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Bio/Description

An IBM engineer, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He joined IBM in June 1938 as a Development Engineer in the Endicott Laboratory. In 1949, he transferred to Poughkeepsie, NY, where he was responsible for the design and development of the magnetic tape mechanical motion system used in the IBM 701. He also was responsible for the electromechanical features of the entire tape frame design. As he searched for ways to speed the start-stop motion of the tape, he and his team tried many options. Through these experiments, he and Walter Buslik developed the vacuum column, for which they received a patent. Their vacuum column made it possible for the magnetic tape drive to work. As in most creative efforts, improvisation would play a role in the development of the magnetic tape drive. He reported, "We had no clear idea of which approach to take. Very fast starts and stops were desirable to minimize the wasted tape and read-write delays. With tape speeds anticipated to be 100 to 200 inches per second, it was obviously impractical to accelerate bulky tape storage reels rapidly enough. Storage loops or buggers would be necessary in the tape path for gradual acceleration of the reels." The vacuum column provided this loop of tape and allowed the early prototype to mimic punch card records.
  • Noted For:

    Co-developer of the vacuum column that made it possible for the magnetic tape drive used in the IBM 701 to work
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