Food & Drink

Dutch engineer Lou Ottens died at 94, decades after unveiling the cassette tape heard around the world.

Tapes were among my favourite activities as a child. I felt so empowered when I learned how to create mix tapes and I recorded many radio shows that way, wrote a Twitter user who said they were based in Germany.
Through this amazing invention music reached everywhere in the world, shared one eulogist in Arabic.
A lifes companion, reads another Twitter tribute from a user who said they were based in Brussels. Every day on my way to school in the mid 70s, all those rehearsal spaces & concerts late 70s, fm bssl [a Brussels radio station] early 80s, work in the 90s & still today in my most dire moments thank you.
Ottens became a god, praised one Twitter user in Mongolian, ending their message with the praying hands emoji.
Well never look at a pencil the same way again. Thanks for everything, Lou, tweeted a London-based radio show, referring to the way pencils were used to re-spool unraveled tapes.
Ottens was head of the product development department at Philips in the 1960s when his team there developed the cassette tape. Rather than relying on a clunky and larger reel-to-reel system, like other recorders of the time, Ottenss compact recorder and corresponding tape versions did not require laborious hand reeling.
The cassette tape was invented out of irritation about the existing tape recorder, its that simple, he later said, according to the Guardian.
The novel product was patented in 1963 and unveiled at the Berlin Radio electronics fair. The cassette quickly took off in Japan, home of Philipss competitor Sony. It soon became a worldwide hit, having tapped into demand for a decentralized way to create and access mass media.
During the cassette tapes heyday before it was dethroned by the CD, which Ottenss team also helped develop the format was a mainstay of every audiophile, from professional musicians to teenagers. By cutting out the need for records and related companies, the format enabled individuals to make, share and listen to their choices of music. Cassettes in some cases also radically influenced politics. In the lead-up to the Iranian revolution, the then-exiled Ayatollah Khomeini built up his following through sermons secretly shared on them.
For some communities, cassettes never went away. In recent years, the compact tapes have made a comeback among some musicians. They make sure they have a pencil handy.