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Charles P. Ginsburg

American Jewish Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Charles P. Ginsburg:
Inducted into the National
Inventors Hall of Fame

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Charles Paulson Ginsburg was an American Jewish inductee in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, in 1990, for developing the first practical video tape recorder (VTR) using a rapidly rotating recording head to apply high-frequency signals onto a reel of magnetic tape.

Ginsburg was born on July 27, 1920, in San Francisco, California. He started college but, he had to drop out because of finances. He worked at a number of jobs until he accumulated enough money to go back to college. He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering and mathematics, San Jose State College, in 1948.

He was working as an engineer for radio station KQW, in San Jose, and later for radio station KCBS, in San Francisco. In 1951, he received a call from Alexander Poniatoff, the founder and president of Ampex Corp., in Redwood City, California, that he wanted Ginsburg to work for him. In 1952, Ginsburg went to Ampex and became the vice president and the head of the research team of the Advance Development Department at Ampex.

His research team developed the first broadcast quality videotape recorder which received patent number 2,956,114. CBS was the first network to use this tape recorder for news and other delayed shows. The result of this discovery was a billion-dollar industry for Ampex. Ginsburg received an Emmy for this outstanding discovery and was later inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Charles Ginsburg received many awards and honors:
● Fellow of the Society of Motion Pictures
● Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
● David Sarnoff Medal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, 1957
● The Vladimir K. Zworykin Television Prize of the Institute of Radio Engineers, 1958
● The Valdemar Poulsen Gold Medal by the Danish Academy of Technical Science, 1960
● The Howard N. Potts Medal of the Franklin Institute, 1969
● The Master Designer Award of the Product Engineering Magazine, 1969
● The John Scott Medal of the Board of Directors of City Trusts of the City of Philadelphia 1970
● The Emmy Award, 1957

Charles Paulson Ginsburg died in 1992, in Eugene, Oregon.

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