"Earbuds" (???)


Beta member
New England
My question regarding "earbuds" is twofold. Firstly, what is the origin of the term "earbuds"? What company first referred to it's earphone product thusly, or is it rather a socially (as opposed to "comercially") derived term? I have, in an attempt to answer this, read many articles online about the history of headphones/earphones, to no avail. Every article has used the term "earbud(s)", but none have identified the origin of this term. Apple, for instance, was the originator of the term "(ear) pods" in referring to earphones. When was the term "earbuds" first used to refer to "earphones", and by whom? I surmise that if a given company originated the term "earbuds", that it would have been patented, as is (I assume) "(ear-, i-, and air-) pods", and so would have been prevented from garnering such universal usage (?)

Secondly, what, do you suppose, is the semantic rationale of what appears to be a marketing term? Obviously, "earbuds" is equivalent to "ear buds" < "ear bud". Of this, "ear" is self explanatory, but "bud" is a bit more obscure in it's reference. I would be inclined to say of the wireless type of these products, that it has been called an (ear) "bud" because the little knob of the product resembles the "bud" of certain species of flora. However, since the first "earbuds" were wired products, the wire running from the earphone kind of disturbs this metaphor. So, why do you conjecture they were first called (ear) "buds", in particular?
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