Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer who revolutionized the way people listen to music by inventing the cassette, died. Ottens died last weekend at the age of 94 in Duizel (the engineer’s hometown), the family announced on Tuesday.
The cassette was developed in the 1960s. Though just a part of the memory of many today, it has changed the way we listen to music, making it portable and more personal – and allowing songs to be recorded and played back (until the tape allows) at any time and anytime for every occasion. It was 1960 when Lou Ottens became head of product development at Phillips, where he and the rest of the team developed the cartridge.
In 1963 the product was presented at the Berlin Radio electronics fair and was a worldwide success. It is estimated that around 100 billion tapes have been sold worldwide since their inception.
Ottens patented the model after closing a deal with Phillips and Sony. Previously, several Japanese companies reproduced similar tapes in different sizes.
The engineer was also involved in the development of the CD. So far, 200 billion copies have been sold worldwide. When Phillips introduced a CD player in 1982, Ottens said, “From now on the traditional turntable is obsolete.”