Commercial phonograph records were, and still are stamped into shellac or vinyl by metal dies.
Instantaneous discs were cut on a recording lathe, often quite
simplified, and could be played back immediately without the need
for any processing. A variety of surfaces were used which had to
be soft enough to be cut or embossed, hard enough to withstand a
reasonable number of careful playings without breaking down. A variety
of playing speeds, disc diameters and groove widths were used
as the technology evolved. Radio programs were documented in this
way as were baby's first words.
Here are the basic surfaces:
Aluminum Lacquer Thin plastic Cardboard
Only during the LP era were stylus pressures light enough to be expressed in grams rather than ounces. Groove damage from heavy tone arms, repeated playings and worn or improper needles is not unusual. I select the stylus most appropriate to the groove's present condition from an assortment of over 30 sizes and shapes.
site ©2001 Steven Smolian rev 1