A Brief History of Car audio
By Marie ColesThe car audio system has been influenced by so much in the last hundred years. As technology has altered, changed and reformed itself, the car audio system has transformed with it.
The first influence upon the car audio system was the radio. Invented in the early 1900’s (around the same time cars became popular) it however didn’t gain commercial status until the 1920’s when the first commercial boomed occurred. In 1922, a historic date for the car audio system, George Frost was the first person known to experiment with car radio with his own Ford car. Then in 1925, the first official listing of a car radio occurred, which was followed in 1927 with the first mass produced car radio, the Transitone TH-1.
In 1930, two famous American manufacturer brothers, Paul and Joseph Galvin manufactured the 5T71, which was to be under the brand name of ‘Motorola’. Across the globe, Germany’s Blaupunkt fitted their first commercial car radio in 1932 and Crossley’s of the UK started fitting them from 1933 onwards.
Up until till the 1950’s AM was the common car radio. In 1952, it was Blaupunkt that introduced the first FM car radio. Fm listening was not fully popular oravailable till at least a decade later. The 1950’s was a time of great change for the car audio system, as the seek button was introduced – a button which is stillavailable on car audio systems today.
The 1960’s saw tape players arrive on the car audio scene. Reel to reel tapeplayers were the first arrival, however, their bulkiness made sure that they were not to become popular. In 1964, Phillips invented the compact cassette and Lear invented the 8 track cartridge in competition with this. The 8 track tape made its way into the Fords’ 1965 cars, but it would not be until 1970 that the compact cassette nudged its way into the car.
The 1970’s and 80’s saw FM radio stations become exceedingly popular, however, AM radio responded by offering more talks shows and sport channels for its listeners. Car radio had finally expanded, giving its listeners more freedom of choice. In 1982 – a momentous moment occurred – the Compact disc or CD was invented Sony and Phillips, which was to be added in car audio systems in 1984 for the first time. Subsequently to this, CD changers appeared in car audio systems.
The years after this, saw CD’s replace the cassette, the DVD and Mp3 being introduced to the car audio market. In the last few years, we have also utilized Bluetooth technology to connect our mobile phones (smart phones) to our car audio system, making it not only useful for entertainment but for practical reasons too.