WIG: Music to our Ears

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It’s hard to imagine living a life without music, especially with the rise of effortless, futuristic earphones. With AirPods becoming more and more common in my day to day encounters, I found it hard not to dive into the roots of it all. When, and how did our need for constant musical pleasure begin? In the early 1880s, headphones consisted of a single earpiece that weighed over 10 pounds — used exclusively by telephone operators. Then in 1895, those who could afford to subscribe to an Electrophone System were able to jam to their local opera house with headphones that looked like a pair of rigid, oversized stethoscopes. It wasn’t until 1910 that Nathaniel Baldwin started to manufacture the first modern headphone . The first dynamic headphones to hit the mass market, however, was Beyerdynamic’s DT-48’s in 1937. From then on, the first stereo, electrostatic, portable, in-ear, neckband, and noise-cancelling headphones were invented, up until the iPod transformed the industry in 2001. Today, headphones are symbols of self-expression and style as much as they are music devices: who knows what’s next?

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