The First Sony Walkman Had Gender-Identified Headphone Jacks

On July 1, 1979, Sony first began to sell the TPS-12, first known as the Soundabout, but quickly renamed Walkman. Portable cassette recorders had mostly been used by reporters, but this one was specifically intended for music, and it changed the world. The first edition Walkman weighed about a pound and cost $200 ($824 today). What was unique about it was that it featured two headphone jacks — one labeled “guys” and the other labeled “gals” — so two people could listen at the same time. Needless to say, that wouldn’t fly today. Soon enough, more and more portable cassette players hit the market, and the price dropped. Still, no matter which company made them, the word “Walkman” was used to describe the portable cassette players.