Semi Joseph Begun
Born December 2, 1905 - Died January 5, 1995

Semi Joseph Begun was a (perhaps the) pioneer of magnetic recording. Begun was born in Danzig, Germany, and later graduated in 1929 from the Institute of Technology in Berlin, where he became interested in magnetic recording. His doctoral thesis and his book were firsts in this field, both entitled Magnetic Recording. In 1934, he built the first tape recorder for broadcasting.

In 1938, after immigrating to the United States, Dr. Begun joined the Brush Development Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, where he developed the Soundmirror tape recorder. As a member of the National Defense Research Committee, he was awarded a presidential citation by President Harry S. Truman. Dr. Begun's later developments led to the first video recording head and the forerunner of the floppy disk. After retiring from Brush in 1971, he served as president and chief executive officer of Auctor Associates.

His memoirs are available from the Audio Engineering Society in a 158-page softbound volume, discussing the early development of the Lorenz steel tape machine, and the activities at the United StatesBrush Development Company during World War II. The book is entitled "Magnetic Recording: The Ups and Downs of a Pioneer".

Dr. Semi Joseph Begun died Jan. 5 at his home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He was 89 years old, and a life fellow of the IEEE and the Acoustical Society. He was survived by his wife, Ruth Weltman Begun.


Website: National Inventors Hall of Fame "Semi Begun" (

Website: IEEE "Obituaries", March 1995 (

Website: Audio Engineering Society "Other Special Publications" (

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