Listen Up: Here's a Brief History of Headphones - Deepstash

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The invention of headphones

The invention of headphones

In 1910, Nathaniel Baldwin invented headphones. A prototype was sent to Lt. Comdr. A. J. Hepburn of the U.S. Navy. Hepburn tested the device and found it worked unexpectedly well to transmit sound.

The Navy began to ask for more headphones from Baldwin, who could only manage orders of 10 at a time because he was producing them in his kitchen.

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The history of headphones

  • Until the 1950s, people used headphones almost exclusively for radio communication.
  • In 1958, John C. Koss introduced the Koss SP3 Steroephones along with a portable phonograph to patients in Milwaukee hospitals that proved revolutionary because their sound quality made them optimal for listening to music.
  • 1979: The Sony "Walkman" created a need for a portable headphone and a lightweight set of MDR-3L2 headphones was included with the portable cassette player.
  • In 1978, Dr. Amar Bose, while on a flight, tried an early set of electronic headphones used for passenger entertainment. But the cabin noise made it impossible to hear anything. He returned to Boston and investigated how ambient noise could be reduced with active noise cancellation.
  • In 1989, the Noise Reduction Technology Group introduced the first noise-reduction headset, designed for the aviation industry.

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Portable headphones

  • Portable headphones became smaller and eventually lead to earbuds and in-earphones.
  • In 2001 Apple introduced the iPod, and later iPhone and iPad, comes with a set of white earbuds.
  • 2008. Hip hop artist and producer Dr. Dre and Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine launched Beats by Dr. Dre to help solidify headphones as a fashion statement.
  • 2011. Sennheiser, a German headphone company, released 300 sets of the Orpheus headphones and an audio show in South Korea. A set was priced at 30,000 Euros, or roughly $41,000.
  • 2012. The launch of the iPhone 5 started a new era of headphone design, the EarPod, designed to direct sound right into the ear.

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