Charles H. Coleman


Charles H. Coleman
Charles H. Coleman
Washington, DC, USA
Associated organizations
Ampex Corporation
Fields of study
IEEE Vladimir K. Zworykin Award


Charles H. Coleman was born on October 28, 1926, in Washington, D. C. Following his graduation from high school in 1943, he audited some classes at Eastern Illinois Stale University, where his father was head of the Social Sciences Department. Failing to find inspiration in this brief exposure to higher education, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, and shortly thereafter, assisted hy his boyhood interest in experimenting with electronic devices, successfully applied for assignment in the Naval Radar Materiels School. This led him into the operation and maintenance of military radar and radio equipment, and upon his discharge from the service in 1946, he found employment at television station WBKB (later WBBM) in Chicago. His interest and aptitude in circuit design led him to the design and development of power supplies, switching equipment, and video and pulse distribution amplifiers for General Communications while still working at WBBM.

In 1959, WBBM purchased its first videotape recorder and Chuck proposed to his superiors that he investigate an electronic means for the automatic elimination of geometrical distortions in the reproduced picture occurring under any of a number of operator misadjustments. A demonstration of his progress was given to technical representatives of the Ampex Corporation in 1960, and shortly thereafter, he became a member of that firm.

Completion of the design and development of this device made it available to the broadcast industry in 1961, and it was followed a year later by the presentation of another Coleman invention which made it possible for the first time to play back color television programs from magnetic tape in accordance with the original intent of the NTSC specifications relating to the frequency interleaving of the luminance and chrominance components.

In 1963, a complex set of techniques known as the High-Band Standard came into existence and was soon accepted as the preferred operating practice for videotape recording. Mr. Coleman was co-inventor of this method.

In 1966, through the efforts of Mr. Coleman, a further step was made in the sequence of electronic time-base stabilization developments. This latest device performed the function of eliminating hue shifts resulting from velocity errors inherently attendant to some degree in all quadruplex videotape records.

Mr. Coleman was a senior staff engineer in the Video Engineering Department of Ampex. He and his wife, Alice, both had pilot's licenses and fly their own aircraft. They enjoyed mountain climbing and camping, but their primary hobby was the tracing of historic trails in the West. They have made two flying expeditions to King William Island off the Arctic Coast of Canada, spending a week on the Island each time, searching for cairns marking the Sir John Franklin Expedition in 1845, made in quest of the Northwest Passage. Although they did find cairns, they were less successful in this venture than Chuck had been in his pursuit of devices pertaining to television broadcasting, as the cairns were all left by parties other than Sir John's.

Charles H. Coleman received the 1970 IEEE Vladimir K. Zworykin Award "For highly significant contributions to the technology of recording monochrome and color television signals."