had his own studio at the old MCGraw-Hill Building, West 42nd Street near Ninth Avenue, New York City, but it is unknown if the actually factory was located there too - the place where the records were produced - printed …. Thanks to the archive of the University of St. Lawrence which had decided late 1929 to release a small cheap cardboard record to raise money to build a new dormitory, we know that Durium could work fast and was very flexible in its organisation - it even seems that the recordings could be made on location …… In two previous blogs: Alma Mater - Preparations and Alma Mater: the record you can learn more about the process.
The power of Durium was, that they could produce a large amount of records and distribute 350,000 up to 500,000 records all over the States within a few days. Unfortunally its ledgers are lost, like its administration, so we can only guess about the period between the firs idea for a new project, its first contacts with the musicians (studio-musicians), the actual recording ( stock arrangements) and finally the release ....
It would be great if visitors of this site who have knowledge of this process could help me to find additional information about Durium's
time schedules ....
Deze blog is ook in het Nederlands gepubliceerd als: De fabricage van de kartonnen Duriumplaat.
autor of the (online) Hit of the Week-Durium discography