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 Post subject: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Tue 16, 2018 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 489
Location: Riverton, UT
I know back in the 40's and 50's there was a machine like a phonograph that came with a microphone. It came with blank records and you could make your own recordings on the blank. Can someone tell me what these machines were called? I've been doing some research and can't come up with anything. Any additional information would be great too. I remember an episode of the Honeymooners where Ed Norton used one to help Ralph made a record to send to Alice so that she would make up with him. Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Tue 16, 2018 8:07 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2528
Location: Haledon NJ USA
One of the major manufacturers of consumer grade record recorders / cutters / lathes during that era was Wilcox-Gay, they called their product the "Recordio". The better portable units, made by Presto and others, were simply called lathes.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8396
Location: Baltimore, MD
There were also recording booths in a lot of department stores where people would go and make their own records. These were usually a little better quality than the ones produced on the Recordio or similar devices.

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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4058
Location: Boston, MA USA
I have some Recordio discs of my late grandparents in 1947 and the quality is very good, close to a commercial record of the period.

-David


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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Aug Sun 23, 2015 6:01 pm
Posts: 674
Location: South Jersey East of Philly
I repaired a Philco console radio/phono from the '40's a while back, and it was factory equipped with a cutter head and circuitry to cut a record.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 4:41 pm 
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Joined: Nov Wed 27, 2013 5:59 am
Posts: 491
Location: Metzger Oregon
There were several different makers, they were popular before magnetic tape became more available. I know Wards made a version, and Packard Bell made several Phon-O-Cord models too. There were 2 types of cutter heads, crystal, which driven by a line amp, and magnetic, which was driven just like a 3.2 ohm speaker. The magnetic units tend to have held up better. The cutting stylus is rare and spendy now. General Industries was one of the larger makers of the actual cutter mechanisms. I have 3 or 4 of them that I am thinking of selling some time soon, but they are heavy so it may not be worth shipping. Some were record changers, others were single play - some were 78 only and some had a 33 speed as well. Note that 33 was not a microgroove LP.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 15, 2014 11:04 pm
Posts: 825
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
As early as 1931, RCA offered the RE and RAE series of home radio phonographs which could record on special discs.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Thu 18, 2018 12:11 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 27317
Location: SoCal, 91387
A couple of comic book ads from the early-mid '50's;


Attachments:
Make your own records comic book ad.jpg
Make your own records comic book ad.jpg [ 197.11 KiB | Viewed 529 times ]
Record-Your-Voice comic book ad.jpg
Record-Your-Voice comic book ad.jpg [ 227.07 KiB | Viewed 529 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Thu 18, 2018 2:35 am 
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Joined: May Fri 15, 2015 4:33 am
Posts: 310
Location: Oakland, CA
I have several of these machines, but only one has been restored to date. That one is a 1941 Wards Airline Radio / Phono / Recorder model 04BR615A. The only part that hasn't been restored is the cutting head, which would cost around $80 for West-Tech to rebuild. I play 78s from the late thirties to the early forties on it, and it sounds very good.
My plan had been to convert some of my CDs to 78's - yes, you did read that correctly. However, I have been told that the unused blanks that one occasionally finds at flea markets, junk stores etc are no good. The material has a limited life, and apparently won't cut successfully. It would appear that the only option is to buy lacquer blanks which are around $25 each. Too much money for me! This is why I haven't had the cutting head rebuilt.
Has anyone tried an 'rejuvenating' method on these old blanks that might make them good for recording on ? Such as baking them for a short period perhaps?
I have two or three Wilcox-Gay units sitting in the wings, and will hopefully get around to them one of these days.
Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Thu 18, 2018 4:00 am 
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Joined: Apr Mon 04, 2011 4:23 am
Posts: 615
Location: SW PA
Bob Bell wrote:
I have several of these machines, but only one has been restored to date. That one is a 1941 Wards Airline Radio / Phono / Recorder model 04BR615A. The only part that hasn't been restored is the cutting head, which would cost around $80 for West-Tech to rebuild. I play 78s from the late thirties to the early forties on it, and it sounds very good.
My plan had been to convert some of my CDs to 78's - yes, you did read that correctly. However, I have been told that the unused blanks that one occasionally finds at flea markets, junk stores etc are no good. The material has a limited life, and apparently won't cut successfully. It would appear that the only option is to buy lacquer blanks which are around $25 each. Too much money for me! This is why I haven't had the cutting head rebuilt.
Has anyone tried an 'rejuvenating' method on these old blanks that might make them good for recording on ? Such as baking them for a short period perhaps?
I have two or three Wilcox-Gay units sitting in the wings, and will hopefully get around to them one of these days.
Bob

Check out videos on Youtube. Guys get pretty creative, cutting records on all kinds of different surfaces. A lot use unwanted CDs, laser discs, lexan/plexiglass, Solo plastic plates, etc. with varying success rates.


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 Post subject: Re: Making Your Own Records Years Ago
PostPosted: Jan Sat 20, 2018 4:01 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2377
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Bob Bell wrote:
My plan had been to convert some of my CDs to 78's - yes, you did read that correctly.
Like the guys that do new cylinders and all the rest - most of which can be found here: https://www.lathetrolls.com
Bob Bell wrote:
However, I have been told that the unused blanks that one occasionally finds at flea markets, junk stores etc are no good. The material has a limited life, and apparently won't cut successfully.
That is true - unless the original blanks were kept in proper storage then they MIGHT work on a HEATED cutter to use as a ref (but not as a master for plating and pressing an LP) - but they definitely would NOT work on your ``basic record grinder'' such as those discussed here..
Bob Bell wrote:
It would appear that the only option is to buy lacquer blanks which are around $25 each.
Refs and dubplates (with the requisite second hole drilled in) are available for less than $10 each and less than that if you get boxes of 25 from e.g. Apollo which now handles their own as well as that of their former rival Transco. Pyral in France (RMGI tape) has one as well.

Another source for new cheap blanks can be had if you befriend a local DJ who is also his own producer.

The cutting studio he contracts with will have L O A D S of leftover fresh master discs that have defects in them (which the studio will have gotten full credit for by taking pictures of the defects and sending them back to Apollo instead of them wasting money paying for return freight) as well as ``Blown Sides'' (which have been cut on at least one side already either partially or completely - which they do NOT get credit for other than by shipping them back and getting a $5 credit each on a $25 lacquer.

So if you offered a studio more than $5 for all their blown/unuseable discs (from a mastering or dubplate quality standard that are often perfectly fine for something like this) - then you'd both get a deal.

And then afterward - if you end up buying fresh ones by the carton - you can turn these discs that YOU blow or no longer want back to the factory and get the $5 apiece credit yourself - or donate them back to the studio you bought them from so THEY can turn them back in for the credit - and buy their leftovers again and so on and so on.
Bob Bell wrote:
Has anyone tried an 'rejuvenating' method on these old blanks that might make them good for recording on? Such as baking them for a short period perhaps?
Rehydration (putting them in a metal film can with a VERY tightly wrung out Handi-Wipe for a couple weeks) only works for playback to loosen the material up so it is no longer brittle and shatters upon playback with even the lightest stylus.
beat_truck wrote:
A lot of guys use unwanted CDs, laser discs, lexan/plexiglass, Solo plastic plates, etc. with varying success rates.
ideas for which as well as instructions can also be found on LatheTrolls.

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