Sunday, May 30, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl Excerpt: Chapter Eighteen: Alchemy

(From the unpublished novel, Copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)


The process of putting sound onto vinyl can be compared to the same type of medieval alchemy that caused individuals to be burned at the stake for witchcraft. Wizards were required to perform such magic.
Leo delivered the package containing Teddy’s master tapes to the Berliner Record Processing Plant in Newark, New Jersey, a small company with a good reputation and affordable prices. The package also contained the necessary information and logos required for the labels.

The first step in manufacturing a record was to create a lacquer-coated disc called an acetate. A disc recorder with a stylus made of sapphire to ensure superior recording quality, captured the audio signal fed from the tape. The stylus moved across the disc at the exact speed of forty-five revolutions per minute cutting precise spiral grooves as it went along. After painstaking inspection through a microscope, the acetate was then test played. If approved, it became the ‘Master Disc,’ and never played again.
An electroplating process then bathed the acetate in silver, nickel and then copper to create a second metal disc called a ‘mother.” This disc was plated a second time, resulting in a ‘stamper copy.’
Bags of powdered vinyl heated into soft, soggy clumps called ‘biscuits’ were placed on a hot tray next to the operator of an automatic hydraulic press. The press contained two molds mounted face to face with a hinge at the rear. The stamper disc for the “A” and “B” side of the record was placed one above and one below the molds. After the labels were positioned, the powerful machinery was put into operation. Steam heat forced the vinyl material into every tiny groove. The result was an audio equivalent of a photograph negative identical in every way to the first. The same machinery trimmed the ragged edges of the record, affixed the labels and punched the hole in the center. The record was then bathed with water, which instantly hardened it. The process was repeated, pressing records at the rate of one every fifteen seconds.
And so it was that a thirty-nine year old factory worker held the record with the bright yellow label featuring the logo of a strutting cockerel. It was her job to randomly listen to a number of newly pressed records looking for defects or imperfections before passing them on for shipping. She was the first person to ever hear Teddy Boyette’s voice on a seven-inch vinyl record.

Rock and Roll quote of the day: "How can you tell me you really miss me? When the last time time I saw you, you wouldn't even kiss me. That rich guy you been seeing must have put you down Sly Welcome back baby, to the poor side of town." From: Poor Side of Town by: Johnny Rivers.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the book Donald. You should try selling it at GEMM.com . Maybe they can post an advert on their site for you.

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