Alexander M. Poniatoff  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Alexander Matveevich Poniatoff (Александр Матвеевич Понятов) (1892–1980) was a Russian-American engineer. He emigrated from Russia to China, where he worked for the Shanghai Power Company until he emigrated to the United States in 1927. He founded, in 1944, the Ampex company, using his initials, A.M.P., plus "ex" for "excellence" to create the name. The high-frequency bias technique, which made quality recording possible, was invented by Telefunken engineers, and Poniatoff was the beneficiary of what was effectively war-booty. Danish engineer Valdemar Poulsen's original magnetic recorder was previously only useable for telephony recording. In 1956, engineers of Ampex created the world's first rotary head recorder, the VR-1000 videotape recorder. Poniatoff served as president of Ampex until 1955 when he was elected chairman of the board.

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