Dating Adge Cutler's Vinyl Album Sleeves

Professor Wurzel's Guide

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Inner and outer record sleeves are there to protect your treasured vinyl and provide information on the record's artist and track listing...... but to collectors they are also another valuable source to dating the record. Rather like the way that record labels changed design over the years then record sleeves - both inner and outer - also changed, giving another indication of when the album was pressed and sent to the shops.

In 1963 a British printing company Garrod and Lofthouse (G&L) - based in Caterham, Surrey - patented the design for two-piece album sleeves. The break-through that the company made was to produce sleeves printed on two pieces of card - the front using 4 colour printing method which was then laminated and the back printed with a single colour with both then glued together with modern machinery to produce a sleeve. This method of production out-performed the previous single sheet method with its associated expensive 4 colour printing method and laminated front and back with a cost reduction of over 37%. This dramatic improved efficiency led to EMI contracting the company to print sleeves for 90% of EMI affiliated labels. This first patent allowed for the production of what became known as the 'triple flipback' sleeve where the front cover overlapped the back on three sides with flaps being glued onto the back cover. This method of construction also allowed for the sleeve to have 'depth' so that the sleeve didn't 'crush' the record itself and thus allowed for printing on the spine of the sleeve.

The upfront work required to get the artwork to Garrod and Lofthouse was carried out on all Adge's albums by a company called Trade Platemaking Services (TPS). This company taking the original artwork, photographs, design element, typography and sleeve notes and creating the metal plates that G&L used to manufacture the sleeves. ​

Note - in all the examples below dates must be taken with just a small pinch of salt - these dates are what G&L/ EMI intended when it came to new sleeve designs/construction - as with the record labels there was always cross over between designs when changes came along!

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Triple flipback sleeve 1963 to 1971:

Adge Cutler's album sleeves were all manufactured by Garrod and Lofthouse. The first four of the five were produced during the period when the triple flipback sleeve was in production.

This image indicates the main design points of this style.

On this design the opening for the record is on the left. The three glued flaps can clearly be seen with a curved design corner on top and bottom flaps overlapping the closed side flap.

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Adge Cutler & The Wurzels

This closeup of the bottom right sleeve rear indicating that Garrod & Lofthouse and TPS produced the sleeve.

The 4 numbers before 'TPS' here being 6809 refer to the date the artwork was prepared - in this case September 1968 

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Double flipback sleeve 1970 to 1973:

1970 saw improvements in printing technology and the ability to print and manufacture the sleeve using a single piece of card. This resulted in what became know as the double flipback sleeve, the overlapping flips being top and bottom glued to the folded in reverse of the sleeve. There is no definitive date when flipbacks were discontinued, but generally very few were made for EMI by G&L after 1973.

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Wrap-around sleeve 1973 onwards:

1972 saw improvements in construction technology and the ability to glue the folded back directly onto the laminated flaps. This resulted in a 'flapless' back giving an overall sleeker design to the sleeve. No definitive date for the introduction of this sleeve design can be found but it certainly became more prevalent after July 1973.

This design became the standard design of album sleeves and is still in use today. 

Inner Sleeves

 An often neglected area of record collecting is the subject of inner sleeves. Their main objective was to protect the vinyl. A secondary use was for advertising other record releases on the label, in this case EMI. At the same time, many inner sleeves were plain with only EMI company information on them.

From 1966 to the early 1990s there were around 11 variations of inner sleeves used by EMI. Adge's albums were pressed between 1967 and 1980 and so can be found in 16 different sleeves, each with a specific date range. There follows descriptions and images of each of these variations and when they were in use (together with a reference letter that is referenced to in the pages dealing with Adge Cutler LPs). It should be borne in mind of course that although a sleeve couldn't be found before the stated dates then it could appear after as old stock was used up.

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top/left type 'A'    1966 - 1968
Plain white sleeve, light brown ink lettering.

middle/left type 'B'    1968

Plain white sleeve with black ink lettering.

bottom/left type 'C'    1969

Plain white sleeve with blue ink lettering.

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top/left type 'D'   1967 Double sided black and white sleeve advertising other EMI group LPs

bottom/left type 'E'   1967 Double sided black and white sleeve advertising other EMI group LPs

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top/left type 'F'   1968-1969 Double sided crimson sleeve advertising other EMI group LPs

bottom/left type 'G'   1970 to 1973 Double sided dark crimson sleeve advertising other EMI group LPs

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'H'  & 'J' 

1973 to 1976

With the advent of the new EMI company the inner sleeve was redesigned to reflect this change. Two variations were in circulation - blue ink and black ink being used

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Types 'K'  & 'L' 

1977 - 1980

Plain white sleeve with black ink lettering.

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Type 'M'    1980 - 1983
Plain white sleeve with black ink lettering.

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