Manuscripts in the Ampex Orbit

November 3, 2016
Franz Kunst
former Ampex building

Big changes here in Redwood City’s Mid-Point Technology Park: As you may have read, the library's Manuscripts and Rare Books Cataloging division (along with Conservation, SMPL & SU Press) has just moved from one building to another across the street while a brand new campus is built. What may not be generally known, however, is that both buildings once housed the electronics corporation Ampex, whose records we happen to have. In 1944 Ampex was founded a few miles north in San Carlos, and operated there for several years before moving to larger facilities in Redwood City after the success of their pioneering audio and video tape machines. The office park's fountains were designed by architect John Carl Warnecke (’41) who also designed Stanford's post office & student store, as well as Meyer and the Cummings art building (both of which no longer exist - perhaps a comment on Modernism's unfashionability?).

The Ampex Corporation Records contain a great many photographs, including several of the Redwood City property during and after its construction. Here's a couple dating from the mid-1960s:

Ampex campus, aerial

 Ampex atrium, color

 And for now at least, the iconic sign will remain visible from 101:

Ampex sign