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Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Plastic Products Record Plant

Hub of Rock 'N' Roll

— 1746 Chelsea —

 
 
Plastic Products Record Plant Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, April 25, 2020
1. Plastic Products Record Plant Marker
Inscription.  
A key part of the rock 'n' roll wave that swept America in the 1950s started in these Quonset huts. R. E. "Buster” Williams, a self-educated engineer, opened Plastic Products in 1949 with equipment he had researched and designed himself. His company quickly became a major producer of the 45-rpm records that revolutionized the music industry and filled jukeboxes and record collections across America.

Knowing the struggles of small, independent recording studios, such as Sun and Stax, Williams offered them generous credit terms. By 1956 Plastic Products was pressing records round the clock for more than 49 labels nationwide, including Chess, Atlantic, ABC, Ace, Hi, Meteor, and Veejay records. In that same year Williams doubled production, turning out more than 65,000 records a day.

One hut housed shipping and printing operations and four management offices. In another the vinyl was compounded, milled under heat, and turned into rectangular "biscuits' for pressing. The presses occupied the other two huts.

Recording artists often would visit the huts to see their records being created. In 1954 a young
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Elvis Presley showed up to see his early hit, “That's All Right, Mama,” rolling off the presses. Plastic Products later moved to Coldwater, Mississippi. Buster Williams, whose entrepreneurial genius helped make rock 'n' roll happen, died in 1992 at age 83.
 
Erected 2012 by The Shelby County Historical Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1949.
 
Location. 35° 10.368′ N, 89° 59.952′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker is on Chelsea Avenue, 0.2 miles west of North McLean Boulevard, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1746 Chelsea Avenue, Memphis TN 38108, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fargason Fields (approx. 1.2 miles away); Southwestern Alumni World War II Memorial (approx. 1.2 miles away); William Neely Mallory (approx. 1.2 miles away); Tennessee Williams Play (approx. 1.3 miles away); Rhodes College (approx. 1˝ miles away); The Memphis 13 / Springdale Elementary School (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Memphis 13/Gordon Elementary School (approx. 1.7 miles away); Joseph "Joe" C. Warren (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
Plastic Products Record Plant Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, April 25, 2020
2. Plastic Products Record Plant Marker

 
Also see . . .  How Phonograph Records Are Made - Shown in Memphis Plant. Collection of news articles about Plastic Products compiled by Scotty Moore, longtime guitarist for Elvis Presley. (Submitted on April 28, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.) 
 
Plastic Products Record Plant Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, April 25, 2020
3. Plastic Products Record Plant Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 28, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 1,050 times since then and 138 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 28, 2020, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 14, 2024