Did you know that headphones date back to 1919? According to this infographic from Denon (below), those old battery-powered radio headphones eventually gave way to cardboard versions in 1958, when full-spectrum sound gave the audiofile crowd a richer set of highs and lows to enjoy.

But what really juiced up the headphone market was a separate gadget — the Walkman (1979). As portable music became the rage, it seemed everyone was on the go with a compact set of cans. Fast forward to 1990, and in-ear buds and wireless options entered the fray, leading to today’s widespread selection of portable listening gear that can fill practically any audio need — whether making calls, hitting the road (or jogger’s path), tuning in or tuning out.

So the next time you dig out those earbuds or unfold your noise-canceling headset and pop them into your device of choice, take a second to marvel at them. While the package may be small, nearly 100 years of technology went into that compact wonder, just to make sure you could listen to whatever you want, wherever you want.

[via ChipChick]