Today, headphones, (and their slimmer cousins, ear buds), are so comm0n that most of us probably take them for granted. I use mine upwards of 10 hours a day. That’s so much usage that my headphones are basically another part of my body.
But there was a time when headphones were a novelty, and thanks to the intrepid folks over at Flashbak, who first compiled this gallery, we can look at how they used to be advertised.
Headphones have existed in one form or another since 1910, but for the first 40+ years of their existence, their use was limited mostly to military personnel and telephone operators. Then, in 1954, Texas Instruments, along with Industrial Development Engineering Associates (I.D.E.A.), introduced the Regency TR-1, the world’s first commercial headphone. Headphones became must-have accessories, but at the same time, they were boxy, enormous, and heavy as hell–definitely not something you could wear while jogging.
So let’s take a look at some old school headphone ads from the 60’s and 70’s, and be grateful you’re living in the year 2018.
1. Koss Stereophones #1
You might think those two are both sitting on a white shag carpet, but actually it’s a giant pile of cocaine. It was the 70’s, after all.
2. Hear Muffs #1
I didn’t know companies in the 70’s were allowed to openly market to swingers.
3. Headphone Radios
As you can see, these babies do not come with batteris. That’s because, if they did, they’d be so heavy you would get a neck injury.
4. The AM Wrist Radio
Oh boy! It’s portable AM radio for kids! Now kids can listen to lonely men shout conspiracy theories about lizard people who control the Federal Reserve on the go!
5. Pickering Lightweight Headphones
This ad has something for everyone. For the highbrow, a reference to Greek mythology. For everyone else, boobs. Everybody wins.
6. Koss Stereophones #2
“My daughter and I like to ‘Get it on.’ Boy, I really hope the meaning of that phrase doesn’t change in the following decades!”
7. Koss Quadphones
Those people on his forehead could be a pictorial representation of the opera music he’s listening to. It could also be a forehead tattoo for the lamest prison gang ever. Jury is still out.
8. The Magnaphone
What’s worse than getting a pair of headphones that weighs 50 lbs? Getting a pair of headphones that doesn’t even play music. The “Magnaphone” was like a portable pair of megaphones you could wear to concerts to amplify the sounds. Because if there’s one complaint we all have about concerts, it’s that the music is too quiet.
Also, I’m pretty sure Magnaphones were actually just bras in disguise.
No way that’s not a bra.
9. Hear Muffs #2
Sorry, ma’am. Didn’t realize someone was in this room. Next time I’ll knock.
10. The Bone Fone
Just make sure you wipe it down after each use.