Founded in San Carlos, California, Ampex was created by engineering entrepreneur Alexander Matthew Poniatoff. Initially the company was a small manufacturer of high quality electric motors and generators for radars used at the end of WW2 by the US military. Ampex is an acronym for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence.
Ampex equipment ranges are widely associated with the audio and broadcast industry. The Ampex Model 200A, released in April 1948 was used to record the Bing Crosby Show and the device was central to the development of recording by ABC in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Ampex was renowned for innovation releasing revolutionary 8, 16 and 24 track recorders. In 1991 Ampex sold its audio business and focused on video equipment.
In the late 1960’s Ampex released Videofile, a specialist device still used by Scotland Yard and many US police divisions for the electronic storage and retrieval of fingerprints. In the early 1970’s Ampex launched the ACR-25, the first automated robotic library system for the recording and playback of television commercials.
During a period of growth Ampex launched a record label, the Ampex Video Art (AVA™) video graphics system and the DST, a high-performance computer mass storage product able to store half the Library of Congress. In 2005, Ampex received a 12th Emmy award for their invention of slow-motion colour recording and playback.