Why is the Hole on a 45 RPM Record So Big?

Here is a fundamental question that every vinyl lover has asked:  why is the hole of a 7-inch single so big?

For the first fifty years of the turntable’s existence, the spindle on which you placed the record was a standard size:  approximately .283 inches.  That was also the size of the hole drilled into all records.

When Columbia Records introduced the 33 1/3 RPM long-playing album in 1948, they kept the hole in the center the same size.  However, Columbia’s archrival, RCA, was most annoyed at this new format.  Rather than license Columbia’s technology for their releases, RCA introduced their own new record, the 7-inch single that spun at 45 RPM and had a center hole that measured 1.5 inches in diameter.

Why would they do something like that?  Two reasons.