Durium Record Collection
Scope and Contents
The Durium Record Collection consists of eight 4” single faced recordings on disc. Six of the recordings hold the same tune, Silent Night, composed by Joseph Mohr and presumed to have been orchestrated by Phil Spitalny, was originally written by Franz Xaver Gruber. This song is presumed to have been performed by Ruth and Julia Paull known collectively as the Paull Sisters. Two recordings are of unknown contents, but labeled "Tony Wons."
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.
Advance notice (2 weeks) is required to listen to sound recordings.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.
Biographical / Historical
Durium Products Incorporated was a New York based record company founded in 1929, that was formally known as Durium Products Corporation. The Corporation served as the parent company for the short-lived label, Hit Of The Week. The label produced released a new “Hit Of The Week” every week from 1930 to 1932 when the label was discontinued . Additionally, in 1932 Durium’s European counterpart was established in London under the name, Durium Records. These labels can be easily distinguished being that the New York records were marked with an all uppercase DURIUM logo while the London discs were marked with an all lowercase durium logo. The success of Durium came in large part as a result of its affordability to the American public. At a time when Americans were facing the greatest economic hardship the country has ever seen, and other labels such as Colombia were selling records for $1.25, Durium was able to offer their products at newsstands for about 15 cents each . The affordability of these discs allowed for the then economically struggling consumer to still be able to purchase and enjoy Durium’s records. While this difference in pricing may seem almost negligible by today's standards, it is important to remember that these records were being sold at a time in which the average American only made about $9 a week. Accounting for inflation, these durium discs were being sold for the equivalent of $2.81 in 2019 dollars while their competitors were charging the equivalent of about $23.43 . In the context of these troubling economic times it is truly impressive to see that a non-essential commodity, such as Durium records were able to not only stay afloat but thrive at a relative level of popularity. This was made possible by the relatively cheap and durable nature of Durium records. The discs were made of a synthetic chemical coating which was applied to a piece of fibered paper with a “quick and forceful impression” that would create very strong and narrow grooves around the discs . In terms of the actual sound quality of the records themselves, it seems that the Durium discs captured recordings with very comparable efficiency to their shellac counterparts. Their flexible and bendable structure made the discs fairly durable which undoubtedly aided in the preservation of the records which can still be heard with only minor distortion today.
.25 Cubic Feet (1 box )
Language of Materials
- Gruber, Franz Xavier (Composer)
- Mohr, Joseph (Lyricist)
- Sound Recordings
- Guide to the Durium Record Collection
- Devin Iorio, edited by Henry Arneth
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Watkinson Library - Archival Collections Repository
Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106