Hear we go: the history of wireless headphones

When was the last time a tech purchase made you laugh with delight? For me, it was the first time listening to my favorite songs on a set of Apple AirPods Max headphones, which allowed me to hear things in those songs that I had never heard before. It doesn’t matter to hear what the artist was playing: sometimes I think I can hear what the artist was thinking.

Wireless headphones have come an incredibly long way in a very short time. But their history goes back further than you might think and includes incredible innovations.

1880s: the headphones that would give you a headache

(Image credit: Twitter/History & Odyssey)

Headphones were not originally designed for music. They were designed for telephone operators who needed to physically connect everyone’s phone calls. The first model, unveiled in the 1880s, didn’t look much like today’s headphones either: it was more like a telephone cut in half and strapped to your head. And it weighed around 5 kg, the equivalent of 111 pairs of AirPods.

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