How Shellac Records were Produced and Manufactured

By November 4, 2010General, Technology, Trade

We thank the President for drawing attention to an important process in the history of sound recording and mass distribution. 

From an RCA Victor-sponsored film, “Command Performance,” produced by Ganz Co.

One ingredient is the finest shellac obtainable, which is brought from India. Another resin ingredient is from the East Indies, and like the shellac, is ground into fine powder before mixing.

Eighteen other ingredients gathered from distant places are carefully and accurately weighed in to ensure the most exact proportions to make a correct, final mixture. All ingredients are finely ground and put into the mixer to be carefully combined under heat with the powdered shellac, which is sucked into the machine through a vacuum pipe.

Now all is ready, and the Banbury Mixer rolls!

The entire 19-minute film is available at Archive.org, the Prelinger Archives, at “Command Performance.” The clip quoted above starts here.

Interesting that the manufacturing of 78s was such a globally integrated operation. Shellac from India! And where does the President first travel after admitting he took a “shellacking” on Election Day? India!

P.S. The Banbury Mixer — generations more advanced, of course — is still a valuable piece of manufacturing equipment, produced by the Farrel Corporation, headquartered in Ansonia, CT.

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