Scope and Contents
Title: Ampex Collection Addenda
Collection number: ARS.0109
Archive of Recorded Sound
: 1 folder ; 17 open reel tapes (three 5" reels ; nine 7" reels ; four 10.5" reels ; one 12" reel)
Various smaller collections related to the Ampex Corporation, the development of magnetic recording on tape, and stereophonic
Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for
Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain
permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.
Ampex Collection Addenda, ARS-0109. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford,
This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Scope and Contents
This is a group of small collections, assembled from various donors, related to the history of the Ampex Corporation and its
role in the development of sound recording on tape and stereophonic sound. Stanford University Special Collections holds the
Ampex Corporation Records, and some artifacts described here are part of that collection, despite being housed at the Archive
of Recorded Sound. The Ampex Corporation, founded in 1944 by Russian émigré Alexander M. Poniatoff, began as military contractor
making components for radar, but became a pioneer in the magnetic tape recording industry through rather unusual circumstances.
In 1945, a soldier named John T. "Jack" Mullin was assigned by the U.S. Army Signal Corp to recover examples of Nazi technology
from the field. In a radio station near Frankfurt, Mullin confirmed that the Germans had developed a system of sound recording
and reproduction using paper and plastic tape. He returned to the United States with fifty reels of audio tape and two AEG
Magnetophon brand reel-to-reel machines on which to play them. Following a successful demonstration at an Institute of Radio
Engineers conference, Mullin, along with business partner Bill Palmer, approached entertainer Bing Crosby with a proposal
for using audio tape in the production of his radio program Philco Radio Time. Crosby thus became the most significant early
investor in Ampex's tape recording line. Mullin even worked on the Philco program himself, doing the editing using both the
German tape he brought back and with other American brands then in development.
The Ampex Collection Addenda includes two pages of a Philco Radio Time script, possibly with Mullin's notes on the back. The
collection also includes an original Magnetophon Tonschreiber tape case with reels and parts. There are also various tapes
which came from Jack Mullin via Ampex employee Jim Wheeler, some of which almost certainly came from this case, and miscellaneous
tapes from the estate of C.D. (Charles Dewitt) Du Bois, an executive at Ampex beginning in the late 1950s. Finally, there
are recordings made in 1998 at a gathering commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Ampex 200, the first tape recorder
made by the company.
Mullin, John T. (Jack), 1913-1999
Palmer, William A., 1911-1996
Sound--Recording and reproducing