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Carl Schaefer, 101, Pioneer in Records

Carl H. Schaefer, a former Greenwich resident, died on Jan. 31 at the Edgehill Assisted Living Facility in Stamford. He was 101.

Schaefer was born in Leverkusen, Germany, and studied engineering and economics in Cologne, Germany. He moved to the United States with his parents in 1929. Schaefer learned English quickly and began his professional career researching aluminum foil for cigarette packages with Reynolds Metals in Newark, N.J. He then became head of his department and pioneered the coating of aluminum with lacquers that were used in a variety of products.

After World War II began, Schaefer became chief technical and chief operating officer of Presto Recording Co., which manufactured machines that made master records by cutting grooves in wax. He adapted his lacquer-coating techniques to create master recording blanks, which were used by the U.S. military to make recordings and press records for troops and commanders in the European and Asian theaters. They were also used to prerecord radio programs for broadcast.

When the war ended, he developed new technology that gave rise to the 33 rpm record, replacing the 78 rpm record.

In 1948, Schaefer launched Transco Products Corp. in Linden, N.J., where he focused on manufacturing recording blanks. The company became the primary supplier of recording blanks in the country. He retired in 1969 as tape and wire recorder technologies began to replace records. Schaefer moved to Greenwich in 1985.

His wife of 62 years, Evelyn Conk Schaefer, died in July 1998. Schaefer is survived by his sons, C. Barry Schaefer and Allen E. Schaefer; and two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter. A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Feb. 26 at the Second Congregational Church, 136 E. Putnam Ave., Greenwich.

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