A good turn out heard Paul tell of the earliest Edison cylinder player dating from 1877. The cylinders were wrapped in tin foil on which the sound was imprinted. The foil was not the most robust covering as it could snag and tear. Alexander Graham Bell had developed the hard wax cylinder in 1888 which became the popular replacement until about 1912 when they were replaced by the disk. Players developed in the USA and in the UK almost simultaneously and several companies at this time were working in both countries.
1924 saw the introduction of electronics in the recording and playback systems, but units using acoustic methods were still popular and they were less expensive. Auto changers were introduced during the 1930s to enable more than one record to be ‘stacked’ for almost continuous play and in 1948 the LP was introduced and the use of shellac had been replaced by vinyl. The seven inch, 45 rpm record with the large centre hole was introduced in 1949 and became popular through Pop music.
Lightweight portable players for 45 rpm disks became affordable to the youth of the day, but music centres and rack systems were the choice of those who wanted the new High Fidelity sound. In 1982 Sony and Phillips introduced the compact disk and the sound improvement was so great that the LPs began to disappear.
Paul demonstrated a number of players with records from the period which were played so the audience could sample the quality. Brian, G8GHR also displayed some very early players from his extensive collection and the group was treated to sound samples from wax cylinders and early disks.
The presentation ended with some problems encountered in making the old units play again. Apart from gooey lubricants and dust and dirt, old electronics, perished rubber bits and wiring had to be sorted and at times replaced.