Text and Image Photography

New Images Photography


Vintage record player

For decades record players defined music. These turntables rotated round and round at set speeds so that the diamond needle attached to a moveable arm set down on the spinning grooves of the vinyl to make pleasurable sound. Westinghouse, a major manufacturer of record players, came out with the portable record player in the 1950s (above).

The first record players produced, the 78 rpm models, advanced interest in all music genres. In the 1930s, the 78 rpm speed had been standardized to match the speed at which film moved. A record on the record player at that time enabled you to listen to about five minutes on each each side, allowing recordings to be two songs per record.

After a new standard of 33 rpm was set so that longer recordings could be made on larger records, the record player became ubiquitous with Westinghouse playing a major role in production of the recording output devices.

Record player technology didn’t change until the 1970s when the clumsy eight-track tape was brought on to the market.  From that time, if you’re old enough, you’ve probably experienced record players, eight-track tapes, cassettes, CDs and streaming audio.

The text, images and symbols attached to records and record players played a significant part of popular culture from advertising to design. The playful 1950s font rolled through the player’s front and lid inside and out. The Westinghouse name and symbol became a household word during that time.

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