Thursday, January 07, 2010

Durium80: 1930 - 2010

Most record collectors know the brown flexible paper records made from the synthetic Durium material. This resin was invented by Mr. Hal T. Beans, professor of Chemistry at Columbia University (1921 - 1947). He sought for years in his laboratory for a resin that was flexible, but otherwise had an extreme tensile strength. This Durium resin was tasteless, odorless, highly resistant to heat and hardened quickly. It was used as a fire-and-water proof substitute for varnish which could be sprayed on the non-metallic parts of airplanes and, because of its properties, was also used as the “durable” film on the cardboard base of the Durium records. Those disks were used to record a varied range of music-styles, advertisements, custom records and courses. The most well known, the Hit-of-the-week records, were issued in a weekly times schedules - that's where its name comes from; records for export or advertisement- or custom records were labeled Durium.

This year we celebrate the fact that the Durium records were first released 80 years ago. The weekly Hit of the week series was released in Febuary 1930 for the very first time and the Hit of the week blog will follow the weekly issues starting the 6th of February, when the first Hit of the week ( HOW 1019), a promo record, was released for free. These weekly issues - in 1930 each Thursday a new Hit of thew week was released - will be reviewed each weekend at the Hit of the week blog.

Before the first records were released commercially several test records must have been made: two of them have survived. The first one, Back In Your Own Back Yard by the Hit of the Week Orchestra, has been reviewed a few weeks ago and soon I'll post some comments to a Broadway test record.
To celebrate this fact I love to give some original Hit of the week records for free to the regular visitors of this blog, who love to have one in their collections. If you love to have such an originally 1930s US Hit of the week record, please contact me and ask to be on the list. If the number of people exceed the number of records, I'll draw lots to select.

Hans Koert

This contribution is also posted at the Flexible records blog.

In December 1929 the DURIUM PRODUCTS CORPORATION prepared the start of a new unbreakable record, made of cardboard. The well known weekly issues, called the Hit of the Week, were released in a weekly schedule, which started in February 1930. The Hit of the week blog and the Keepswinging blog will follow the development of these 80 years old records in an unique series of blogs. If you love to be informed about these contributions ask for the newsletter


Blogger Jo said...

Put me on the list! - I had a view of your collection of original HOW records summer 2006, and I intend to be a regular follower of the 'reviews' to be posted from Feb 6th. I'd like to promote this series of reviews showing a real item to other people around here with an interest in the story of recorded sound.

January 09, 2010  

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