July 27 ~  Timing Is Everything Ginsburg: Video Wizard

"Timing is everything." ~ Charles P. Ginsburg

Charles Ginsburg

The Father of the VCR, inventor Charles Paulson Ginsburg (1920-1992) was born on this day in San Francisco, California, and led the research team at Ampex Corporation to develop the first broadcast-quality videotape recorder (VTR), patent number 2,956,114.

The Ampex VRX-1000 (later renamed the Mark IV) recorder was introduced on March 1956. "The demonstrations were a bombshell in the industry," Ginsburg recalled. "Pandemonium broke loose and Ampex was flooded with orders."

Eight months later, CBS aired its first videotape delayed news broadcast from Los Angeles. The multi-billion $$$ video industry was launched. In 1957, Ginsburg won an Emmy for the outstanding contribution of the VTR and elected into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990.

"Find a need," said writer Ruth Stafford Peale, "and fill it."

Since 1958, NASA has used Ampex data recorders and magnetic tape for all space missions and in 1960 Ampex received a special Oscar for technical achievement.

In revolutionizing television broadcasting, Ampex sold the first VTR for $50,000 in 1956.The first video cassette recorder-- our popular VCR-- was sold by Sony in 1971.

Timing is everything.