Good Question: Who Invented Earbuds?

The New York Times was curious so they dispatched someone to find out.

In “Fahrenheit 451,” Ray Bradbury described a futuristic radio that could be worn inside the ear. It would be “a hidden wasp snug in its special pink warm nest,” he wrote, and the conduit for “an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk, coming in on the shore of [your] unsleeping mind.”
That was more than 50 years ago, but it’s not a bad description of iPod headphones.In-ear listening devices had been around for at least a century. Starting in the early 1850s, doctors inserted the ivory tips of stethoscopes into each ear, and a few decades later, similar “ear tubes” were used to listen to recorded music.
Thomas Edison attached stethoscopelike headphones to his phonograph machine, which played sound off wax cylinders. Some machines came with multiple sets of tubes, dangling like streamers on a jellyfish, so that several people could listen at once.

Continue reading.

Alan Cross

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.

Let us know what you think!

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