The History and Evolution of Headphones

The technology used in headphones has evolved over the years. Here is a brief history of headphones; it explains how they were developed over the years.

The 1880s

In the early days when there were no headphones and just a few telephones and radio transmissions, people used to listen to music via only these mediums. However, soon came the device which put sound in the ears of the audience. During the 1880s, the first headphone devices were invented. They were not like the headphones we know today but more like a single earpiece. Telephone operators used these devices.

The 1890s

The first evolution which gave the look of a headphone was in 1895. In this year, opera fans were given a stethoscope-like device which they could use to listen to the opera. These devices worked together with the telephone lines, and the people could listen to the opera in their homes miles away. It was called the electrophone, was expensive, and did not have good sound quality. However, it was these stethoscope-like headphones which gave the idea of the modern day headphones.

The 1910s

It was the year 1910 when the first ever headphones were invented. The design evolved and the sound quality improved. Nathaniel Baldwin, who was an electrical engineer, designed these headphones. He designed them in his kitchen with two circular audio receivers which he connected with a headband. He sold these headphones to the US Navy. His design was the real inspiration behind the modern-day headphones. Many competitors emerged seeing the popularity of these devices.

The 1930s

During the 1930s, music got popular. It will not be wrong to call it the decade of music. During this time, the electric guitar was invented. In the year 1937, headphones saw another evolution. The Beyerdynamic DT48 headphones had a dynamic audio system and were developed by Eugen Beyer in 1937. The best thing about these headphones was the technical principles used to create them. The design of these headphones was more dynamic and flexible than the previous ones. They also had less weight as compared to the earlier versions.

The 1950s

During the 1950s, music got even more popular and people used to listen to the records before purchasing thanks to the invention of stick headphones. These headphones were only designed for the stores which sold records. People would go in and listen to the music records using them before buying.

However, it was the Koss SP-3 headphone which changed the course of these devices. It was the first commercial headphone which was designed especially for music. Before this, headphones invented in the 1920s and 30s were used only for radio communications. John Koss developed this device in 1958. It was the first musical evolution in headphones. The Koss SP-3 was the first Superior Stereo Sound headphone, and its sound quality was amazing.

The 1960s

Koss produced the electrostatic headphones in 1968. These sound devices were not as popular as the original stereo headphones as they were heavy, but they had better sound quality.

The 1980s

This was the time when the Walkmans were famous. Almost everyone who loved music had a Walkman in his or her hand. A Walkman required a more sophisticated headphone. It had to be a smaller design which was easy to carry around. Sony developed the first ever portable small-sized headphones in 1979. It was the first evolution in the design of the headphones. The sound quality was good and the design was perfect. The public appreciated the design as it would fit in the ears comfortably. The headphones were also lightweight and were called the MDL-3L2 headphones.

The Sony MDL-3L2 headphones were portable, but some people still did not like the design as it did not fit the ears properly. The first earbud and in-ear headphones were introduced in the 80s. This design evolution became very popular. Almost everyone who loved music bought these headphones. During the 1990s, Sony introduced the neckband headphones.

The 2000s

It was the 2000s when the sound isolation technology was introduced in the headphones. It was the first step towards the headphones of today, which allow us to listen to audio without any external disturbance. At that time, only pilots used noise-cancelling technology to fly planes, but with the invention of QuietComfort by Bose, everyone on board the plane could watch TV or listen to the radio without any disturbance.

This was the time when technology was advancing. Engineers were working on headphones to produce the best sound quality. It was the year 2008 when Dr. Dre and Jimmy created the Beats headphones. It was the first time when a headphone had a loud sound system in it. It produced an excellent sound quality even with high volumes. Now music lovers could listen to music as loud as they wanted without disturbing anyone. These headphones had deep bass technology and were better not only in sound quality but also in design. They used foam pads to cover the ears.

Another evolution that took place in this decade was the invention of Bluetooth headphones. During the 2000s, people used to buy Sony's Bluetooth headphones, connect them to their TV or radio devices, and listen to the sound. These were the first cordless headphones. In 2004, Sony invented the first stereo Bluetooth headphones.

The 2010s

Technology has evolved a lot and as a result, the price of headphones has increased tremendously. During the 2010s, the major focus of headphones is the sound quality and technology. You will find that the latest Bluetooth Headphones produced by August EP650B can cost you £37.45 and can provide you with excellent sound quality.