Norman C. Pickering, Who Refined the Record Player, Dies at 99

norman

(via the New York Times)

by Bruce Weber

…In 1945, Mr. Pickering, who enjoyed listening to records and was frustrated by the sound quality of recordings, developed an improved pickup — that is, the mechanism that includes the phonograph needle, or stylus, and translates the information in the groove of a record into an electrical signal that can be reproduced as sound.

Previous pickups were heavier and more unwieldy; styluses were made of steel, they needed to be replaced frequently, and the weight of the mechanism wore out records after a limited number of plays.

The so-called Pickering pickup (and later, its even more compact iteration, the Pickering cartridge) was introduced just as the favored material for records was shifting from shellac to vinyl, which had a lower playback noise level.

Originally designed for use in broadcast and recording studios, it was a fraction of the size of earlier models, and it replaced the steel of the stylus with a significantly lighter and harder material — sapphire or diamond — which lasted much longer and traced a more feathery path along the record. Because of it, records lasted longer and original sounds were reproduced with less distortion…

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/29/business/norman-c-pickering-refined-the-record-player-dies-at-99.html?_r=0

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