Today, July 1st marks the anniversary of the what we consider the greatest on the go personal music listening device of all time, the Sony Walkman which made it’s retail debut on this very day in 1979 with the model# TPS-L2. The “Walkman” was a nod to the player’s ancestor, the Pressman and was followed by a series of international releases under several other names – “Soundabout” in the United States, “Freestyle” in Sweden, and “Stowaway” in the UK.Overseas sales companies objected to the name “Walkman” as they felt it was too much of a Japanese-English name, and proposed others. Sony America initially suggested “Disco Jogger”, which was not chosen because it would have limited appeal. Eventually “Walkman” caught on globally and Sony used the name worldwide.
The original idea for a portable stereo is ultimately credited to Brazilian-German inventor Andreas Pavel, who patented the Stereobelt in 1977. Though Sony agreed to pay Pavel royalties, it refused to recognize him as the inventor of the personal stereo until a legal settlement in 2003.