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Dutch inventor of the cassette tape, Lou Ottens, dies age 94

(CNN)Lou Ottens, the Dutch inventor of the cassette tape, has died at the age of 94, his family has confirmed to CNN.

They said the inventor died at his home in Duizel, the Netherlands, on Saturday. His cause of death was not given.

An estimated 100 billion cassette tapes have been sold worldwide, according to Philips, the company he began working for in 1952. Ottens also supervised the team that developed the compact disc (CD).

Ottens was described by Olga Coolen, the director of the Philips Museum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, as an "extraordinary man who loved technology."

An engineer by trade, five years after joining Philips, Ottens became the head of the company's product development department at its audio plant in Hasselt, Belgium.

In 1960, Ottens and his team developed the first portable tape recorder. At the time, all recorders used the reel-to-reel system, which meant the tape had to be manually wound.

He revolutionized recorders two years later by inventing the compact cassette. Because of the laborious nature of the reel-to-reel process, Ottens wanted to simplify the process, said his family.

Ottens cut a block of wood that would fit into the side of his jacket pocket to find an ideal size for the new carrier. The block became the model after which the first portable cassette recorder was made, said Philips.

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