An early long-playing (LP) record made from vinyl copolymer, 1950s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This recording by Frank Phillips was presented to the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayores of Birmingham during their visit to the Tyseley Works of Bakelite Plastics Ltd. Vinyl copolymer (polyvinylchloride(PVC)) records 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).