Agony Shorthand

Friday, April 16, 2004
WHAT THE HELL IS 16RPM???!?....As I reclined at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California yesterday evening, watching the NHL Pacific Division champion San Jose Sharks deliver a smoking finish to the playoff hopes of the woeful St. Louis Blues, an interesting topic of discussion presented itself to me and my party: why in god’s name did old “record players” have a setting for 16rpm??? My old childhood Fisher-Price deluxe model had this, and other than being an excellent speed for spinning the hamster around without flinging him across the room, I never got what it was for. 78rpm I know about, 45rpm I get, 33rpm makes some sense to me – but 16? Was this for flexidiscs, records off of cereal boxes, or Ukrainian folk records of the 30s? I’ll bet a “record collector” in the audience might understand what this nonsense was all about – any insight would be much appreciated.