ampex, ampexband

magnetic recording equipment, tape recording of movies

After the Russian-American engineer Alexander M. Poniatoff (Kazan, Russia 1892 Palo Alto 1980) who combined his initials AMP with the 'ex' of excellent for the name of his company.

Poniatoff's father was a wealthy timber merchant who sent his son to Karlsruhe Technical Academy in Germany. Alexi was thinking about building a turbine engine factory when World War I broke out on his return to Russia.

He then trained as a pilot in the army. The 1917 civil war forced him to flee to China where he worked for ten years in an electricity company in Shanghai. In 1927 he was able to emigrate to the US.

He worked in a series of electric companies until he founded his own company Ampex in California in 1944. He focused on sound recordings on magnetic tape. The start was somewhat difficult until the singer Bing Crosby discovered Ampex in 1947 and immediately ordered twenty recorders.

The business boomed to such an extent that Poniatoff was able to invest in the technique of capturing film on tape. And he attracted skilled engineers, including nineteen-year-old Ray Dolby.

On March 14, 1956, Poniatoff presented the first video recorder, intended only for studio recordings and the size of a wardrobe. The first TV broadcast using videotape took place on 30 November.

Poniatoff was in charge of day-to-day management until 1955, when he became chairman of the board. It was not until 1970, at the age of 78, that he became chairman emeritus. Together with his wife Helen, he then started experimenting in agriculture.

For ten years they searched for means to improve the soil in such a way that their fruit and vegetables increased in quality. Alexander Poniatoff died on October 24, 1980 at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto.

> (see also dolby)