On August 12, 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. His device used a cylinder to record and playback sound. The disc record (gramophone record) was invented over 10 years later by Emile Berliner, a German-born American inventor.
So, for some strange reason, August 12 has been declared Vinyl Record Day by a nonprofit organization — even though Edison did not invent the vinyl record. Personally, I think Berliner’s May 20 birthday would be a more appropriate choice. But, I guess Thomas Edison has more appeal to Americans than the man who actually invented the record as we know it today. (I apologize for my German-American pride coming through here.)
Anyway, the mission of the organization is noble enough:
Vinyl Record Day hopes to increase awareness that economics prevent record companies from transferring everything recorded to compact disc. Educating the public on why and how to care for a record collection is seen as an important step toward preservation. Responsibility for preservation rests with the public, not record companies. It’s up to you and me to preserve and care for our record collections. We’ve kept them because they represent an important part of us and now with time we have become the custodians of our recorded heritage. It is up to us to assure future generations will not lose an important link to recorded history.
Emile Berliner with gramophone. Image via Wikipedia
I still regret that day that I took my crates of vinyl to Wherehouse and traded them in for a handful of CDs. At the time, I believed news reports that eventually everything recorded on vinyl would be available on CD.
Sadly, there were a lot of records in my collection that will probably never be made available. I had quite a few rare 12” singles, such as Billy Idol’s White Wedding on white vinyl and most of The Smiths early singles. I would love to have them today.
The Vinyl Record Day website also includes a list of what poll results determined to be the top ten album covers of all time. Not surprisingly, all ten covers can be found in the AAX gallery.
You can visit http://www.vinylrecordday.com for more information on Vinyl Record Day.