John C. Koss, Inventor of Stereo Headphones, Dies at 91

But the shrinking audio market, falling sales of headphones and manufacturing problems in Taiwan have ruined hopes of success with the Music Box and digital radio. By 1983, the company was losing money and the stock was falling. Late the following year, after Mr. Dodson’s five-year contract ended, Koss filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Mr. Koss, whose net worth is tied entirely to the company, has gone bankrupt.

“I feel terrible,” Mr. Koss told Inc. magazine. 1988. “My board of directors agreed, my family agreed, but I was the one who had to sign the papers. I walked away shocked and angry at myself.”

A year later, Koss emerged from bankruptcy after taking measures such as liquidating Music Box and digital station inventory, and selling the company that makes tape and record care products. It refocuses on headphones and it has not changed its strategy since then.

The company overcame another hurdle when shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission sued it after it emerged that an executive had embezzled more than $30 million. The suits were settled in 2011.

Two years ago, Koss sued several of its competitors, including Apple and Bose, for infringing its wireless headset patent. The cases are still open.

In addition to his son Michael, Mr. Koss is survived by another son, John Jr.; his daughters, Debra Fulton, Linda Moore and Pamela Geimer; 15 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and his brother, G. Peter Koss. His wife, Nancy (Weeks) Koss, passed away in 2018.

Mr. Koss stepped down as chairman in 2015, but Michael Koss said the company used him as a “secret weapon” until 2016 because of his position in the audio industry.

“If I take him to a trade show, people will bring their headphones for him to sign, especially if we are overseas,” he said. “People will line up to see him.” John C. Koss, Inventor of Stereo Headphones, Dies at 91

Fry Electronics Team

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