Vinyl Record Sleeves – Some Fun History of Stoughton Printing

Old Style Record SleevesThere is so much fascinating history in the world of vinyl records: the musicians, the music, the producers, the art on the albums and even the actual printing of the record sleeves.  I came across Stoughton Printing thanks to Mike Goldstein (www.AlbumCoverHallofFame.com).  I never really took that much notice of the techniques used in the printing of album covers until I read the history of Stoughton Printing.

It was a flash-back to the seventies when the article discussed the production of sleeves for laser discs.  Yes I do have memories of renting laser discs and a mammoth laser disc player to watch a movie Friday night.  What is most interesting is how the “old-style” sleeves solved the packaging problems for the laser discs that was created by what became and still is the standard album cover.  As I understand it the problem with standard record sleeves is the tab overlap that is used to glue the sleeve front to back.  When this type of sleeve is used with laser discs, it created tracking problems on the outside portion of the disc.  This was due in part because the laser disc is played from the inside to the outside and at higher speeds than a 33 1/3 LP.  With “old-style” wrapped record sleeves there is no overlap.

Having realized the value of this package technique, Stoughton Printing was able to obtain a trademark for “old-style” – the term they had used to differentiate between the old and new processes.  With the resurgence in popularity of the vinyl record album, there are now musicians and labels that are seeking the nostalgia of the “old-style” for new record sleeves.  Its a beautiful thing!

Jack White’s label, Third Man Records, is a major client of Stoughton Printing and one of this label’s products won a People’s Choice award for printing excellence awarded by Printing Industries of Southern California.