Peter Carl Goldmark

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Peter Carl Goldmark
Péter Károly Goldmark

(1906-12-02)December 2, 1906
DiedDecember 7, 1977(1977-12-07) (aged 71)
CitizenshipHungarian, American
ChildrenPeter C. Goldmark Jr.
Engineering career
InstitutionsColumbia Records
ProjectsLong-playing (LP) phonograph
Color television

Peter Carl Goldmark (born Péter Károly Goldmark; December 2, 1906 – December 7, 1977) was a Hungarian-American engineer who, during his time with Columbia Records, was instrumental in developing the long-playing microgroove 3313 rpm phonograph disc, the standard for incorporating multiple or lengthy recorded works on a single disc for two generations. The LP was introduced by Columbia's Goddard Lieberson in 1948. Lieberson was later president of Columbia Records from 1956–1971 and 1973–1975. According to György Marx, Goldmark was one of The Martians.[1]

Early life[edit]

Goldmark married Frances Trainer, whom he later divorced. Together they had four children; three sons: Peter Jr., Christopher, Andrew and one daughter: Frances.[2] After divorcing Frances Trainer, Goldmark married Diane Davis and had two more children: Jonathan and Susan.[3]


In addition to his work on the LP record, Goldmark developed field-sequential color technology for color television while at CBS. The system, first demonstrated on August 29, 1940, and shown to the press on September 3 [4] used a rapidly rotating color wheel that alternated transmission in red, green and blue. The system transmitted on 343 lines, about 100 less than a black and white set, and at a different field scan rate, and thus was incompatible with television sets currently on the market without an adapter.[5]

Although CBS did broadcast in color with the Goldmark system in 1950–1951, the "compatible color" technology developed for RCA and NBC (by a team led by Richard Kell, George H. Brown and others) was compatible with existing black and white TVs. Goldmark and others have pointed out that the CBS color wheel system did provide better picture quality (although lower image resolution) than RCA's system, but the compatibility problem proved its downfall. An improved RCA/NBC color system submitted in July 1953 became the industry standard chosen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December 1953. Ironically, cameras using the color wheel system continued to be used for scientific research for several more decades, including the color lunar surface TV cameras during all the 1970s NASA Apollo Moon landings.[6]

After the success of the LP record, Goldmark spent the next two decades at CBS Laboratories working on various inventions, chief of which was EVR, the Electronic Video Recorder. This futuristic home video playback device used reels of film stored in plastic cassettes to electronically store audio and video signals, and was first announced in 1967. A B&W prototype was demonstrated in 1969 (promising color playback in future models), but the invention floundered when it proved to be difficult and costly to manufacture. CBS was also concerned about the potential of competition from home video devices, particularly those that could record — a fear that eventually proved prescient.[7]

Later life[edit]

Goldmark was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1969. He received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1970.[8]

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."[9]

Goldmark died at the age of 71 in an automobile accident on December 7, 1977, in Westchester County, New York.[10]

See also[edit]


General references[edit]

  • Coleman, Mark (2005) PLAYBACK: From the Victrola to MP3, 100 Years of Music, Machines and Money, Published by Da Capo Press (ISBN 0-306-81390-4)
  • Fisher and Fisher, "The Color War", Invention and Technology (Winter 1997)
  • Goldmark, Peter (1973) Maverick Inventor: My Turbulent Years at CBS, published by Saturday Review Press (ISBN 0841500460)
  • Reitan, Jr., Edward Howrd, "Ed Reitan's Color Television History", retrieved July 1, 2007.

Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ György, Marx; Marx; Gy.; Gy., M.; M., G. "A MARSLAKOK LEGENDAJA".
  2. ^ "Obituary: Frances Trainer Salant, 94, longtime resident". New Canaan Advertiser. February 26, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  3. ^ "Crash Kills Dr. Peter Goldmark, Scientist Who Invented LP Disk". The New York Times. December 8, 1977. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  4. ^ Current Broadcasting 1940.
  5. ^ Color Television System Development – CBS System Archived 2010-01-05 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Wood, Bill (2005). "Apollo TV Essay" (PDF). Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. NASA. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  7. ^ EVR and a rare EVR cartridge donated to the Library of Congress
  8. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  9. ^ "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details - NSF - National Science Foundation".
  10. ^ "Eugene Register-Guard - Google News Archive Search".

External links[edit]