blunt essays with sharp points

Who Invented the CD and the CD-ROM?

by Scrvpvlvs
Jul 28, 2000 8:37 PM–James Russell thought of it in 1965 while working for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, operated by Battelle Memorial Institute for the U. S. Department of Energy. His idea, known as Optical Digital Recording (ODR), was to store information digitally on photosensitive film using a laser to record and to play back. In 1974, for his work on ODR, Russell was honored with an R&D 100 Award. By 1980 he had made the first disk player.

For a long time Battelle was unable to interest anyone else in ODR. Eventually Sony and Philips licensed it, established a proprietary ODR format for audio called “Compact Disc” (CD), and delivered a commercial product in 1982, followed in 1985 with a related ODR format for data called CD-ROM. Sony and Philips call these their “inventions”, misleading many into seeing Sony and Philips as visionary. They are often given sole credit for this revolutionary technology. In actuality, their contribution was to bring Russell’s system to market, and only after taking two decades to recognize its value.

As you might expect, Sony and Philips have made millions, and Russell himself got nothing.


Here there be dragons—online histories, claims, and allusions which are the basis for the summary above, found in Google with these searches.

  • "invented the cd-rom"
  • "invented the compact disc"

Russell invented it

Fred Moody: CD-ROM Inventor Strikes Again, (go Wayback)
The CD and CD-ROM technology were invented in the mid-1960s by an American scientist named James Russell.
The Lemelson-MIT Prize Program: James T. Russell
The digital compact disc, now commonplace in stereos and computers, was invented in the late 1960s by James T. Russell.
A List of Inventors and their Famous Inventions - Q To R
James T. Russell invented the compact disc
Compact Discs
It was not until 1980 that the first CD player was made; by Russell’s own company. In 1985 the Philips and Sony Corporations decided to make CD players, although some minor changes were made to the original design to suit mass production.
Cd-rom (in Italian; translation below by AltaVista Translations—a.k.a. BabelFish)
Perhaps all do not know that the inventor of the CD (Compact Disc) were James T. Russell, a musicofilo frustrated from the degradation of loved its long playing, than in 1965 decided to use the light laser in order to record and to read music digitally.
Caskets On Parade - Living “Victims”: “R”
James T. Russell invented the Compact Disc (1965)
PNNL - Research and Development 100 Awards
1974 Optical Digital Recording—James Russell […] The technique now is used by major manufacturers of compact disk technology.
PNNL - News Releases
The development of optical digital recording was pioneered by Battelle researcher James T. Russell in 1965. […] The development of Russell’s ideas was supported by the Battelle Development Corp., and later licensed to the Optical Recording Corp.
PNNL - History
James Russell and Ray Walker, researchers at the Laboratory, believed sound and images could be reproduced digitally if a way were found to store the massive amounts of data. […] Russell reduced the size of the data, using tiny optical images of the digits. He decided a computer could read the information using microscopic lenses and a laser light source. Today, this innovation serves as the critical design element for compact discs and disc players that are manufactured and marketed worldwide.

Sony and Philips co-invented it

Super Audio Compact Disc, (go Wayback)
The companies that invented the compact disc, Philips and Sony Corporation, determined that substantially better sound would require a substantially different technology - not just a straight-line extension of what had come before.
About DVD - Features, (go Wayback)
It is now 14 years since Sony and Philips launched the Compact Disc digital audio format and gave the world its first taste of digital entertainment. > Memory Topics By Techworks, (go Wayback)
Sony and Philips co-invented the Compact Disc format.
When Sony and Philips invented the Compact Disc (CD) in the early 1980s, even they couldn’t ever have imagined what a versatile carrier of information it would become.
What ever happened to DAT recorders?
Sony also invented the compact disc, along with Philips of the Netherlands.
Sony Playstation- Playstation System Reviews
Sony, one of the biggest electronic manafacturers in the world who co-invented the compact disc, is brains behind this system
3DsoundSurge Press Release: Philips and RealNetworks Team Up to Provide Consumers With Internet Digital Music Solutions
Philips’ business group Audio is a leading supplier of portable audio products. The company has invented the music cassette and co-invented the Compact Disc system.
Video Direct Distributors Sells Sony Mini Hi-Fi Component Systems At Nationwide Competitive Prices!
The people who co-invented the Compact Disc still have fond memories of LP records. That’s why Sony still builds Turntables, including the PS-J11, with built-in phono preamplifier.
Sony Y2K Solutions Page, (go Wayback)
In 1980, Sony introduced the first 3.5 inch floppy disk to the world. Sony also co-invented the CD.
Store and Forward, Can DVD+RW Really Challenge DVD-RAM?
Sony and Philips invented the compact disc, and hold many controlling patents for write-once CD-R and rewritable CD-RW.
Yankowski boasts about Sony’s track record in PC-related innovations: It invented the 3.5-inch floppy disk, now the world standard, and co-invented the CD-ROM.
Philips and Sony invented the CD-ROM in 1985.

Sony alone or Philips alone invented it

Sony On-line Asia - Press Room - Regional Product & Marketing News Article, (now
Sony not only revolutionised the way in which people listen to music but made an enormous impact on the music industry on the whole. Sony invented the compact disc which is digitally based, allows random access and direct search capabilities resulting in easier use. More importantly, sound quality is vastly improved which means greater music enjoyment for consumers. [This claim is disputable. —editor]
Frequently Asked Questions, (go Wayback)
Philips invented the compact disc and the loud speaker!
TEMPO: Backstage at TEMPO
As a complement to custom entertainment software, TEMPO can assist its clients in obtaining hardware from the technology leader Philips-Magnavox. Where else would you go for a CD player but to the company that invented the compact disc?
Many companies offering flat panels, (go Wayback)
One of the most visionary and important technology companies in the world (it invented the CD-ROM), Philips is not as well known in Canada for its computer products.

minority views

Mac know, (go Wayback)
Did you know that Apple invented the CD ROM!!
The American Legion Magazine: September 1998, (go Wayback)
Big Blue also invented the CD-ROM drive years before the World Wide Web came along in 1990.

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by Anonymous Roadie
June 15, 2010 3:51 AM–Thanks for the great info, as I had no idea who invented the CD. This will be helpful for my readers.  

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