Ribbon of Rust

Lost and Found Sound: Bringing Tape Recorders to the U.S.

Jack Mullin in 1950 with two large machines used to record ABC's Bing Crosby Show.

hide captionJohn T. "Jack" Mullin in 1950 with two "portable" Model 200 Ampex tape machines used to record ABC's Bing Crosby Show for radio.

Paul and Eve Collier.

Produced by Art Silverman.

The man who brought magnetic audio tape recorders to the U.S., Jack Mullin, died June 24, 1999 at age 84.

Mullin was a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II and stumbled upon reels of magnetic quarter-inch tape and machines in a town near Frankfurt, Germany. He came home to America, perfected the machines, and on November 16, 1946 demonstrated how they worked to a meeting of audio engineers in his home state of California. Soon Bing Crosby started using them to pre-tape his radio show for ABC. The show included laugh tracks, which Mullin invented.

Thanks to audio engineer Don Ososke of San Carlos, CA.

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