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Camras, Marvin

 Person

Biography

Marvin Camras (1916-1995), a research scientist at Armour Research Foundation (later Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute), experimented in magnetic wire sound recording, inventing and improving machines and wire coatings. He is best known for his development of the first commercially practical magnetic recorder in 1944 and was popularly known as "The Father of Modern Magnetic Recording." Much of the work was done during WW II under contract with the U. S. government. Over the years, Camras received ca. 200 patents for his inventions and improvements. Through Armour Research Foundation, these were made available for commercial production via licensing to such companies as General Electric, 3M, and Eastman Kodak which produced various models as military equipment, business machines, and for home use. Still later, Camras expanded his research into tape recording and audio recording for film and television. His research efforts became the basis for today's audio and video recording and computer data storage. Camras studied at Armour Institute of Technology (a predecessor of Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago) where, in his senior year, he built and demonstrated a machine which recorded and immediately played back sound. He received degrees in electrical engineering from IIT in 1940 and 1942. An honorary doctorate was awarded to him in 1968. He joined Armour Research Foundation (IIT's contract research affiliate) directly after his graduation and continued at ARF and IITRI without interruption, retiring as senior scientific advisor ca. 1986. He then joined the IIT faculty as a full-time research professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, retiring in 1994. Camras received various awards during his lifetime including: The National Medal of Technology, 1990; Inventors Hall of Fame, 1985; Inventor of the Year Award, 1979 (The Patent Law Association of Chicago); John Scott Medal; Washington Award of the Western Society of Engineers; John H. Potts Memorial Award, IEEE Consumer Electronics Award; U. S. Camera Award for Outstanding Contribution to Motion Picture Photography; the Institute of Radio Engineers PGA Achievement Award; the IEEE Information Storage Award; and the Coors American Ingenuity Award, 1992. He received the IIT Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1948, the Alumni Medal in 1978, and was inducted into IIT's Hall of Fame in 1981. He was honored posthumously with the creation of IIT's Camras-NEXT (National Excellence in Technology) Scholarships. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineers, and a Fellow of IEEE, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Camras was married to Isabelle Pollak Camras and had four sons and one daughter. He pursued photography (entering photos in local shows) and music (including making violins and giving lectures) as serious hobbies. He lived in the Chicago area his whole life. He is the author of Magnetic Recording Handbook, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., ca. 1987; Magnetic Recording on Steel Wire, Chicago: the author, 1942; and the editor of Magnetic Tape Recording, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, ca. 1985. He gave his collection of professional papers and equipment to the Paul V. Galvin Library (IIT, Chicago) in 1987 where they are available for research in IIT Archives. Information complied by Catherine Bruck, University Archivist, October 9, 2001, from materials in IIT Archives/Drop Files/Marvin Camras. Camras was married to Isabelle Pollak Camras and had four sons and one daughter. He pursued photography (entering photos in local shows) and music (including making violins and giving lectures) as serious hobbies. He lived in the Chicago area his whole life. He is the author of Magnetic Recording Handbook, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., ca. 1987; Magnetic Recording on Steel Wire, Chicago: the author, 1942; and the editor of Magnetic Tape Recording, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, ca. 1985. He gave his collection of professional papers and equipment to the Paul V. Galvin Library (IIT, Chicago) in 1987 where they are available for research in IIT Archives.

Found in 9 Collections and/or Records:

ARF tag

 Collection
Identifier: 031.09.01
Description of the Collection

Metal tag previously used as an inventory tag on one of several file cabinets used by Marvin Camras at Armour Research Foundation. Reads: "Armour Research Foundation/A1879".

Dates: 1888

Hall of Fame collection, 1980-2019

 Collection
Identifier: 017.01.01
Description of the Collection Materials related to Hall of Fame induction ceremonies of 1981, 2002 and 2015. Folder 1 contains an invitation to the induction ceremony for 1981, which honored inductees Marvin Camras, William F. Finkl, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Weymouth H. Kirkland, Thomas J. Moran, Donald Frederick Othmer, Harris Perlstein, and Dorothy Thompson. A booklet published in 1980 includes brief biographies on each Hall of Fame member. Folder 2 includes printed materials related to the May 21, 2002 dinner event hosted...
Dates: 1980-2019; 2002

Marvin Camras film, 1940-1963

 Collection
Identifier: 031.10.10
Description of the Collection One reel of film apparently connected with Marvin Camras. Tag found with it reads: N/T Rock S4 Z4816 Film 35 MM 1 Reel Hold for M. Cameras" (sic) [Camras ?]. Back of tag reads: Armour Research Foundation of Illinois Institute of Technology. On rusted 10" reel; poor condition - film was warped and damaged (spotted) with no image visible and vinegar syndrome (as of Sept. 2004). At the request of Pres. Lew Collens, this item was sent to Vidipax (New York, NY) for conservation assessment and...
Dates: 1940-1963

Marvin Camras papers, 1938-1964

 Collection
Identifier: 031.07.05
Abstract Marvin Camras Papers Acc. No. 1998.053 in IIT Archives/Paul V. Galvin Library/Illinois Institute of Technology/Chicago, IL 60616 Finding Guide to Professional Papers (1938-1985) Transcript of Oral History [See Acc. No. 1998.119 for the oral history transcript.] Compiled and edited by Thomas J. Misa, ca. 1985 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This project began at the initiation of Anita Anderson, Special Collections Librarian at IIT's Galvin Library [since retired].... We are indebted to John Kalvelege who...
Dates: 1938-1964

Marvin Camras papers, 1940-ca. 1990

 Collection
Identifier: 031.07.10
Description of the Collection

Various black and white images (prints, negatives, contact sheets) of Marvin Camras, some with wire and tape recorders; some head shots. One shows him in a posed laboratory setting wearing an Armour Research Foundation lab coat. One color slide with TV set. One with Marvin (and Isabella Camras?) holding "Magnetic Society Information Storage Award." (NOTE that additional photos of Camras will be found in other collections. See 1998.053 for complete listing.)

Dates: 1940-1980; Majority of material found within 1940-1980

Marvin Camras t-shirt, 1990

 Collection
Identifier: 031.07.08
Description of the Collection

T-shirt (white with black and red silk-screened image) with photo of Marvin Camras and reading "IIT's Very Own/Marvin Camras/Father of Magnetic Recording." Shirt has been autographed by Camras. Artifact.

Dates: 1990

Marvin Camras wire recordings

 Collection
Identifier: 031.07.07
Description of the Collection 109 spools of magnetic wire recordings, presumed to be test samples for experiments conducted by Marvin Camras while developing wire recording technology at Armour Research Foundation. Spools (3½" diameter) and containers are labeled with various numbers and occasional text; e.g., one reads: 387, W477, 270/1926, HALF to w[?]ear; another reads: No - 208, 1.- B. 90% red., W389. Inventory of Spool Numbers...
Dates: circa 1940-1950

Office of Communications and Marketing photographs and slides, 1975-2004

 Collection
Identifier: 036.04.04
Description of the Collection

Photographs (prints and 35mm slides), videos, and CDs created or collected by the IIT Office of Communications and Marketing. A selection of topics that are depicted in the images are described at the series level.

Dates: 1975-2004; Majority of material found within 2000-2004

Office of Development collection, 1989-1998

 Collection
Identifier: 032.09.03
Description of the Collection

Five video tapes including campus promotional films, clips of news coverage on local network TV newscasts, and interviews with three students (Erika, Elena Zukowskis, and Amanda Porter) who received the Piper Scholarship, and one on the Stuart School.

Dates: 1936-1997; Majority of material found within 1990-1997

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