Yes, old records will work on new record players.
With one exception, and that is the 78rpm (revolutions per minute) records made before 1948 might not work and could damage your needle.
Most old records (45 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm, and 78 rpm) will work on new record players.
However, there are some exceptions:
The sound quality of vinyl pressings may vary from one album to another due to the mastering process used in their manufacture.
In particular, later albums have been mastered with greatly enhanced levels of audio compression or limiting which helped to increase the volume of low-level passages – but also reduced dynamic range through the recordings.
This can give a more consistent sound when played through modern equipment, but it can make the album seem less ‘alive’.
Also, in some cases, old records may not be playable on a new record player.
Manufacturing plants used different (and sometimes incompatible) vinyl formulations during any given time period.
This means that LPs pressed in one year or decade might have slightly or significantly different characteristics than LPs from another country, pressing plant and/or year, and could even be made of different materials despite having similar looking labels and mold numbers.
In addition to this, there are special considerations for 45 rpm singles: they were not cut as deeply as other records so their playback fidelity is poorer than their larger counterparts; “78 microgroove records made before 1952 should be treated with suspicion; the average record was originally pressed on a harder variety of shellac and often contains abrasive agents such as calcium carbonate which quicken wear of stylis.
Also, there are special considerations for 78rpm records made before 1948.
After World War II, the materials used to make the discs became more durable. “New shellac compounds came into use along with other plastics in various parts of 78 disc manufacture.”
Some 78 discs were actually pressings made from Bakelite rather than shellac–a very hard resin that resists deformation under normal playing (warping) conditions.
To summarize: most old records (45 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm, and 78 rpm) will work on new record players.
However, there are some exceptions: the sound quality of vinyl pressings may vary from one album to another due to the mastering process used in their manufacture; and if people want to play 78rpm records made before 1948 on a new record player, they should be treated with suspicion, as these were often pressed from shellac rather than polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and will likely warp under modern temperatures and other conditions.