The first things that were somewhat similar to today’s headphones were being used by telephone operators. These headphones weren’t used to music but for talking over great distances.
The beginnings of the telephone were slow and a rare family had a telephone in 1880s. At the time nobody was using headphones for music.
In the 1895 there was an interesting service including headphones. You could listen to your local opera house from the comfort of your home. The sound was transferred by wire to the headphones that looked a lot different than todays, but still produced sound.
This was a very expensive service that never got popular with the masses. But this is the first time headphones were used solely for listening to the music. If you were rich and liked opera, this was a great service that saved you travel time and brought the opera music to your home.
The first headphones that were similar in design to modern ones were made in 1910. Mister Baldwin made special headphones for U.S. Navy. They were used for military communications and not music, thought they could’ve been used for music as well.
The idea of using headphones for more than professional military purposes never entered the inventors mind so he never patented and protected his design. If he did, he’d be very wealthy today, or at least his children.
The company that first introduced the modern designed headphones made for music was Beyerdynamic. That was in 1937. These headphones looked very similar to todays, used slightly heavier materials, but the technology used and the raw design was the same. These because quite popular, but listening to the music with headphones was not yet widespread and the common folk didn’t really use these,
Today Beyerdynamic is this one of the most known headphones brands in the world and are making high quality headphones compared to other top headphones brands like AKG, Sennheiser etc.
The first real stereo headphones were developed by John Koss in 1958. This changed the headphones industry and set the new standard. With its invention Koss would rule the headphones market and be the biggest player for quite some time.
The first time electrostatic headphones were made was 1959. This was a completely new technology that was going to be later used by other companies.
The real changes in design came in 1979. Sony introduced the Walkman and small and portable headphones. These created a new market for small headphones never before seen by humans.
If you want to go running with your music and be cool, you had to have a Walkman.
The first earbuds were made in 1980. The earbuds design and in-ear design was the smallest yet and hasn’t changed much today. These designs peaked in popularity after Apple introduced their iPod products and sold them in hundreds of millions in 2001 and later years.
These headphones weren’t specialized or made for a specific purpose like today. Nowadays you have a wide range of designs. Some headphones are better for swimming, some for home-listening and some for TV listening. When it comes to sports, some are best running headphones and some best for water sports. If you’re interested in what are top wireless workout headphones you can get plenty of into about it.
The first noise canceling headphones for music were introduced to the market by Amar Bose. Though the technology was already being used by pilots, it has never been presented to the civilian market.
Now you could enjoy your favorite music on the planet without having to listen to other passengers.
If we go to more modern and current history, the real winners in 2000 and later are Apple and Beats companies with biggest market shares. Apple made poplar iPod MP3 players that every teenager had to have to be cool. And Beats created a new brand with very aggressive marketing and positioned itself as the brand to go if you want cool headphones.
Thought there are many headphones that probably sound better than Beats for the same price or even less money, people like the fact that headphones have become a fashion accessory that you need to pay attention to.
Nobody knows what the next big thing will be in the headphones market, but there is no sign of market decline, especially since Asian countries are getting more developed, richer and thus able to spend more money on entertainment technology.