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Throwback Thursday Object: Metal “Stampers” for Vinyl Phonograph Record Production

APH started record production of spoken word “talking books” in 1936. Audiobooks back then came on black vinyl 33 1/3 rpm phonograph records. The process was fascinating, labor-intensive, and pretty dirty.
This“stamper”—of which we have quite a few—is an example of just how dirty it couldget. After the acetate or “wax” disk was cut on a machine called arecording lathe, the disk was dipped into a nasty brew in our metal platingshop and zapped with electricity. A thin coat of nickel silver graduallybuilt up on the outside. The acetate was peeled away from the resultingstamper and recycled, and the metal stamper was washed thoroughly to get rid ofthe chemicals. You made two stampers for each phonograph record,one for side A and one for side B.
The photograph from 1936 shows thestampers in the jaws of one of our original record presses. Our lastrigid vinyl disc was pressed on May 8, 1987 for a recording of “ThoseDays,” a 1986 family memoir by Richard Critchfield.

Stan Greenwood
A humble human, who is always found working on something or drinking coffee. A perfect introvert who talks barely anything but shares a lot through his blog posts at FredForum.

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