Lou Ottens, engineer who invented cassette tape and CD, passed away at 94
In 1963, Ottens presented the first cassette tape at the Berlin Radio Show electronics fair.
March 11, 2021 / 09:57 AM IST
Lou Ottens, inventor of cassette tape. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer who invented the audio cassette tape, breathed his last on March 6 in Duizel, the Netherlands. He was 94 years old.
Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad first reported his death. The cause of death wasn't announced immediately.
Born in Bellingwolde in 1926, Ottens started working at the Philips factory in Belgium in 1952 after obtaining his engineering degree. He was promoted to head the newly established Product Development Department in 1960. Within a year, Ottens, along with his team, developed the world’s first portable tape recorder that sold more than a million copies.
In 1963, Ottens presented the first cassette tape at the Berlin Radio Show electronics fair. Soon after the fair, the Japanese came up with their own version of the cassette. He then struck a deal between Sony and Philips to patent his creation that gained worldwide popularity.
However, Ottens displayed his irritation later about the first Walkman “the ideal application for the cassette” introduced by Sony and not Philips. "It still hurts that we didn't have one."
Ottens also worked in Phillips and Sony’s joint development of the Compact Disk (CD) that came out in 1979. He retired in 1986. Over 100 billion cassettes and 200 billion CDs have been sold worldwide.