Gadgets

Published on July 1st, 2019 | by Alan Cross

0

40 years ago today, the Sony Walkman appeared and turned is all into headphone-wearing zombies

[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]

Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka enjoyed listening to music while travelling on business, especially during those long trans-Asia and transpacific flights. He started by using a modified version of the company’s TC-D5 cassette recorder, but ultimately found it to be too bulky.

That’s when he asked Norio Ohga, Sony’s executive deputy president, to come up with something a little more user-friendly. He then handed the project off to Kozo Ohsone, the general manager of Sony’s tape recorder business.

After prototyping with a mono-only unit released in 1977 called the Pressman, attention turned to an even greater challenge: good-sounding headphones that were also lightweight and could fit into a large pocket.

his was easier said than done. Forty years ago, headphones were heavy, clunky things that you used for private, solitary listening at home. Consumer hi-fi headphones made their debut in the 1950s but were heavy brutes. My first pair, an ugly beige set from Koss with a long, coiled cord, weighed close to five pounds. I was always conscious of that tonnage on my head. Could Sony come up with something anyone could wear that wouldn’t leave a divot in their skulls?

On June 22, 1979, the new device, the TPS-L2, was previewed for journalists at a Tokyo theme park. Riffing on the name “Pressman,” the new unit was a playback-only thing the “Walkman.” The public got it on July 1.

Keep reading.




Tags:


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


Related Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to Top ↑
  • FOLLOW ALAN


  • EntertainmentTO

    Music Tech MeetUp

    EntertainmentTO is the best way to expand your knowledge and network within Toronto’s Entertainment Tech community. Our mission is to inspire and empower those interested in shaping the future of Entertainment, including music, video, sports, and gaming.

    EntertainmentTO is led by Alan Cross, best known nationally and internationally as host of the syndicated radio series The Ongoing History of New Music, The Edge, Q107, and more.

    Join us as we bridge the gap between technology, innovation, and entertainment.

  • Twitter