The Mother of Invention of Videotape (link)

Posted on Jun 29, 2019

A fascinating history of designing the first broadcast videotape recorders. I can’t get over the work-in-progress photo of the Ampex Mark II prototype.

The Mother of Invention of Videotape | ProVideo Coalition

On Saturday, April 14th, 1956, in a Chicago hotel meeting room, Lodge spoke to 200 CBS Affiliates about a new technology to be introduced by the network. A CBS live camera and video monitors were set up around the room. No one thought twice about it as CBS had done this before to add a “show biz” aura to the proceedings. Lodge concluded his remarks but remained at the podium. Suddenly, the monitors went black.

Then a picture reappeared and again showed an image of Lodge. Only he was not standing silently as they were seeing with their own eyes – he was delivering his remarks again! At first, the crowd stood silent as 200 brains collectively assimilated what they were seeing. Then simultaneous realization struck followed by pandemonium. The room erupted in spontaneous applause. A curtain was drawn back revealing the Ampex team and their Mark IV prototype. The crowd couldn’t restrain itself. Amid cheers, whistles and back slapping, the crowd surged toward the prototype and it’s designers. That week, Ampex sold over 75 of the $50,000 machines (over $400,000 in 2013 dollars).

Ampex Mark II – Work in progress of the first broadcast videotape recorder. Courtesy Ampex Corporation with contribution credit to the late Charles Anderson and Tim Stoffel (