[78-L] Vinyl Record Day Aug 12

Michael Biel mbiel at mbiel.com
Thu Jul 15 12:38:49 PDT 2010

Oy vey.  I just got a newsletter posting about Vinyl Record Day being 
celebrated on Aug 12 because that is the day Edison invented the phonograph.


Here is the correction I sent.  I hope they use it:

"August 12 is NOT the day Edison invented the phonograph.  That was 
November 29, 1877 with the Mary had a little lamb recording done on 
December 6.  Aug 12 was a made-up date when they couldn't find the 
actual lab drawings in the 1920s.  They took a later drawing of a 
tinfoil machine and Edison wrote "Kreuzi Make this  Edison  Aug 12, 
1877"  Since he misspelled his worker's name, someone tried correcting 
it first to Kreusi, and then finally to the correct spelling Kruesi.  I 
have copies of publications of all four versions, blank with no 
inscription and all three spellings.  When the Nov 29 lab sheet was 
discovered, Kruesi, Charles Batchelor, and Edison had all signed it.

In 1927 they did use this fictitious Aug 12 date for a celebration and 
50 years later the Edison National Historic Site used that date to 
celebrate the 50th anniv of that 50th anniv celebration.  They also had 
a small ceremony on Dec 6. 

If you need proof from an official source, contact Jerry Fabris, 
<Gerald_Fabris at nps.gov> Museum Curator,Thomas Edison National Historical 
Park, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, 
211 Main Street, West Orange, New Jersey 07052."


I noted some other errors of fact in the posting and then sent this 
second correction:

"You have another set of fictional stories in your posting.  There were 
no vinyl records in the 1920s.  Most of them were made of a shellac 
compound. Vinyl was not used until 1931 when RCA Victor issued their 
first 33 1/3 Long Playing records.  Which leads to the next points. Gen. 
DAVID Sarnoff (not his son Robert) did not storm out of the meeting with 
Columbia angry at his engineers, he knew they HAD been developing the 45 
since 1940 in a project called "Madame X".  I have photocopies of the 
original recording ledger sheets of this project as proof.  It started 
as a 6 1/2-inch 40 RPM disc and by 1942 was a 7-inch 45 RPM.  I can give 
you exact details of the experimental recordings from the early 40s.  
And your comparison with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates is bogus because 
there was nothing new or patentable with the Columbia LP.  RCA Victor 
and others had already used 33 1/3, vinyl, and microgrooves.  Columbia 
could not have stopped anyone from duplicating their process, and 
couldn't collect a dime in royalties.  And one other thing, Alex 
Steinweiss did not invent album cover art.  I recently did a 
presentation in New Orleans with photographs and release dates of at 
least 200 illustrated album covers that had been issued by a dozen 
labels prior to Steinweiss's first in April 1940.  He was copying what 
other companies had already been doing.  Decca had already issued about 
125 albums starting Nov 1937 and there were illustrated covers on 
Liberty Music Shop, Music Box, Musicraft, Blue Note, Commodore, HMV, 
Victor, Brunswick, Bluebird, Vocalion, and even Columbia.  Steinweiss 
was not anywhere near being first."

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