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When were headphones invented?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
(Maybe this needs to be moved to Member's Lounge?)

I was watching M*A*S*H tonight. Charles was playing records and generally annoying the hell out of everyone else. I wondered why he didn't just slap on a pair of cans and listen happily in private.

Now, I'm older than M*A*S*H (the series), and I am fairly sure headphones were invented before the show went on the air in 1972, though I don't remember anyone in my family owning any until later, late '70s at best. But the show was dealing with the Korean war, which was early 1950s. I presume, therefore, that the headphone was invented somewhere after the Korean war but prior to 1970.

Anybody care to take a guess? Anybody know the definitive answer? Bonus points if you can name a specific model that was The First Headphone!

Thanks,

D.

PS - I mean the headphone strictly for listening to music (be the source a radio, a record player, tape deck, whatever), not headsets for telephones or whatnot.
post #2 of 18
http://www.bookrags.com/sciences/sci...hones-woi.html

The first stereo headphones were invented in 1958 by John C. Koss, a Milwaukee-based jazz musician and audiophile. Before his time, headphones were used only in industry by telephone operators and the like. Koss's original idea consisted of a total stereo package: a small portable phonograph with attached speakers and his new headphones, designed with an audio engineer. When he took it to a hi-fi show in his hometown that November, the only component that drew interest was the headphones, which became an immediate hit. The idea was so successful that Japanese companies quickly designed copies of Koss's headphones. Though the original Koss headphones were crude--little more than tiny loudspeakers covered in cardboard and held in place by a military headband-- they were the first headphones to provide the listener with a full amplitude of sound.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_war
post #3 of 18
i thought it was the vietnam war?
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by afobisme
i thought it was the vietnam war?
What, M*A*S*H? It's Korea.
post #5 of 18
Wow it's interesting that it's the same John Koss of the Koss company who invented headphones.
post #6 of 18
Hmm...the world's first dynamic headphones were invented in 1937, by guess who? Beyerdynamics..

"1937 World's first dynamic headphones, the DT 48 which are still in production today!"

http://www.beyerdynamic.com/cms/History.116.0.html?&L=1

Also, some vintage circa 1920s headphones:
http://members.aol.com/oldradjo/gallery.html
post #7 of 18
Didn't the radio operators use headphones in world war 2 and may be even world war 1?? I mean the atom bomb was invented for heaven's sake in the 40s but headphones werent???? Irony of life
post #8 of 18
HOly crap... I was kinda impressed by the fact that DT 48 is still made and decided to buy one, but the price of the Beyerdynamic DT 48 E-200 is $329!!!! One hell of an expensive can for the 30s technology !!
post #9 of 18
"the world's first dynamic headphones were invented in 1937, by guess who? Beyerdynamics."

It is true that Beyer invented the first "dynamic" headphone, but there were headphones, "non-dynamic" I suppose, prior to that. The headphone has been in use since the invention of radio. So I it goes back as far as the days of Marconi (1898 or so). . . . . I wonder what brand he preferred?

What is surprising is how much those early headphones resemble the Grados of today.

- augustwest
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by augustwest
"the world's first dynamic headphones were invented in 1937, by guess who? Beyerdynamics."

It is true that Beyer invented the first "dynamic" headphone, but there were headphones, "non-dynamic" I suppose, prior to that. The headphone has been in use since the invention of radio. So I it goes back as far as the days of Marconi (1898 or so). . . . . I wonder what brand he preferred?

What is surprising is how much those early headphones resemble the Grados of today.

- augustwest
Hmmm...I wonder, what are the other kinds of headphone technology? My limited knowledge of headphones tells me that there are two kinds of headphones in the very modern world, dynamic and electrostats. Are there other kinds in the 1800s? early 1900s?
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerebral_Mamba
Didn't the radio operators use headphones in world war 2 and may be even world war 1?? I mean the atom bomb was invented for heaven's sake in the 40s but headphones werent???? Irony of life
Yeah, they were around for radio applications but I meant a headphone designed for hi-fidelity and strictly for music-listening pleasure.
post #12 of 18

Sennheiser...

"The world's first open headphones were developed by Sennheiser in 1968."

From the HD 595 Box...
post #13 of 18
Looks like many of the headphone companies still in existence today have innovated! This has to be the greatest hobby to be in... creative/innovative companies selling some truly excellent products.
post #14 of 18
Here is what an AT&T site has to say about it:

" The concept of headphones evolved from the telephone earpiece. Headphones were first used over 100 years ago by AT&T line repairmen and telephone operators for the same reason that they're used today -- to keep unwanted noise out and wanted noise in. Early radio fans were probably the first to listen to music through headphones, and when stereo reproduction was invented the headphones' place in rock and roll was assured.

Before this invention, switchmen were prone to suffer headaches from telephones pressed against their heads with elastic bands."


< http://www.nobell.org/~gjm/att/rock/...880phones.html >

- augustwest
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jernmo
"The world's first open headphones were developed by Sennheiser in 1968."

From the HD 595 Box...
Yes, the first open-air headphones, the HD414, but HARDLY the first headphones.
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