Stefan Kudelski, Sound-Recording Equipment Inventor, Dies at 84

Stefan Kudelski, the inventor of the first portable professional sound recorder, died. He was 84.

Kudelski created the Nagra in 1951, and the invention was used by the radio, movie and television industries, the Cheseaux, Switzerland-based Kudelski Group said in a statement yesterday. He began his career by selling the device to Radio Luxembourg, Italy’s RAI and the British Broadcasting Corp., as well as ABC, NBC and CBS in the U.S., according to the Nagra Audio website.

“Stefan Kudelski was one of those personalities who contributed to the international reputation of Switzerland,” Vice Chairman Claude Smadja said in the statement. “Anyone who knew him could only be impressed by his sharpness, his incredible culture, his curiosity and his permanent sense of humor.” He died on Jan. 26, the company said.

The Kudelski Group spun the Nagra audio unit off in January 2012 and now focuses on technology for digital television. It also owns a unit that makes access systems for parking lots and ski resorts.

Kudelski was born in Warsaw on Feb. 27, 1929, and his family fled Poland in 1939 as World War II started. The Kudelskis fled to Hungary and France before arriving in Switzerland in 1943.

Stefan Kudelski’s son Andre is chairman and chief executive officer of Kudelski Group, having taken over from his father in 1991. Marguerite Kudelski, the daughter of the inventor, is also on the company’s board.

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