Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer credited with inventing the audio cassette tape, is dead.


The family of the deceased, while confirming his death, said he breathed his last at his hometown of Duizel last weekend.

Ottens’ invention had revolutionised the way people listened to music globally and about 100 billion cassette tapes have been sold since its introduction in the ’60s.

Born in Bellingwolde on June 21, 1926, Ottens had shown an interest in technology and tinkering from an early age.


As a teenager during the World War II, he constructed a radio he would use to secretly listen to Radio Oranje broadcasts. To avoid Nazi jammers, Ottens created the radio with a primitive directional antenna.

After the war, he began attending the Delft University of Technology where he studied mechanical engineering. While in the institution, Ottens worked part time as a drafting technician for an x-ray tech factory.

In 1952, Ottens was hired by Philips, a Dutch multinational conglomerate corporation.


Eight years later, he was promoted to head of the firm’s product development department, where he unveiled the EL 3585, Philips’s first portable tape recorder.

It was two years later that Ottens made his breakthrough after championing the idea that a cassette tape that fitted into one’s pocket was workable.

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