Cassette creater dead at 94


By: Lucas McCron, placement student (Korah Collegiate) aka “The Intern”

Lou Ottens, inventor of the Cassette tape and a major influencer in the invention of the Compact Disc, recently passed at age 94.

As product development manager for Phillips, Ottens created the Compact Cassette in 1962, making music not only portable but also affordable for the general public. In 1979, he became a major influencer in the invention of the compact disc, revolutionizing the world of media storage once again. Contrary to popular belief, the Cassette was not invented to store music, but rather Dictation, and its original tagline for marketing was “Smaller than a packet of Cigarettes”.

When talking  about his inventions, Lou often remained humble.

“We were little boys who had fun playing, we didn’t think we were doing anything important; it was like a sport,” said Ottens.

When asked about the purpose of the research and development of the Cassette tape, Otten stated:

“The cassette was invented out of frustrating with the existing tape recorder.”

Before the invention of the cassette tape and its associating recorder, audio usually had to be recorded onto large spools of tape that had to be hand reeled before recording or playing.

Otten aimed to take this by storm by going into designing the Compact Cassette with the idea that however he was going to go about making the large, clumsy spools of tape portable, it should fit into the pocket of his jacket.

The thing that would skyrocket the Cassette tape into popularity, however, would be Sony’s invention of the Walkman. The TPS-L2 was the first in what would become a long line of portable Compact Cassette Players, instead of listening to the Radio or waiting for your stereo at home, you could now carry your music anywhere you wanted in your pocket. The possibilities were endless!

Lou Ottens was as humble as he could until his recent passing and gave many interviews about his contributions to the music world. More than 100 billion Compact Cassettes and more than 200 billion Compact Discs have been created and sold and the invention of these two musical marvels has revolutionized the world.

Lucas is our intern from Korah Collegiate. Filled with tidbits of information, he is working in our marketing department.