Although James Russell made the world’s first CD, his name did not become famous as the inventor of CD. This credit was usurped by Japan’s Sony Corporation and Netherlands’ Philips Company who purchased compact disc recording technology’s patent from Russell and commenced large scale production of CD in 1979 after incorporating latest electronic developments.
The answer is: Neither of them! World’s first compact disc was made by an American physicist-cum-electronics expert named James Russell way back in 1965. In those days music was recorded on vinyl discs known as gramophone records. Music lover James Russell (see picture) had a collection of vinyl records but whenever he played them a steady low tapping sound which came from the record player was disturbing his connoisseur ears. There was only one way of overcoming this low but persisting tapping sound: The disc should be recorded in such a way that no substance such as stylus would be required to transmit the sound from the record to the reproducing equipment. A disc so recorded would reproduce only pure sounds recorded without ‘hindrance’ of another medium like stylus.
Russell commenced research work in America’s General Electric Company’s laboratory and at the end of it presented an unconventional concept of sound recording which in brief ran like this: First of all convert the sound waves in binary digits i.e. 0s and 1s. Thereafter, transform the data into light (i.e. laser) and finally record all the data on a disc of photosensitive material. To give practical shape to this concept he recorded music on an experimental disc by making pits with laser. Not only that but he also made a player which could ‘read’ that disc and obtained patent rights on digital recording technology.