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GZ Vinyl Factory

Photographer: Filip Singer

 

The former 'Gramofonove Zavody (Gramophone Record) Lodenice' factory pressed its first vinyl record in 1951. The factory was main producer of vinyl records for the Eastern Bloc. In late 1980s, the factory luckily saved record pressing machines during the transition to CD and DVD.

 

Nobody expected that there would be a vinyl retro mania boom during this transitional period. According to GZ Media, as the company is now called, their factory near Prague is the world's biggest vinyl record producer today. In 2013, GZ pressed over 10.5 million vinyl records. Additionally, their production is increasing by around 40% per year. GZ presses records of rock and pop bands such as The Beatles, Abba, David Bowie, and The Rolling Stones. Their main customers are from the US and Great Britain.

 

The GZ factory located in the small city of Lodenice has over 1,900 employees, who come mostly from the town of Beroun, neighboring district Kladno and Prague. GZ believe that the key to their success is taking good care of their employees, so they offer contracts for lifetime employment to their best employees as a motivational tool. They also offer good payment conditions, plus extra benefits, such as more days off and free accommodations in a Czech mountain resort. Manual professions are not very popular with young people nowadays and companies like GZ struggle to find skilled technical workers, such as constructors, typographers or machine repairmen.

 

The date 12 August 1877 is commonly known as the day for the completion of the first phonograph by US inventor Thomas Edison. Many collectors of vinyl records then decided to celebrate Vinyl Record Day annually on 12 August.