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Fact #187101


Short story:

Alex Steinweiss is born in Brooklyn, New York City, USA. During World War II, Steinweiss will become Columbia Records' advertising manager. During one lunch meeting at Columbia in New York City, company president, Ted Wallerstein, will introduce Steinweiss to an innovation that the company is about to unveil: the long-playing record. Wallerstein asks Steinweiss to develop a jacket for the new format and, with help from his brother-in-law, Steinweiss finds a manufacturer willing to invest about $250,000 in equipment. Steinweiss will establish the original patent for what will become the industry packaging standard, but under his contract with Columbia he will have to waive all rights to any inventions made while working there. Having thus virtually invented the album cover, Steinweiss will remain active until 1973, during which time he is thought to have designed roughly 2500 covers, including a striking anti-Nazi sleeve for Paul Robeson's 1942 album Songs Of Free Men.