AN IDEA BECAME AN OBSESSION. AND THAT BECAME WHO WE ARE.
The story of Bose
Of course, you could say we’re best known for our audio products. But our true passion? Discovering new and better solutions than anything that’s come before. We “always dream of things that are better, and think of ways to reach those things”. From the first noise cancelling headphones for consumers to a revolutionary seat suspension system for long haul drivers, we invite you to experience the first 50 years of innovation of Bose.
Watch The Gift movie, directed by Academy Award® Winner, Morgan Neville (2014 Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom).
The story of Bose begins with the story of a boy fascinated by electronics—taking things apart, figuring out how they worked and dreaming of one day inventing his own.
Radio repair service
Teenaged Amar Bose built a successful radio repair service out of his family’s home. “We put up signs in all the little hardware stores where my father used to sell his imported goods”, Dr Bose once told an interviewer. “The signs said, ‘We repair radios’. So people would drop off their radios at the store and I’d take them home and repair them, and we’d give the store 10% of the invoice. I had a little pact with my father that if my grades remained good, I could go to school only four days a week, and he would write an excuse saying I had a headache or something. The teachers all knew this; it was always on a Friday and so on Monday, they’d ask me, ‘How many radios did you fix, Bose?’”
While at MIT, Dr Bose amassed a number of patents, but instead of licensing them to another company, he decided to keep them and start a company of his own.
The early years
As the company was being formed, there was much discussion about what to call it. Finally, in his typical “2+2” fashion, Y. W. Lee, one of Dr Bose’s mentors from MIT, said, “Well, let’s think about the characteristics we want in the name. We don’t want to be tied to a specific technology or industry because we don’t know what we’ll do in the future. The name should be pronounceable in many different languages and easy to trademark. And ideally, it’s one syllable”. Everyone laughed because they knew what he was suggesting without saying it: “Bose”.
The first Bose employee was one of Dr Bose’s students, Sherwin Greenblatt. He would go on to become president of the company from 1985 to 2001. “In the early years”, Greenblatt said, “Dr Bose would spend time at MIT with his teaching duties and we would work on our government contracts, and then at night he would come out and we would put in what we called the ‘second shift’—when we would start working on all of the audio ideas”.
Psychoacoustics is the study of how sound is perceived. It’s at the very foundation of how Bose creates its audio products and, in fact, goes all the way back to the inception of the company. Dr Bose saw that other speakers had specs that only measured how they made his music sound, not how he heard it.
In a lecture at MIT, Dr Bose once gave the following example: “You can put engineers in a room and give them the task of lowering distortion, and they will do this merrily for years. But there’s a basic question: does this mean anything with respect to perception? The distortion—though you can read it on meters—maybe isn’t audible. Well, if it isn’t audible, what are you doing that’s worthwhile here except achieving some particular engineering goal?”
The 2201 speaker was the first Direct/Reflecting speaker we produced, and it paved the way for the legendary 901 speaker system.