We still play the vinyl!
You Spinal Tap fans out there know that they recorded their famous album Smell the Glove on the Polymer Records label. Plus you baby boomers reading this page will no doubt remember Billy Joel's big seller The Nylon Curtain. But the polymer-music connection goes even deeper. Come in and take a look!
The CDs that give you such great sound are made from polycarbonates, a material also used for shatterproof windows. The case the CD comes in is made of polystyrene.
Long ago before there were cds there were vinyl LPs. The record on the left of Shostakovich's Symphony #1 is so old that Dmitri was still alive when it was recorded, and hadn't even written his last two symphonies! It was the vinyl LP, made from poly(vinyl chloride), that made long recordings possible. Before vinyl LPs, only a few minutes of music could be recorded on one side of a shellac 78 rpm record. Without poly(vinyl chloride), uninterrupted recordings of long symphonic pieces like the Shostakovich Symphony #1 would not have been possible. PVC also had a big impact on popular music. Before the introduction of the LP, the pop music industry had focused on producing big-selling hits on 45 rpm singles. But when the poly(vinyl chloride) LP came along, it caused a shift from a single-oriented business of the Phil Spector era to a business focused on the "album-oriented rock" of the late sixties and seventies. For some purists, LPs are still the only way to listen to music.
A cassette tape is made from many parts made from polymers. The housing is made from polystyrene. The tape itself is a thin film of polyester, but in the old days the tape was made of cellulose acetate. Other parts are made from nylon, polyethylene, and other polymers.
And who can forget 8-tracks? Riding around town in your '76 Camaro with the T-tops removed just wouldn't be the same without the sound of an 8-track stereo. They were made of the same stuff as cassettes, a polystyrene housing, and tape made of polyester. That's appropriate, because people wore a lot of polyester clothing when 8-tracks were all the rage.
Those t-shirts with the names of your favorite bands are made from polymers, too. This Fresh Road Kill shirt is made of cotton fibers, which is mostly cellulose, which is a natural polymer, a polysaccharide to be exact.
And finally, these oak CD cabinets are made of wood, obviously, and wood also contains a whole lotta cellulose.
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