Jacob Rabinow

Jacob Rabinow

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Jacob Rabinow was an engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

 who led a truly prolific career as an inventor. He earned a total of 230 U.S. patents on a variety of mechanical, optical and electrical devices.

Rabinow was born in Kharkov, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, in 1910. In 1919, his family moved to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, then in 1921 to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. He graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering in 1933, and a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering in 1934. His career as an inventor began when he was hired as a mechanical engineer in 1938 by the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST). He made many developments there, mainly in defense systems, and eventually became Chief of the Electro-Mechanical Ordnance Division at NBS before leaving in 1954 to form his own company.

During this time, Rabinow invented and patented a number of revolutionary devices. Among them are the first disc-shaped magnetic storage media for computers (1954), the magnetic particle clutch
Magnetic particle clutch
A magnetic particle clutch is a special type of electromagnetic clutch which does not use friction plates. Instead, it uses a fine powder of magnetically susceptible material to mechanically link an otherwise free wheeling disc attached to one shaft, to a rotor attached to the other shaft.When a...

 (1956), the first straight-line phonograph (1959), the first self-regulating clock (1960) and his famous "reading machine" (1960) which was the first to use the "best match" principle and was the basis for the reading, sorting and processing machines used today by banks and post offices.

In 1964, Rabinow's company joined Control Data Corporation
Control Data Corporation
Control Data Corporation was a supercomputer firm. For most of the 1960s, it built the fastest computers in the world by far, only losing that crown in the 1970s after Seymour Cray left the company to found Cray Research, Inc....

 (CDC), and until 1972 he was Vice President of CDC and head of the Rabinow Advanced Development Laboratory. In 1968 Rabinow formed the RABCO company to manufacture straight-line phonographs, and the company was later bought out by Harman Kardon Corporation
Harman Kardon
harman/kardon is a division of Harman International Industries and manufactures home and car audio equipment.Founded in 1953 by Dr. Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon — two men with a deep interest in music and the arts — the company helped create the high-fidelity audio industry. Their first product...

. In 1972 he returned to NBS where he was Chief Research Engineer until his retirement in 1989.

In addition to his patents, Jacob Rabinow was awarded many other merits for his scientific achievements. Among them are the President's Certificate of Merit (1948), the Industrial R&D Scientist of the Year Award (1960), the IEEE's Harry Diamond Award (1977), and the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award
Lemelson-MIT Prize
The Lemelson Foundation awards several prizes yearly to inventors in United States. The largest is the Lemelson-MIT Prize which was endowed in 1994 by Jerome H. Lemelson, and is administered through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...

 (1998). He published his book, Inventing for Fun and Profit, in 1989. He also delivered many speeches and lectures on inventions and technology, as a guest at many educational institutions and on several television and radio shows. He also served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public
Society for Science & the Public
Society for Science & the Public , formerly known as Science Service, is a 5013 non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of science, through its science education programs and publications, including the weekly Science News magazine.Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the organization...

, from 1971-1973.

Rabinow was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame
National Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recognizing, honoring and encouraging invention and creativity through the administration of its programs. The Hall of Fame honors the men and women responsible for the great technological advances that make human,...

in 2005.

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