Durium was the name of a UK record label, and also the name of the material used to make the records it issued, which was a synthetic brown resin invented in the US in 1929. Durium was also used by a US record label called ‘Hit Of The Week’ between 1930 and 1932 to make cardboard-backed flexi-discs, initially with one song, and later with two songs on one side of the disc.
The UK Durium label also used the durium material make inexpensive cardboard-backed flexi-discs containing two songs, and sold at newsstands. Sound quality was as good or even better than the usual shellac used for most phonograph records of the time. They could be played with standard steel needles and were as durable as shellac discs (and less fragile). Like shellac records, Durium records span at 78rpm, but had closer spaced grooves to enable five minutes of playing time (at the expense of bass response).
Most discs were 10-inches in diameter, and were contained in flimsy sleeves. They usually had plain cardboard backings, but some had pictures of the artist.
In the UK, the Durium label released around 40 title from April 1932 to January 1933 at the rate of one per week, on Fridays which was traditionally payday in the UK.
Durium records are still playable today, unless they are badly creased. If the records will not sit flat on the turntable, they can be weighted with a upturned mug or similar object.
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