Vinyl records are continuing to see a resurgence across the globe with new production factories opening to deal with the demand. This is a far cry from the 90s when CDs took over as the main form of music storage being cheaper to produce and a lot smaller making it portable.
But when did vinyl records first come out and how did they evolve over time. We look into the history of modern vinyl as well as what came before the modern vinyl record.
Who invented the modern LP Record?
Peter Goldmark created the world’s first LP (Long Play) record in 1948. These were 12 inches in diameter and had he capacity of around 21 minutes per side meaning artists could fit entire albums onto a single LP.
When did vinyl records first come out?
The disc shape we know today as a record first came to market around the 1890s with the Gramophone. This wasn’t the first device that played using a stylus and grooved surface, however this is the device that popularised music on a disc format.
What is the oldest vinyl record known?
Emile Berliner recorded the first album in the history of the world in 1889. This was recorded by her father the original inventor of the Gramophone. Unfortunately the record was destroyed, but a sound historian at Indiana University recreated the album using just a printed photograph of the album – When recreated they heard the first album vinyl record by Emile Berliner which was her reciting Friedrich Schiller’s ballad Der Handschuh.
When did people start using vinyl?
People have been buying vinyl records since the early 1990s. The format became popular with the rise in pop music, 1950s-1980s saw the height of vinyl records with the Walkman and tapes entering the market in 1979 and CDs coming around in the 1980s which then changed the way we listened to music.
Vinyl records origins and history
The modern day vinyl record we see isn’t the first incarnation of records. Below we go through the history
The Edison-Scott Phonautograph
In 1857 a French Inventor Edouard-Leon Scott created a specialist device which utilised a vibrating pen to graphically represent sounds onto small paper discs. The device was known as the Phonautograph and was used to help us get a better understanding of the characteristics of sounds.
Edison took an interest in this device and in 1878 took the concept and turned it into a machine that was capable of replaying the sounds it recorded. The device used a stylus much like modern record players with the records being cylinders discs made of tinfoil with grooves cut into them.
In the 1880s as previously mentioned a German-born US inventor Emile Berliner invented the very first vinyl record player – the Gramophone. Unlike modern record players this was manually operated at 70 RPM an it functioned by playing a rubber vulcanite 7 inch disc with small lateral grooves cut into its exterior.
The Read Seal Line
Things were picking up and just 13 years later vinyl records would go through a series of material alterations and changes until 1901, where the Victor Company realised its Red Seal line, capable of playing vinyl records in the form of 10 inch, 78 RPM records.
This format would be the front running for the next 47 years.
Present day record players
LPs were introduced in 1948 these took over from the 10 inch record playing at a lower speed as well as capable of having around 22 minutes of running time on each side. The resilience and larger storage size meant the LP quickly took over as the main vinyl record format.
When did vinyl records stop being popular?
In the 1980s with the invention of tapes and CDs the vinyl record sales tumbled. Modern technology took over as CDs became portable and took up much less space.
How vinyl records made a comeback?
In the late 00s with MP3s being the main music format and IPods being at the height a resurgence for vinyl began. Collectors wanted physical items, playing music became an experience again and people wanted to support artists and music in the best way they could.
Today in 2022 vinyl continues to improve in sales with it growing yearly for the past 10 years. Vinyl sales have helped many artists including relatively new bands like Yard Act reach No.2 in the album charts on their debut purely from the support of vinyl records.