The History of Turntables From the 1950s to Today

Turntables have a long and interesting history that dates back to the 1950s. The first turntables were created in the late 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that they gained widespread popularity. These early turntables were large and cumbersome and required a lot of maintenance. As technology improved, turntables became smaller, more portable, and easier to use. In the 1970s, the first mass-produced direct-drive turntables were introduced, which paved the way for the development of the modern turntable. Today, turntables are widely used by DJs and music enthusiasts worldwide, and they continue to evolve and improve as technology advances.

The History of Turntables From 1950s to Today

Since their invention, turntables have come a long way, from simple phonograph cylinders to sophisticated modern devices. Today, turntables are beloved by audiophiles and DJs alike for their warm, analogue sound and versatility in creating music.

The 1950s And 1960s: The Emergence Of The Turntable

The first turntables were invented in the late 19th century and were known as phonographs. These early devices played cylinders made of wax or cardboard rather than flat records. In the 1950s, the phonograph evolved into the record player, which played vinyl records. These early turntables were often housed in large, heavy cabinets and were primarily used for home entertainment. In the 1960s, portable turntables became popular, allowing people to take their music wherever they went. These portable turntables, often referred to as “suitcase” turntables, were lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry and store.

The 1970s And 1980s: The Rise Of The Dj Turntable

In the 1970s, a new type of turntable known as the direct-drive turntable was developed. These turntables had a motor that drove the platter rather than using a belt to transmit power. This made them much more reliable and accurate, making them ideal for professional DJs.

The rise of the DJ as a profession in the 1970s and 1980s also contributed to the popularity of turntables. DJs used turntables to mix and scratch records, creating new and innovative sounds. These techniques, along with developing new DJ equipment such as mixers and samplers, revolutionized the way music was created and performed.

The 1990s And 2000s: The Decline And Resurgence Of The Turntable

In the 1990s and 2000s, the rise of digital music formats such as CDs and MP3s led to a decline in turntable sales. Many people saw vinyl records as outdated and inconvenient compared to digital formats, which were easier to store and transport.

Despite this, the turntable did not disappear entirely. In the 2000s, there was a resurgence of interest in vinyl records and turntables as a niche market. This was partly driven by vinyl’s warm, analogue sound, which many people preferred to the cold, digital sound of CDs and MP3s.

New turntable technologies were developed during this time, such as USB connectivity and built-in preamps. These features made it easier for people to connect their turntables to their computers and other devices, allowing them to digitize their vinyl collections and share them online.

Today: The Modern Turntable Market

Today, turntables are still popular among audiophiles and DJs who value vinyl records’ warm, analogue sound. Many high-end turntables are designed with audiophile-grade components and features such as adjustable tonearms, isolated motors, and removable headshells.

There are also many different turntable designs available, ranging from modern, sleek models to retro-inspired designs that harken back to the golden age of vinyl. Many turntables also come with various features, such as built-in preamps, USB connectivity, and Bluetooth capability, making it easy to connect them to various systems and devices.

In the streaming era, turntables have also gained popularity among younger generations who are rediscovering the joys of vinyl. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of vinyl sales, with many record stores and online retailers reporting a significant increase in sales.

1- When Was The Modern Turntable Invented?

The modern turntable, also known as the phonograph or record player, was invented in the late 19th century by Thomas Edison. However, the turntable has undergone many changes and improvements since then, with new technologies and designs being developed over the years.

2- How Did The Old Turntables Work?

Old turntables, also known as phonographs or record players, worked by using a stylus or needle to follow the groove of a vinyl record as it spun on a platter. The stylus would vibrate a diaphragm, which converted the physical movement into sound waves. These sound waves were amplified through a speaker, allowing the listener to hear the music.

3- What Were Record Players Called In The 1950s?

In the 1950s, record players were commonly known as phonographs or turntables. These devices played vinyl records, circular discs made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) inscribed with a spiral groove. The turntable’s tonearm, equipped with a stylus or needle, followed this groove as the record spun, vibrating a diaphragm that converted the physical movement into sound waves.

4- Who Invented The Modern Turntable?

The modern turntable, also known as the phonograph or record player, was invented in the late 19th century by Thomas Edison. Edison’s invention played cylinder records made of wax or cardboard, and it was later improved upon by other inventors who developed flat vinyl records and other innovations.

5- Who Made The Best Turntables?

There are many factors to consider when determining the best turntables, such as sound quality, durability, and features. Some popular brands known for making high-quality turntables include Technics, Rega, Pro-Ject, and Marantz. Ultimately, the best turntable for an individual will depend on their preferences and needs.


Since their invention in the late 19th century, turntables have come a long way. From the first phonograph cylinders to modern, high-tech turntables, these devices have played a significant role in the evolution of music. Today, turntables remain popular among audiophiles and DJs who appreciate their warm, analogue sound and versatility in creating music. Despite the rise of digital formats, the turntable continues to have a place in the music industry, offering a timeless listening experience for music lovers of all ages.

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