Volume 13, No. 1
November 2000

Mercurial Matters

Annual Meetings

Letters to the Editor

Urban Legends & the Challenges of Standardization

Paul Israel Wins Dexter Prize

Email & Website Report

An Artificial Line, or Technology as Spectrology

A Daemon in Her Shape

Lincoln Labs Turns 50

Vogue Picture Records

Media Ecology Book Awards

Contact Us

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Vogue Picture Records

In May and June, 2000, the Davidson library at the University of California, Santa Barbara, exhibited its outstanding collection of Vogue Records’ “picture discs” produced after 1946. Picture disks, introduced as early as the 1930s, were an attempt to enhance the appeal of ordinary phonograph records by including artwork on the disc, a precursor to the more elaborate artwork associated with the long-playing record album.

The Vogue Records label was established to commercialize picture discs made by a process developed by Sav-Way Industries of Detroit. The process involved sandwiching a structural aluminum disk and paper artwork between layers of vinyl, into which the recording was pressed. While difficult to manufacture, the disks were apparently of high quality, with less surface noise than ordinary records. The appeal of the artwork, which consisted of sentimental, full-color airbrushed images resembling advertisements, was unfortunately offset by the cost of the records, at least two to three times the cost of an ordinary record. After only a year, Vogue was liquidated, and today the 67 known Vogue titles are prized collectors items. The Vogue records are an outstanding example of the grafting of visual entertainment onto a medium designed to carry aural information.

•UC Santa Barbara Vogue Records exhibit companion site: <www.library.ucsb.edu/speccoll/pa/vogue.html>

•Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors site: <http://www.voguepicturerecords.org.records.html/>