Plantronics has an amazing history. “Pacific Plantronics” was incorporated in 1961 as a result of two airline pilots, Courtney Graham and Keith Larkin, seeing the need for heavy, cumbersome headphones to be replaced by something lighter and more practical. In 1962, Pacific Plantronics designed and produced the MS-50, the world’s first lightweight headset for use in aviation. Then, in 1964, the FAA approved the Plantronics MS50 headset for use by all US air traffic controllers.
Soon, Plantronics branched out into space as well, becoming the headset used by NASA on their Apollo missions. In 1969, Neil Armstrong’s famous words “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” were transmitted back to earth through a Pacific Plantronics headset. The first space shuttle in 1980 used their headsets, as well.
In 1986, Plantronics Ltd. was established in the United Kingdom and has continued to grow worldwide. Innovations in the 1990’s have included mobile headsets, hands-free and wireless adaptations and improved amplifier and speaker technology.
In 1999, Plantronics started their Computer Audio Systems Division which designs and develops new products for computer applications. They also began their Call Center and Office Division to develop communications systems for the growing business market. In the year 2000, they introduced digitally enhanced USB headsets for both PC and Mac use. By 2002, Plantronics had numerous styles and choices of PC microphones and headsets to choose from. They also became innovators in mobile and Bluetooth headset development. They have even designed headsets for PC audio and console gaming, including a special headset for Halo 2 on Xbox.
Today, Plantronics has a wide range of communications solutions for business, home and personal use, as well as continuing to be the leader in aeronautics and space communications. One more interesting fact: Plantronics names their Bluetooth products after NASA spacecraft, i.e. Discovery, Voyager and Explorer.
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