Acoustics Is the Study of Sound
Until the 19th century, acoustics primarily consisted of the physics of sound propagation related to human hearing. During the early 1800’s, electromagnetics was discovered and one of the first non-musical instrument sound generators, the telegraph, was developed. The invention of the telephone in 1876 resulted in the creation of microphones and loudspeakers, followed by the phonograph at the end of the 19th century. Radio was developed during the early 1900’s.
During the early part of the 20th century, a small group of researchers began applying engineering principles, such as equivalent circuits, to the science of acoustics in order to improve the design and construction of microphones and loudspeakers. This was the birth of the applied science of electroacoustics. The work was carried out in several universities and in the research laboratories of companies such as Bell Laboratories and Victor Talking Machine (which in 1929 became RCA Victor).
To better communicate and share their discoveries, they formed the Acoustical Society of America in 1929, and the first text book on electroacoustics, Applied Acoustics, was authored by Frank Massa and Harry Olson in 1934. Many of the fundamental principles developed by these pioneers is still used today in the design of electroacoustic transducers and systems.
For more information on some of these early developments in electroacoustics, see the following publications: