Changing the Industry of Sound
The Fairfield Museum and History Center is thrilled to introduce its new exhibition, “Topping the Charts: The Rise of Bridgeport’s Columbia Records,” opening July 30 and running until April 3, 2022. Serving as a powerhouse in an already industrial city, Columbia Records successfully brought affordable and accessible recorded music into American homes. As meticulous as they were in every part of the manufacturing process, Columbia Records was also an innovative laboratory where local engineers and scientists changed the sound of music—literally.
The history of Columbia Records is a story of innovation, interwoven with that of a burgeoning city and a nation exulting in its emerging industrial prowess.
In less than a century, the American Graphophone Company and its successor, Columbia Records, transformed recorded sound, first by introducing gramophones into the American household. But this accomplishment was only the starting point—they continued to experiment with sound until they eventually became the first to create the lateral-cut record, LPs, and stereophonic sound.
As Columbia Records improved and invented new products, the inner-workings of the company changed as well. With thousands of employees, many of whom were recent immigrants or first-generation Americans, Columbia Records saw dynamic changes in its first 50 years, many of which revolved around worker’s rights and unionization.
Columbia Record’s impact is still seen (or rather, heard) today. Any recorded audio—from songs to podcasts to videos to audiobooks—are enjoyed thanks to their tremendous work in expanding the technology of sound.
“Topping the Charts: The Rise of Bridgeport’s Columbia Records”
runs from July 30 – April 3, 2022 and is open for all ages.
The Fairfield Museum looks forward to sharing this incredible story. The Fairfield Museum is located at 370 Beach Road, Fairfield, CT and is open every day from 10am to 4pm. Admission for Museum Members is free, non-member adults are $5, students and seniors $3, and kids under 5 are free. Become a Fairfield Museum member for only $30 and enjoy free admission plus many other benefits.
“Topping the Charts: The Rise of Bridgeport’s Columbia Records” is generously sponsored by CT Humanities.