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Flexi-Disc Collection

Finding aid created by: IRP
Date: 1 Nov 2019

Biographical History

Flexi-discs, also known as phonosheets, sonosheets or soundsheets, are grooved discs made out of vinyl or coated paper, played on a standard turntable. Historically, the European "talking postcards" developed in the early 1900s and intended to send a personal sound message on a fine postcard are regarded by the specialists as the predecessor of the flexi-disc format. While turntables were broadly used from the vast consumer for reproducing sound recordings at home some record companies saw an advantage in inventing cheap and durable medium to be used for home recordings. Flexi-discs were lighter, less expansive than vinyl, easy to distribute and affordable. Flexi-discs were largely used as educational and promotional materials until the appearance of the CDs in the early 1980s. Despite the poor sound quality, the flexi-disc format lasted long enough and is an intriguing artifact of the 20th-century pop culture.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Flexi-Disc Collection consists of various sizes and speeds of flexi-discs, as well as a small amount of reference material.

Discs are on flexible plastic sheets or coated paper. Record companies present in the collection include Durium, Wilcox-Gay, and Eva-tone. Companies represented include Time-Life, National Geographic, Esquire magazine, The Longines Symphonette Society, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Columbia and RCA Victor records, National Library of Canada, and McDonald’s. There are also a few playable postcards, meant to be written on and sent through the mail.

Reference material consists of a page of information which may have been used for an exhibit at some time, and thirty or so pages of printed emails from two discussion groups, and

Arrangement of the Collection

Discs are arranged in alphabetical order by the company or organization that produced them. Reference material is in roughly chronological order, as found.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advance notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Listening access to the discs requires advance notice to produce a use copy.

Subject Headings


Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976.

Corporate Bodies

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Durium (Record company)
Eva-Tone Inc.
Longines Symphonette.
McDonald's Corporation.
National Library of Canada.
Reader's Digest Association.
Wilcox-Gay Corp.

Associated Titles

National geographic magazine.


Popular culture in advertising.
Sound in advertising.
Sound recording industry.

Genres and Forms

Flexi discs.
Promotional materials.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Flexi-Disc Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information


Table of Contents


Reference material