unilad
Advert

Inventor Of The Cassette Tape Lou Ottens Dies Aged 94

by : Cameron Frew on :
Cassette InventorCineGardens/YouTube/Pexels

Lou Ottens, the engineer who invented the audio cassette tape, has died aged 94. 

The Dutch pioneer passed away in his hometown of Duizel last weekend, his family announced on Tuesday, March 9.

Advert

In 1960, after working at Philips for eight years, Ottens became the head of the product development department for its Hasselt division. Together with his team, they developed the cassette tape – a piece of technology that would go on to change the world.

Initially, they created the Philips EL 3585, a portable tape recorder. However, Ottens was frustrated with how clumsy it was, going on to condense the technology into something far more usable and appealing.

Three years later, he finally presented the compact cassette tape at the Berlin Radio electronics fair where it quickly became a worldwide success, advertised as being ‘smaller than a pack of cigarettes.’ Soon after, compact cassette tape was trademarked and a player was developed to roll them out.

Advert

Earlier speaking about cassettes to TIME for the invention’s 50th anniversary, Ottens said the tapes were a ‘sensation’ from the beginning.

Sport

There’s A Reason Why Olympic Athletes Are Wearing That Weird Tape

published at9 months ago

In later years, he’d go on to assist Philips and Sony with their development of the compact disc, a groundbreaking new medium that made ‘traditional record players obsolete,’ according to Ottens. While 100 billion cassette tapes have been sold since their inception, more than 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide.

However, cassettes aren’t completely dead these days. Many artists still release their music on tapes as part of limited edition releases, often accompanying a ‘premium’ vinyl package. In the first half of 2020, cassette tape sales were up by 103% compared to the same period the year prior.

Advert

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read

News

Teen Dies After Hole He And Sister Dug On Beach Collapses

Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Music, Now, Technology

Credits

TIME
  1. TIME

    Happy 50th Birthday, Cassettes!