Who Invented the CD Player?


James T. Russell, a senior scientist at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, invented the technology for the compact disc in 1965. By 1985, Russell had earned 26 patents for various innovations with CD-ROM technology.


  • Russell earned a Bachelor's of Arts in Physics from Reed College and worked as a physicist for General Electric before landing a job at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, Washington.


  • As a music lover, he was frustrated that vinyl records were easily damageable, so he sketched out plans to record music onto a photosensitive platter that would be read by a laser.

Time Frame

  • In the 1970s, he continued to improve the compact disc technology, leading companies like Sony & Philips to purchase licenses for mass production.


  • The CD Player caught on when manufacturers started making portable CD players in 1984.

Fun Fact

  • Russell has a total of 54 patents, including 11 patents for Optical Random Access Memory, better known as ORAM.

Famous Ties

  • The first album released on CD was the Swedish pop sensation ABBA's "The Visitors."

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  • Photo Credit E-ducation.net/inventors
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