He took the honor Friday after the death of Dutch engineer Le Utens, who invented the audio tape at the age of 94 and helped make the CD.
Cassette tapes, created by Ottens in collaboration with electric giant Philips, made music truly portable for the first time and allowed a generation of audio enthusiasts to create mixes of their favorite songs.
More than 100 billion versatile tapes were produced, but very easy to decode, around the world in its heyday from the 1960s to the 1980s, and it has even seen a boom lately.
“We are all saddened by the news of the death of Le Utens,” Olga Colin, director of the Philips Museum in Eindhoven, said in a statement issued by Agence France-Presse.
“Luo was an extraordinary man who loved technology, even though his inventions had humble beginnings.”
Phillips said he died on March 6 in the village of Duisel near the Belgian border.
Born in 1926 in the Dutch city of Bellingold, Utens showed an interest in technology at an early age during the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany in World War II.
The Dutch newspaper “NRC” reported that he built a radio station to receive the “free Dutch” radio “Oranje” with a special antenna called “Germanin filter” because it could avoid Nazi interference.
Ottens joined Philips after studying engineering at university, where he and his team developed the world’s first portable tape recorder, according to Philips.
Discouraged by the bulky pulley system that had to be manually wound, however, the cassette was invented in 1962.
“The cassette tape was invented out of the annoyance of the current recording device, it’s that simple,” NRC quotes Autence in an interview.
– ‘Wood block’ –
Coleen said technology that enabled portable cassette players and filled millions of teenagers’ rooms with music started in the most humble way.
“During the development of the cassette tape, in the early 1960s, (Owanez) made a template that would fit perfectly into his jacket pocket.”
“This was the size of the first compressed tape, which made it much more accessible than the huge tape recorders in use at the time.”
Unfortunately, Colin added, the historic prototype of the block was lost “when Luo used it to support the lever while changing the flat tire.”
He then led the CD development team, which was then produced by Philips and the Japanese electronics giant Sony.
Philips said more than 200 billion CDs have been produced since then.
After they’re in the trash of music history, recently tapes are back.
Sales of cassette albums in the United States grew 23 percent in 2018, according to the Nielsen Music Tracker, from 178,000 copies the previous year to 219,000 copies.
Despite being the unsung hero of the music world, Utens’ career has not been without frustration.
Not only did Sony release its first CD before Philips, but it also produced the iconic Walkman that changed the way people listen to music – years later he said it “still hurts not having one”.
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