Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Transcription Mystery Disc #116

I collect acetates and other home acetate recordings.  Most of them date from after 1940 and before 1960. But until recently they were all aluminum core or paper core. Both were delicate in different ways.  Recently I found three at a church yard sale made of glass.  I knew they existed, but I'd never seen any before.  All three disks are identical makes of Federal Perma Disks. One was broken, one was cracked and one was intact. I bought them all. I read it in a text book some years ago. The reference went something like this: "Glass was also used during World War II, when aluminum was in short supply."  They are somewhat rare in comparison to the other two types of blanks having been made almost exclusively between 1938 and 1942.  That said, Emile Berliner's early blanks in 1887 were made of glass as well.

Two of them are playable, not that jumping that crack is good for the needle or the lacquer. But glass, beyond begin fragile, has a problem.  Things do not stick to it very well. The labels and the acetate coating are trying to peel off the glass at every touch. I scanned the broken one (above) as it is beyond hope and am trying to touch the other two as little as possible. All six sides were used, and labeled, even numbered!  But the damage to the labels is significant leaving me with partial labels on every side.

The recording is of accordionist Isabel Rozen. On the 6th side she notate inexplicably: "This is dark eyes."   Aside from the glass blank, this is otherwise normal, the 10-inch disc recording starts at the outer edge and spins at 78 rpm.

Broken  Disk - 8/31/42
1. Stardust
2. (Unknown)

Intact Disc -  ?
3. Waltz N---
4. Fox Trot M----

Cracked Disc - 8/31/42
5. (Unknown)
6. Miss You - Aloha Oe

All surviving labels date the sides identically so it's safe to assume the set was recorded at that time since they were numbered. August 31st 1942 was a Monday.  It was a scary time, Germany had attacked Russia, and the war was ramping up hence the Aluminum shortage.  The continuity is all there.  But there is no clue to who Miss Rozen was, or where this was recorded. that appears to be lost forever.