The Reproduction of Cylinder Recordings at the Library of Congress

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Robert B. Carneal

Abstract

The reproduction of cylinder recordings has been a continuing challenge to the Library of Congress since the Recording Laboratory was first installed in 1941 through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In that year 200 cylinders collected be Percy Grainger, containing valuable examples of Maori, Raratongan, English, and Danish folk music, originally recorded between 1904 and 1927, were transferred to instantaneous discs. Instantaneous discs, usually made of nitro-cellulose, are those that can be played back immediately after manufacture, in contrast to metal masters, which require processing and the production of shellac or plastic copies before playback is possible. Since 1941 the Laboratory has duplicated about 5000 cylinders onto disc or tape.

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