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Re: [ARSCLIST] Early Polydor electrics, the depression, etc
----- Original Message -----
From: "Steven Smolian" <smolians@xxxxxxxxx>
> I have no documentation to prove it but feel certain that the reason
> Columbia made paralell recordings acoustically to their electrics, the
> former issued on Harmony, was to cater to the old wind-up market.
I had always thought...and I believe research has confirmed this...
that Columbia had spent a fair amount improving their acoustic
recording in 1924, after UK Columbia took over US Columbia and
financial problems eased. Figuring that many record buyers still
had acoustic players, they tried to squeeze a few more dollars
out of their acoustic hardware by using it to record their
> I can't say I've been impressed with the sound of early electrical players-
> the acoustic orthophonics sound better to me. It took into the carly
> mid-1930s before the nominally affordable electrical players apeared, by
> which time the depression had bitten deeply, delaying futher the broader
> casting of the newer technology. Radio and movies gave more satisfactory
> "new" sound for less outlay. This factor has never been given the weight it
> deserves in sifting through the factors that make so many depression-period
> records so scarce, particularly in good condition. The multi-ounce pressure
> from normal electrical playback heads was bad enough. Not replacing the
> needles regularly (people spent money on food) accounts for the wretched
> condition of so many records issued at that time, particularly those for the
> black and country markets.
It was probably c.1935 before it occured to RCA Victor that one could
build players with piezo-electric cartridges (which were also much
lighter than the horseshoe-magnet electric reproducers first used)
and plug them into RCA radios (or have your "radio man" install a
jack feeding the audio circuit of your existing radio set)...
Steven C. Barr