Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Ampex Collection Addenda ARS.0109
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (61.77 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Sponsor
  • Related Collections
  • Scope and Contents
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ampex Collection Addenda
    Dates: 1944-1998
    Collection number: ARS.0109
    Repository: Archive of Recorded Sound
    Collection size: 1 box : 1 folder ; 17 open reel tapes (three 5" reels ; nine 7" reels ; four 10.5" reels ; one 12" reel)
    Abstract: Various smaller collections related to the Ampex Corporation, the development of magnetic recording on tape, and stereophonic sound.


    Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    Ampex Collection Addenda, ARS-0109. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


    This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

    Related Collections

    Stanford University Special Collections holds the Ampex Corporation Records, M1230.  The Archive of Recorded Sound holds the Richard Hess Mullin-Palmer Tape Restoration Project Collection, ARS.0035. 

    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.

    Indexing Terms

    Ampex Corporation.
    Mullin, John T. (Jack), 1913-1999
    Palmer, William A., 1911-1996
    Sound--Recording and reproducing