Friday, June 30, 2006

Gramophone record

A gramophone record (also phonograph record, or simply record) is an analogue sound recording medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed modulated spiral groove. Gramophone records were the primary technology used for personal music reproduction for most of the 20th century. They replaced the phonograph cylinder in the 1900s, and although they were supplanted in popularity in the late 1980s by digital media, they continue to be manufactured and sold as of 2006.

A sound recording and reproduction device utilizing what were essentially disk records was described by Charles Cros of France in 1877 but never built. In 1878, Thomas Edison independently built the first working phonograph, a tinfoil cylinder machine, intending it for use as a voice recording medium, typically for office dictation. The phonograph cylinder dominated the recorded sound market beginning in the 1880s. Disc records were invented by Emile Berliner in 1888, and were used exclusively in toys until 1894, when Berliner began marketing disk records under the Berliner Gramophone label. The Edison "Blue Amberol" cylinder was introduced in 1912, with a longer playing time of around 4 minutes (at 160 rpm) and a more resilient playing surface than its wax predecessor, but the format was doomed due to the difficulty of reproducing recordings. In the mid-1910s, disk records overtook cylinders in popularity, and would dominate the market until the 1980s. Production of Amberol cylinders ceased in the late 1920s.