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.
MORE IDEAS FROM Listen Up: Here's a Brief History of Headphones
Today when we have unlimited songs in our pocket, we take them for granted, but forty years ago in 1979, when Sony’s first portable music player the “Walkman” debuted, a personal, portable music player was unheard of. From being a shared experience, music suddenly became a deep personal soundscape, hammering between one’s ears.
Though big by today’s standards, the Walkman was a tiny thing to behold in Japan, where it debuted, and the youth took to the funky gadget that could carry one’s music out of the bedroom, into the subway and city streets. Sony ended up selling two million Walkmans in less than two years.
Music is important to people individually and on a societal level. Music is greatly influential to the state of technology. The devices we use to listen to music shape the technological landscape.
But when did earbuds become synonymous with a portable music player, and where did it all start?
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