Who Invented the Loud Speaker?

What did we even do to listen to music, dictation, and recorded sound before the loud speaker was invented? You might picture someone straining to hear the noise, with a hand to their ear and their face contorted in confusion. Thanks to Chester W. Rice and Edward Washburn Kellogg, we don’t have to try and decipher recordings any longer.

Rice was born in 1888 and his father was the second president of General Electric [http://www.edisontechcenter.org/CWrice.html], so he had lots of exposure early on to developing technology. He ended up working as a consultant for GE, and after experimenting with acoustics at his soundless lake house in the Adirondacks, he connected with Kellogg to begin work on the world’s first loud speaker.

Even though the original patent for loudspeakers was registered in 1877 by Ernst Siemens, it wasn’t until Rice and Kellogg completed their working model in 1924 that we first had amplified sound that acted as a foundation for all loudspeakers.

In 1925 Rice and Kellogg published a joint paper established their basic principles as applied to direct-radiator loudspeakers with a small coil-driven mass-controlled diaphragm in a baffle with a broad midfrequency range of uniform response


Thanks to their timeless task of perfecting a way for recordings to be more audible, technology has been able to further develop to the point where we have powerful speakers in virtually all electronic devices. Without their tireless efforts, the mass media process would certainly be a vastly different landscape.