History of Bluetooth Speakers (With A Timeline)

Norvan Martin
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Speakers have evolved a lot ever since Ernst Siemens patented the first loudspeaker in 1877. The history of speakers is long and interesting.

The speaker that everyone knows today was first manufactured in the 1920s. It utilizes a magnetic field to move a magnet or coil that is connected to a part called a diaphragm.

Throughout the years, the evolution of speakers resulted in the modern models that are found on the market today including Bluetooth speakers under 100 dollars.

Speakers have a rich history behind them. The dynamic speaker was first designed back in 1874 by Ernst Siemens. He described the invention to obtain mechanical movement of the electrical coil from the source electric currents that flowed via it. The idea of his creation was to move a telegraph arm. 

Later, Thomas Edison was instrumental in the invention of the loudspeaker. The loudspeaker is comprised of a flexible diaphragm (cone) connected to the acoustic horn’s throat. The design of cones earlier after the invention used materials such as paper, leather, and thin metal sheets. However, paper is still used today since it’s readily available and affordable. 

So that’s a brief history of Bluetooth speakers. Check out our guide about how Bluetooth speakers are made and what they are made of.

The 1800s

Ernst Siemens was one of the first individuals who filed a patent for a speaker. Little did he know that his contraption would evolve into the Bluetooth speakers of today.

1800s telephone speakers

Thomas Edison, the famous American inventor, also developed a stylus and diaphragm device that was used in the first talking pictures but not with great success.

The machine was known as the Wee Small Voice.

The early 1900s

Cinema owners in France placed speakers made by engineer Leon Gaumont at the back of the screen. They carried the speakers as required by action on the screen.

1900s speaker

By the year 1919, Gaumont developed the Eglephone speaker that could amplify sound to around four thousand people.

During President Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 address, a Magnavox moving coil speaker was used, with Wilson speaking into two large horns overhead.

1920s to 1950s

The development of audio speakers was in full blast between the two World Wars. Researchers from Bell Laboratories and General Electric were developing electrostatic and direct radiator speakers.

Vintage 1920s Jensen 10 Field Coil Speaker

It was in the mid-1930s when stereo sound was developed. Then in 1940, Walt Disney launched Fantasound, which was a sound system that utilized three audio channels, as well as 54 speakers.

For home users, bookshelf speakers were launched, and the gramophones were replaced by woofers and tweeters.

1960s to Present

It was in the 1960s when consumer electronics became mobile. It was during this period when turntables became portable and had built-in speakers.

1960s speakers

Pocket radios were also released during this era. In 1965, Philips launched a compact cassette tape that utilized a low-fidelity monophonic speaker.

During the 1970s, Dolby developed a noise reduction technology that became the world standard in noise reproduction.

And new at present technologies such as Bluetooth speakers and NFC speakers. They have become smaller and more portable, and yet they provide high-definition sound.

Bluetooth Evolution

Bluetooth, developed over 20 years ago by Ericsson, was a significant leap in wireless technology. It allowed various devices like smartphones, speakers, and laptops to connect wirelessly. Bluetooth’s creation was motivated by the need for a universal wireless protocol that could operate across various devices and industries.

How does Bluetooth work

Named after King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark, who united disparate Danish tribes, Bluetooth technology aimed to unify different communication protocols.

Bluetooth’s journey from its first version to the latest has seen substantial improvements in speed, range, and energy efficiency. Each version of Bluetooth, from 1.0 to 5.0 and beyond, brought enhancements that made Bluetooth speakers more versatile, reliable, and user-friendly.

Bluetooth Today

There are so many ways to connect devices that it may seem like it is all the same but with different names.

However, the technology behind all wireless connection methods is different. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, and infrared are amongst the most common wireless technologies. Bluetooth technology has had a long history.

Bluetooth, originally created by Ericsson more than 20 years ago, allows a number of devices to connect to each other wirelessly.

It is a high-speed wireless technology used to connect devices such as smartphones, speakers, headsets, laptops, etc.

There are millions of products with incorporated Bluetooth technology available for sale on the market nowadays and it is one of the most commonly-used wireless connection technologies out there. In fact, today, we even have Bluetooth speakers in the shape of bulldogs, yes, check out our article on the best bulldog speakers or the best egg shaped speakers

But how does Bluetooth work? Over short distances, up to eight Bluetooth devices can pair via this technology, which enables them to exchange data.

Bluetooth operates by pairing up to eight devices within a short range, using microchips with antennas for signal transmission. Unlike infrared technology, Bluetooth doesn’t need a direct line of sight. Every device uses a microchip with an antenna to send and receive signals, and software to process the communication between the hardware.

The antenna sends short-range waves that, unlike infrared wireless technology, do not require an unobstructed space between the receiving and transmitting devices.  One device called a master can exchange information with up to seven others, called slaves, in a network called a picoNET.

A Bluetooth device can be a member of multiple piconets, and separate piconets can be linked together to form a scatternet. Every device also has a hold mode, which lowers its activity and saves more battery power than in normal mode.

 


FAQs

What Are Analog Speakers?

Analog speakers are older speakers that do not use any form of digitalization. This means that the audio signal played by the speakers is simply time-varying waves i.e the signals are not modified and are played as they are by the speaker.

A good example of the difference between digital and analog is those old analog phone lines that used simple voice circuits.

Click on the images below to check out our list of the best vintage speakers available today:

vintage speakers bookshelf vintage speakers for vinyl record players

If you are a vintage junkie and are interested in analog speakers, check out these analog speakers on Amazon:


Conclusion

The evolution of Bluetooth speakers is a testament to technological advancement and changing consumer needs. As you can see, speakers have largely evolved through time. From the large and clunky units, consumers can now buy Bluetooth speakers that can fit in their pockets. From the early 1900s, when sound technology was a novelty, to the present, where wireless convenience is a necessity, Bluetooth speakers have become an integral part of our auditory experience. Their ongoing development reflects our continuous pursuit of convenience, quality, and connectivity in the realm of sound technology.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin
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