According to answers.com, subwoofers are defined as loudspeakers, which are designed to reproduce low frequencies. Schoenherr (2001) states that subwoofers evolved from the 3-way loudspeakers, which was invented by Bell Labs in 1933. Then, the loudspeakers were built using the “moving coil” transducer. It consists of a permanent magnet and a coil that moves up and down which create vibrations and this electrical energy is then converted into acoustical energy.
According to Schoenherr (2001), Ernst Siemens was the first to describe the “moving coil” transducer in 1876. However, it was only used as an audio device in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell when he invented the telephone. According to emolabs.com (2010) the history of loudspeakers can be divided into 5 phases. Invention from 1870 – 1910, Development from 1910 – 1940, Golden Era of Hi-Fi from 1940 – 1970, Refinement from 1970 – 2000 and Revolution from 2000 onwards.
The invention of tube amplifiers in 1904 by Sir John Ambrose Fleming, paved the way for further developments of the loudspeakers. The development phase from 1910 to 1940 was a time when most of the technologies behind the loudspeakers were made, and new ideas started to arise from different inventors. In 1928 Herman Fanger invented the coaxial (a high frequency horn mounted directly in front of a large cone loudspeaker) loudspeakers. In 1930, Albert Thuras invented the bass reflex technology, followed by Bell Labs invention of the 1st 2 way loudspeakers in 1931 and the invention of the 3 way loudspeakers 2 years later. (Schoenherr, 2001)
The golden era of hi-fi was a period where loudspeakers manufacturers started to make good sounding and affordable speakers for consumers. Electrostatic speakers were introduced into the market in 1953. In 1954 Edgar M.Villchur invented the acoustic suspension technology for loudspeakers. (Schoenherr, 2001) Not too long after in 1960, Ken Kreisel invented the Subwoofer. (AESpeakers, 1999)