Records are often referred to by the number of rotations that they make on a turntable per minute, or RPMs. 

  • 78s – Manufactured until the late 1950s, these records made 78 revolutions per minutes and carried only about five minutes of sound.  The fragile records were made with shellac.
  • 33s or LPs – Short for “long play,” LPs rotated at 33 and one-third revolutions per minute.  Successfully introduced in 1948, they played for about 25 minutes per side.  Because they were made of polyvinyl chloride, these records earned the nickname “vinyl.”
  • 45s – Only 7 inches (17.5 centimeters) in diameter, the 45 debuted in 1949 and was often called a “single,” as it held one song on each side.

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