'Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band', vinyl LP record by The Beatles, 1967.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Vinyl copolymer (polyvinylchloride(PVC)) records first appeared in the United States in 1948, and have been produced commercially in Britain since the 1950s. Earlier LPs were made of other plastics such as Bakelite and shellac. The advantages of vinyl records those made from these earlier materials were that they were lighter, les brittle, and were cheap and easy to produce, making mas production posible. Problems of sound quality, ease of damage by scratching, and warping of records when exposed to heat were prominent factors in the decline of vinyl from the 1980s, and its replacement by polycarbonate compact discs (CDs).