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Reports: Cassette tape and CD inventor Lou Ottens dies at 94

More than 100 billion cassette tapes and 200 billion CDs have been sold thanks in large part to the Dutch inventor.
Credit: fotofabrika - stock.adobe.com

Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer credited with initiating development of both the cassette tape and the compact disc, has died according to reports. He was 94. Dutch website NRC first reported Ottens' passing, which happened last Saturday.

Ottens, born in 1926, reportedly was interested in audio equipment at a young age. During the German occupation in World War II, he reportedly built his own radio so his parents could receive Radio Oranje, a news program from the BBC. NRC reports Ottens added a directional antenna to avoid having the signal jammed by the Nazis.

His knowledge landed him a job at Phillips where he worked his way up to leading the department that would invent new technologies.

The cassette tape was seen as a compact version of the old reel-to-reel tape. Ottens wanted to be sure it could fit in someone's pocket. It made its debut at an electronics fair in 1963, NRC reports. 

He began development of the CD in 1972 and the standard version was finalized in 1980 through Phillips and Sony, NRC reports.

More than 100 billion cassette tapes and 200 billion CDs reportedly have been sold. When asked about his accomplishments, Ottens reportedly insisted that it was all a team effort. "I have no pride meter," he told NRC back in 1986.

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