Marvin Camras wire recordings
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 for Acc. No. 2000.050 Note: Spools listed by "W" number; note that most spools are in boxes and that additional numbers are included on the boxes. Numbers are also recorded on spools, but the contents of the boxes have not been matched (verified) to the number recorded on the box. "Sr. No." "Details" "Additional Info." 1 W113 2 W114 3 W256 4 W257 5 W258 6 W259 7 W260 8 W261 9 W264 10 W285 11 W286 12 W287 13 W296 14 W297 15 W310 16 W315 17 W311, 317, 324 though 327, 330 18 W322 19 W325 2 boxes with same number 20 W325 2 boxes with same number 21 W338a 22 W338b 23 W339 24 W340 25 W343 26 W344 27 W345 28 W346 - 48 with 324 interspersed 29 W346 30 W347 31 W352 32 W355 33 W356 34 W358 35 W359 36 W360 37 W361 38 W362 39 W363 40 W371 41 W373 42 W374 43 W375 44 W376 45 W377 46 W378 47 W384 48 W385 49 W386 50 W387 51 W388 52 W389 53 W390 54 W391 55 W403 56 W405 57 W406 58 W407 59 W408 (empty box) 60 W409 61 W410 62 W414 63 W415 64 W417 (empty box) 65 W418 66 W419 67 W420 68 W421 69 W422 70 W423 71 W425 - 38 72 W426 - 68 73 W431 74 W452 2 boxes with same number 75 W452 2 boxes with same number 76 W477 77 W478 2 boxes with same number 78 W478 2 boxes with same number 79 W485 80 W486 81 W495 82 W497 83 W498 84 W509 85 W526 86 W532 87 W541 88 W545 89 W546 90 W553 91 W554 92 W654 93 March of Time on China (Jan. 45) 1 out of 4 boxes with green labels 94 Pobielniak Party, Spool 1 (12/16/44) 2 out of 4 boxes with green labels 95 Pobielniak Party, Spool 2 (12/16/44) 3 out of 4 boxes with green labels (labels crossed out) 96 Chicago Notes as recorded by NBC 4 out of 4 boxes with green labels (labels crossed out) 97 1002 Wires Boxes without spools 98 Spool G/ STD Record #2 Boxes without spools 99 Spool D 508 - 517 795 - 800 Boxes without spools 100 Spool No. 430 (Markings on adhesive labels) Spools without boxes 101 Spool No. 431 (Markings on adhesive labels) Spools without boxes 102 B-152, P.43, 6 - W ???, 7 - W225 [best guess] (Markings on adhesive labels) Spools without boxes 103 Amer. Steel Samples (Markings on adhesive labels) Spools without boxes 104 247H (Markings on paper band) Spools without boxes 105 B-598-2 (Markings in pencil on spool) Spools without boxes 106 MC P.15 (Markings in pencil on spool) Spools without boxes 107 1 min JK (Markings in pencil on spool) Spools without boxes 108 3 min 40-Sec. OA 60% (Markings in pencil on spool) Spools without boxes 109 PR Hobson's Speech BAD (Markings in pencil on spool) Spools without boxes 110 2 spools with no markings 111 976 A Box fragments with markings not matched to spools 112 2 min Wire Sample from A. S. & W Co. Box fragments with markings not matched to spools 113 M.C. JK Recorded for Dr. Poulter Box fragments with markings not matched to spools 114 Deck of reference cards
- circa 1940-1950
- Camras, Marvin (Person)
Language of Materials
Records are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
Available for Research
109 Item Report
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.
Uncertain as to value of the tapes until they can be definitely identified; if they can be related to tests documented in Camras' lab notebooks (in the Marvin Camras Papers), they may be of greater value, pending their ability to heard. A couple may be greater value if the identifications (indicating content other than test samples) are correct.
Catherine Bruck, University Archivist 12/7/2000