Bear in mind that, in 1979; when Sony & Philips instigated their collaboration agreement to develop a a new kind of digital audio disc; the concept that led to the invention of compact discs (CD’s) was one of replacing gramophone records with something that provided higher quality sound; yet was easily played. With this in mind; it is hardly surprising that many terms from the record industry transferred to the new CD method when it was first commercialized in 1982,
Records Came In Sleeves; Therefore CD’s Have Sleeves
If you can find any of the very old 78 rpm records; you will see that they were sold in a sort of sleeve like paper envelope with a hole in the middle through which the recording’s title could be seen. The name of the record company would usually be printed on both the sleeve and the center of the disk itself. These old records were from 10 inch to 12inches in diameter and could be easily scratched or broken; unfortunately, the sleeve only gave some protection against scratching.
The 45 rpm and 33 1⁄3 long playing (LP) records were a little less prone to breakage but could still succumb to scratching so they too were placed inside the CD sleeves. In the case of the LP; there would be an inner, plastic sleeve and a more durable card outer on which the record companies would print details about the artist and the music contained on the disk.
Originally CD Sleeves Were A Box
The commercial CD however is only 4.7 inches in diameter and, whilst it still requires protection against scratching there is not much room for showing information on CD sleeves. Since the CD concept was quality improvement it made sense to package them in such a way that they resembled the LP sleeves that they largely replaced. Hence, the hinged, clear plastic box that became known as the jewel case. The disc sat on one side and printed labeling or even small booklets could be inserted into slots in the clear plastic part of the case.
However, if (say) a sales rep needed to take out around 20 CD’s with him to leave digital catalogs with potential customers; the jewel cases might be considered a bit bulky and plain paper, card or even clear soft vinyl sleeves will make for handier transportation. Company details, etc could still be printed on either the top of the discs; or, the CD sleeves themselves.
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