Monday, April 14, 2014


We have used it for years and years.  It is an icon of a simple, maybe better time wherein we lived a simpler life...well, maybe for some.  
Here on Hot Rods and Jalopies, it's nice to deviate from the usual local history and vintage race cars and this post is no exception.  Lots of interesting reading here to scroll on, and click to enlarge as you need to.

45's as we knew them, formally called The 45 RPM Record was developed by RCA Victor in 1949 right after the invention of "vinyl plastic" and the 12" LP record, developed by CBS engineers in 1948.  The 45 RPM speed was the only one to be decided on by the most cost effective procedure.  Calculus was used to show that the optimum use of a disc record of constant rotation speed occurs when the innermost recorded diameter is half the outermost recorded diameter (hope that makes sense).  That is why a 7" single 45 has a label 3 1/2" in diameter.  Given the CBS LP vinyl groove dimensions and certain thoughts about bandwidth and distortion, a speed of 45 RPM comes out of the it?
To sell their idea against the current "reigning" 78 RPM and the CBS 12" LP, RCA released a series of very low priced 45 RPM "only" record players in the late 1940's and early 1950's.  Both amplified and non amplified models were manufactured.  The player shown here was sold in the early 1950's
and was equipped with a ceramic cartridge and an "RCA" jack, also invented at the time.  The model here did include an amplifier and a speaker but others were meant to be plugged into a corresponding female RCA jack in an RCA radio or early TV, and use that product's amp and speaker (something we later called a "deck").  If you are aged 60 or older, you may remember quite a few of these players by 1955, sitting on TV sets.
In spite of LP's popularity, the sales of 45 RPM records continued to increase from the 50's and well into the 70's.  In their peak sales years from 1973 to 1976, more than 100 million were sold in the USA and Canada each year.
All 45's since 1971 have been pressed in STEREO and actually have had the same fidelity output as CD's (20 Hz to 20,000 Hz)......a credit to the RCA engineers more than 60 years ago.

Many varieties of centers were made so that 45's could be played on a number of different styles of turntables, as you can see here and below.
The metal ones are the most collectible today.


On the record label to the left, the triangle center actually came attached to the record and could be knocked out to play on large spindle players.  They were produced this way mainly for use by DJ's throughout the 45 RPM era.
Here are some of your favourite 45 RPM record jackets.  A regular 45 would have one song on each side, and as time went on, record labels produced EP's which were extended play 45's and would have 2 songs per side for a total of 4 songs per record.

People who check out HR&J from time to time know that we have to add something to do with transportation to the blog posts.  The ad shown below was a very popular one in pretty much all hot rod and custom car magazines throughout the very early years of the 45.
$54.95 was a hefty fee for this back in the early 1950's.

The following article in two parts pretty much explains all about the under dash 45 RPM record player.  Be sure to double click on each of these to enlarge them for reading then come back for more!!


This collage shows some of the ways you can protect your 45's during travel or bringing to a friends place....

I have always had a special place in my heart for the lowly 45 and because of that, I have a huge collection of my own and a wonderful 1952 Seeburg M100C Jukebox I purchased from Howard King of the old King's Stereo to play them on.
Double Click on this last record for a tongue in cheek, never actually produced 45. 
Thanks for looking and hope you enjoyed this post.


gwa said...

I'm probably about a decade younger than you (based on the difference between your memory and mine)but I still enjoy reading your blog. The entry about 45's reminded me of how my friends and I would get them cheap back in the late 60's/early 70's. We lived in the Oliver Road/Central Ave/Belrose Road area, and the local hang-out was a pinball arcade (I think it was called the Centennial Arcade, but I may be mistaken). It was run by a local company (I think it was called Mills Amusements) and they rented out jukeboxes all through the Thunder Bay area. Well, the arcade was in a former corner store that was attached to a two-story house and, since no one lived in the house any longer, it was being used by the owners to store various pinball machines and jukeboxes, and hundreds of 45's. After a while, word got out that a lot of the used 45's could be "taken off their hands" for a nominal price (I wish I could remember just how much: I keep thinking it was from 25 to 50 cents, but I may be wrong). We would go up to the food counter and ask to see the ones for sale and the person working there would bring out a couple of stacks of almost-but-not-quite-new used 45's. Between my brother, my sister and I, we probably ended up with a collection of up to a hundred 45's (I bet I still have mine in a box somewhere out in the garage). At the time, I didn't think anything of it but, now, I suspect that selling the used 45's was a bit of a legal grey area, and that was probably why they were sold on such an informal basis.

I recall another story from that time. One of the neighbourhood kids discovered a ladder at the back of the establishment and used it to climb up on the roof of the arcade after dark, and a bunch of us went up there one night and peeked into the second floor windows of the adjoining house. It was like a glimpse into a fantasyland: wall-to-wall pinball machines, jukeboxes, etc. We went up there a few more times until, one night, the ladder was gone. We didn't think much of it at the time and just moved on to the next form of excitement. As it happened, one of the owners of the arcade was the father of Bobby Curtola, and the woman behind the food counter mentioned one night that, if we stuck around until late, we might meet him, as he was in town and might come by later to visit. By this time, CCR and the Stones had supplanted Bobby Curtola as a leader in pop music but, hey, it was a chance to see someone famous, so we waited. Sure enough, he came by with some friends and said hello to everyone there, including us kids. He was very nice and chatted for awhile before announcing that he had to get going. Before he left, he came over to us and told us that we seemed like nice kids and that he hoped we would stay out of trouble."You know," he said, "you really shouldn't climb up on roofs when no one's around. No one wants to see you fall and get hurt." And then he told us to take it easy and left. It's been over 45 years so I'm probably a little hazy on some of the details, but I swear that actually happened.

Dave Cano said...

GWA - Thanks so much for your very interesting addition to this post....I love these stories and it is a great addition to this, and also adds to the fond memories of those wonderful times.