Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Columbia Double Disc records....What a great idea!! Amazing it took till 1908 for it to happen

Wow, what a great idea! Put a record on both sides! One would think that it would be a no brainer!
But in the early days of the recording industry that was not case. Records were always made in a single sided format. It was not until the first successful two sided records were made by the Columbia Phonograph Company in 1908 that everyone took notice. The Columbia Co. came up with what they called their “Double Disc Record” and it was very successful and led every other company to follow their lead, some reluctantly.
There were advertising records made by Columbia recording artists such as Frank C. Stanley (William Stanley Grimstead) and Henry Burr ( Harry MacClasky) telling the wonders of the double disc record pointing out the consumer would be buying two records for just a slightly higher price than the cost of a single sided disc.
The Victor Talking Machine Co. was not pleased with this new product and told its dealers not to push the double sided records and to push the single sided ones because they were more profitable for the dealer and the production company.
However that was not a successful strategy and the single sided record would slowly disappear from the market.
In the world of classical recordings the idea of putting two sides on a record was not looked on with favor by those companies. Singers such as Caruso, Melba, and Patti were always identified with one sided recordings that were deemed to be a sign of class and snob appeal. In fact the Victor Red Seal records would remain in single sided form until 1922! That year the single sided policy became a “dinosaur” in the eyes of the buying public and was terminated.

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