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She's a Record Player!

It is an amazing feeling shuffling through a collection of old vinyl music records and finding one that speaks to you. Vinyl records have been around for almost 100 years and are becoming popular again. We rounded up a model and some vintage records and dug into the history of vinyl records. It looks and sounds great!

Layna Wade portrait
The Edison Standard Phonograph and Hand-Tinted Black & White Tintype Style Photograph circa 1880.
Phonograph candle wax
The Edison phonograph candle wax cylinders...

The very first sound recorder was the phonograph, invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison. The Edison phonograph used candle wax cylinders, which a stylus could cut grooves into to record and replay sounds. The 1890s initiated the transition to flat discs with a spiral groove running from the periphery to near the center, coining the term gramophone for disc record players. 


The first gramophones had a small needle, grooves, a diaphragm, and a horn. Like your modern stylus, the gramophone's small needle is attached to the groove, equivalent to your headshell.

Record player and vinyl records
78 RPM records were made from 1850 to the late 1940s.

The sound is produced only through vibrations and without electrical configurations. And the cool thing is it doesn't need electricity or batteries to work. Just a few cranks, and it plays like crazy.

These flat disc records enabled music lovers to listen to five minute songs on a record made of shellac (a brittle plastic) using 78 rpms or 78 Rotations Per Minute.  

Layna Wade portrait
78 RPM Gramophones were powered without electricity or batteries. Just a simple hand crank. Seems like a good idea.

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Our model loves records.

You can't tell from the pictures, but this was Layna's first time modeling for the 573. While working on this project, she said she learned a lot about vinyl records and their history. Now, Layna is a big fan of records, and this photoshoot has made her want to invest in a record player and a vinyl collection. Layna is an incoming junior at Farmington High School and does hurdles for the school's track team.

Record player and vinyl records
The 33 RPM came into fashion in 1948 and is still going strong today.

The first vinyl records made with polyvinyl material came out in 1948. But the introduction of the 12-inch, double-sided,  33 ⅓ rpm - which is now the standard rpm speed for listening to records - LPs (long plays) allowed artists to create entire albums that could be listened to in their entirety.

Record player and vinyl records
The 45 RPM came into fashion in 1949 

The 45 rpm records were also created. These smaller vinyls were called EPs (extended plays). They were seven inches and similar to the records of old, only playing four to five minutes on each side. They were more commonly used to promote upcoming albums or hit singles. 

Layna Wade portrait

Record player and vinyl records
In the 70's things got groovy...

Whenever we think of vinyl, we think of the '60s and '70s, but this is actually when its popularity started to fade. In the late 1970s, the hot new invention on the market was the Sony Walkman. The Walkman allowed listeners to play cassette tapes almost anywhere. There is no need for clunky vinyl records and their players when you have the newest slim and compact Walkman.

But in 2008, vinyl record sales increased by 87% and have only gone up since then. Seems people love to listen to music that is not perfect. It's the imperfection of vinyl records that makes the music sound so real.

Layna Wade portrait
Today there is a great resurgence back to vinyl records.
Record player and vinyl records
Color no longer defines the genre.

You can pick up used players and old records for little to nothing. It's a great way to listen to music. But something that makes modern vinyls different from older ones is that they usually come in different colors, though colored vinyls have actually been around since 1952. The original purpose of adding dye to vinyl was to separate the genres of music: red for classical, blue for instrumental, green for country, and yellow for children's.

Color no longer defines the genre. In fact, someone can purchase all types of odd-looking vinyls: they could get a plain one basically with any color under the sun, marbled colors, splattered colors, mixed colors, split colors, completely clear records filled with liquid, and they could even get ones with pictures on them. There is also something called a zoetrope. This is where there are different lines of pictures, and when the record gets spun, they look like they're moving. These different variants of vinyl could be why records have become more popular, making them more expensive and more desirable.

First State Community Bank, Building Stronger Communities Ad

Get Out There! Build something. Join something. Listen to something. Buy a record player. Do something. Do anything. What one person can do, another can do. That sunken sofa will be fine without you. 

Words - Finnly Blue

Social Media - Noah Degonia

Video Reels & Story - Noah Degonia

Styling - Jessica Wade

Model - Layna Wade

Pics & Video - Supreme Leader

Special thanks to Denny Ward for using the Edison, Ophelia's, and Dress 2 Impress for using clothing, and Forever Antiques for using the Horn and Records.

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Be sure to visit all of our awesome sponsors who make these stories possible!
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