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Specialty Records Corporation

Profile:

Defunct US manufacturer and pressing plant located in Olyphant, Pennsylvania.
(Not a record label: use only as Manufactured By / Pressed By / Duplicated By / Glass Mastered At roles in LCCN.)

HISTORY
Founded in 1946, Specialty Records Corporation (SRC) was at one point one of the biggest pressing plants in the world. Warner Communications Inc. purchased Specialty in 1978 along with Allied Record Company in 1979 to form WEA Manufacturing Inc. CD pressing started at the plant in September 1986 (the first disc manufactured by the plant was a Gen 0 pressing of Phil Collins - No Jacket Required). They also manufactured 8-tracks, cassettes, VHS tapes, and DVDs. Specialty pressed records for many major and minor record labels, including Asylum Records and Island Records, as well as for record pressing brokers. WEA operated the pressing plant under the Specialty name until the plant was officially renamed WEA Mfg. Olyphant at the end of 1996. In 2002, the vinyl pressing assets were sold to Music Connection, Inc., and moved to Pennsylvania to form 33 ⅓ RPM; in 2003, the facility was sold to Cinram as part of its takeover of WEA Manufacturing. Cinram operated the plant until November 2015, when Cinram's North American operations were acquired by Technicolor. Technicolor closed the plant on May 1, 2018.

IDENTIFIERS, GENERATIONS, LCCN HOW-TO

VINYL
• Pressing plant code "49" on labels, as seen on releases from PolyGram's sublabels and partner labels.
• Often denoted by an "(SP)" or "SP" plant code printed on center labels on many of the labels they pressed record for. Often denoted on Atlantic releases or related labels' releases with a "-SP" at the end of the printed matrix number on the center labels.
• Usually on vinyl from late 1970s to 2000s, denoted by a machine-stamped "SRC" logo in the runout groove deadwax (S with R and C in loops – image), although earlier releases will sometimes only have an "-SP" or "-SR" etching without the logo.
• An "E A S T" embossed around the center hole (image). Note that usually the "T" is the most visible, sometimes the only really visible letter. Also note that a lone "A" embossed in the label area (image) would indicate it was pressed at Allied Record Company.
• LP pressing ring diameters: 69-71mm (1959-62); 70mm (1963-1970); 38mm (1968-1969); 35/70mm (1970-1998).

Records that have the "SRC" logo in the runout groove deadwax were processed and pressed by Specialty Records Corporation.

Records that have the "SRC" logo along with an "SPAR" or "SP-AL" etching and a "B-#####"-type matrix number in the runout groove deadwax indicate that the plating (processing / metalwork) was done at Specialty Records Corporation but the record itself was pressed at Allied Record Company. In such cases, add Specialty Records Corporation as "Mastered At," and also add Allied Record Company as "Pressed By" in LCCN.

Similar patterns can be found on other releases, which were pressed outside the U.S. for foreign markets. Here, additional country codes (e.g., "SPGER", "SP-GER" or "SP W.GER," etc.) can be found in the runouts, which means the masters were plated at SRC, mastered by Record Service Alsdorf, and pressed in a German pressing plant (which eventually can be identified by their specific pattern in the runouts). For example, a widely used cooperation can be found between SRC, Sterling Sound, and Record Service Alsdorf on numerous releases. Identified country codes are:
SPGER - Germany (or SP-GER / SP W.GER — e.g., Tears For Fears - The Seeds Of Love)
SPENG - England
SPAUS - Australia
SPCAN - Canada
SP-ITA - Italy

Note, on test pressings from this company:
"ACC'T ____________"Account" equals the manufacturing company (parent of the label) for major label releases, or sometimes just the label in the case of smaller independent labels.
"REC. NO. _________" Record Number" equals the catalog number.
"MTX. NO. _________" Matrix Number" equals the matrix number.

Metalwork IDs on SRC pressings often take the form #-# (e.g., 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, etc.); when entering these runout codes, please interpret them as numbers, not letters or bars.

Specialty 7" pressings were vinyl (not styrene) with label sizes of 92.1mm (3.6260" - shrunk by about 0.5% when pressed onto the record), and the whites are rather beige-ish (apparently how the labels were baked at the plant). The record size is about 174.5mm (6.8701"). The small holes on the labels are at minimum 8.0mm (0.3150") and at most 8.2mm (0.3228").

CASSETTES
Cassettes duplicated at SRC are denoted by a printed 'SR' on the cassette itself ('AR' on the cassette indicates Allied Record Company).

COMPACT DISCS
CDs glass-mastered at SRC can be identified by one of the following:
• "SRC" in the matrix (1986 to 1996).
• Specialty 'S' logo (image) in the matrix (1993 to 1996, possibly into 1997).
In late 1996, the plant was officially renamed, and glass masters began using the WEA Mfg. logo instead (no SRC or 'S' logo); see WEA Mfg. Olyphant for how to handle such discs.

CDs glass-mastered at SRC were also pressed there except:
• If there is both ARC and SRC, then the CD was pressed at Allied Record Company.
• If an asterisk appears before the M#S# codes, and/or there is a space between M# and S#, it may also have been pressed at Allied Record Company.
• When released after August 31, 1996, or if the month of a 1996 release is not known, as the pressing company could be either SRC or WEA Mfg. Olyphant.
• When there is some other indicator that it was pressed elsewhere.

Discs pressed by SRC (or ARC) for Warner-owned labels typically feature the credit "Made in U.S.A. by WEA Manufacturing Inc." or "Mfg. by WEA Manufacturing" on the disc label. WEA Manufacturing or WEA Manufacturing Inc. should be credited as they appear.

Differences in CD matrix styles and attributes are commonly referred to as generations.
• Generation 0. Introduced with opening of CD plant. Matrix area is a narrow silver band around the hub, with the matrix itself being laser-etched into the plastic just above the stacking ring, making it difficult to notice at a glance. These early CDs were based on glass masters used by Polygram, Hanover, West Germany. Because the design was quickly supplanted by the Generation 1 variant, Generation 0 SRC CDs are very rare and poorly documented; see Madonna - True Blue for an example.
• Generation 1. Matrix area is much wider, and the matrix itself is preceded and followed by a square block. SRC and number at end of matrix string is separated by dashmark or space. Text is dot-matrix style. Unused space of mirror band is filled with a continuous block. A mirror band near the outer edge of the disc is also incorporated into the design. While some Generation 0 discs sported this trait, many others did not (even when there was enough unused space for it), depending on the glass master that PolyGram sent; Generation 1 is the first iteration to make it a consistent part of the design (outside of discs that use enough storage space to occupy the area allocated to it).
• Generation 2. Introduced around mid 1987. Same as Generation 1, with the addition of a single-digit label code preceding the matrix string; 1: Warner Bros.; 2: Elektra; 3: Atlantic. SRC and number at end of matrix string is separated by a wider range of special characters.
• Generation 3. Same as Generation 2 with the addition of mother/stamper ID in M#S# format.
• Generation 4. Introduced around September 1990. Matrix is same as Generation 3, but the blocks are removed from the remaining space of the mirror band and filled with thick barcode blocks.
• Generation 5. Introduced around mid-1992. Matrix is same as Generations 3 and 4, but the barcode is removed and asterisks fill out the remaining space. The character separating SRC and digit is either ## or **. The mirror band characteristic of Generations 1 to 4 (as well as certain Generation 0 discs) is also phased out.
• Generation 6. Introduced late 1992 or mid 1993 (currently debated in forum). This generation saw a larger rework: the font-type is traded for courier-type, the Specialty 'S' logo (or also referred to as "swirl" logo) is introduced, the asterisks filling the empty space is abandoned. Barcode is reintroduced, although the blocks are now thinner. Matrix sequence is otherwise same as earlier.
• Generation 7. Same as Generation 6, except the mother/stamper ID is not monospaced, but proportional.

Notes:
1. Introduction dates may not be exact.
2. Different generations overlapped, generations were introduced while earlier were still in use.
3. Releases with SID codes must be separated from the others and are represses from 1996 and later (SIDs were not rolled out in 1994 at this plant). Mould codes are as WEA Mfg. Olyphant, e.g., IFPI 2Uxx.
4. Some matrix may have RE-, which is not enough to split releases.
5. Some matrix may have font differences, which is not enough to warrant a unique submission.

Parent Label:WEA Manufacturing Inc.
Contact Info:

1400 E. Lackawanna Ave.
Olyphant, PA 18447
U.S.A.

Phone: +1 (717) 383-3291
TWX (510) 671-4580
(Contact info now obsolete; the company stopped using this name in 1996, and the factory no longer exists as of 2018.)

Links:books.google.ca , books.google.ca , Discogs , Discogs , Wikipedia , books.google.ca

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