Peter Carl Goldmark: Engineer. Inventor. Hungarian.
Peter Carl Goldmark (Hungarian: Goldmark Péter Károly) born in Budapest on
December 2, 1906 was a naturalized American engineer whose ubiquitous innovations changed the face of broadcasting and entertainment.
In 1936 CBS Laboratories hired Goldmark. It was here that he began the most significant work of his career. One of his first projects was tackling a color television system.
The system, first demonstrated in 1940, used a rapidly rotation color wheel that alternated transmission in red, green, and blue. This system was improved upon after World War II and approved for commercial use by the FCC in 1950.
In 1948 Goldmark and his team at CBS Laboratories also introduced the world to the long playing, 33 1/3 record.
Utilizing a groove width of only 0.003 inches (compared to 0.01 inches of the 78-rpm records of the time) the rough equivalent of six 78s could be compressed into one of Goldmark’s long playing records. Ultimately this extended playback by more than 20 minutes per side!
This innovation sparked a music industry breakthrough so strong that the digital age has yet to kill it.
After the massive success of the LP Goldmark spent the next two decades at CBS working on myriad inventions. Most significant among these were the EVR or Electronic Video Recorder.
Goldmark’s television recording device utilized reels of film stored in plastic cassettes to store audio and video signals electronically. This new technology was announced in 1967. By 1969 a black and white prototype was demonstrated publicly.
Incredibly the invention fumbled in the hands of CBS. It’s difficulty and cost to manufacture set its production back. There was also word that CBS was concerned that the product’s potential of delivering significant competition to CBS in the unknown at the time home video recording market — a fear that would eventually come to fruition.
In 1969 Goldmark was awarded the Elliot Cresson Medal — the highest award given by the Franklin Institute. The award is endowed “for some discovery in the Arts and Sciences, or for the invention or improvement of some useful machine, or for some new process or combination of materials in manufactures, or for ingenuity, skill, or perfection in workmanship.”
In 1971 Goldmark left CBS and formed Goldmark Communications where he continued his lifelong pursuit of research and innovation in the communications technology field.
Goldmark was awarded an illustrious IRI Medal by the Industrial Research Institute in 1972 for his leadership in the field of technology innovation.
On November 22, 1977 President Jimmy Carter presented Goldmark with the National Medal of Science, “For contributions to the development of the communication sciences for education, entertainment, culture, and human service.”
Information for this piece was gathered from sources that include Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia, Nasononline, and Wired.