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Alexandra Bruce
May 19, 2014

This is hilarious, watching young kids trying to figure out what a Walkman *is*, let alone how it works; what they think of it and how it competes against the technology of today.

I remember very well when the Japanese craze, the Sony Walkman, hit the international market, in 1980. I was then living in Sao Paulo, Brazil and it was an absolutely revolutionary moment. I remember seeing my mother talking walks in the countryside, listening to Gustav Mahler concertos and watching her ecstatic facial expressions, as she experienced having her favorite music playing right in her head, in any setting whatsoever.

What I did not know until researching the subject, just now was that the design and patents for a portable cassette tape player were invented by the German-Brazilian, Andreas Pavel in 1972, who filed a patent for what he called “Stereobelt” in Italy in 1977, followed by patent applications in the US, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan by the end of 1978. (His patent applications in the US and the UK were rejected).

In 1979, Sony began selling the popular Walkman in Japan, without giving any credit to its inventor. It took 22 years of legal action on the part of Pavel to arrive at a settlement with Sony, in 2001. While secret, the cash settlement for damages is estimated to have been in excess of $10,000,000 and he is now also receiving royalties on some Walkman sales, as well as the official recognition from Sony that Pavel was the original inventor of the personal stereo.


The wonderful ‘Kids React’ series, like this episode was Created and Directed by Benny & Rafi Fine (The Fine Brothers).

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