Theoretical Massless Speakers
Yes a brain with some plasma
 Below is a table listing designs of massless loudspeakers that never made it beyond prototype, demonstrator or curiosity. Some of these may not have good coverage on the internet as their time was long before it. Again, some details are scarce and if anyone wants to put me right or add to this then please let me know. Every hobby plasma tweeter or singing tesla coil on the web will not be listed here, just notable designs. Following that is a table of the earliest designs that are worth a mention even if they are either not quite totally massless or not loudspeakers. Sort the table by clicking the column headings.
Designer Company Design Name Other People Type Year Notes
Dr. D.M.Tombs (worked for Hoover!) Corona Wind Loudspeaker Gerald Shirley CZ 1955 Prototypes only, Gerald Shirley tried to market it.
Fransson F. KTH Computer Science STL Ionophone B 1965 Used for acoustic measurement
Dr. A. G. Cattaneo United Technology Center, UTC Flame Loudspeaker, Talking Flame Wayne Babcock,K. L. Baker Flame 1968 Electrodes in a welding torch flame modulating it
Albert Von Schweikert Cal Tech (uni) A plasma driver Dr. Richard Heyser B 1970 s Developed for a US company?
John Gordon Iverson Electro Research then Electron Kinetics Force-field Speaker CXY 1973 Based on Tombs' corona wind
Ostroumov, G A Ionophone C 1979 Russian prof, ring arrangement
Gregor Antes Laborantes Ionophone Guido Melliger B 1980 s? Plasma headphones
Nelson Pass Threshold Audio Inc. Ion Cloud Panel CZ 1980 s Prototype corona wind wire based panel
IML IML Digiplasma BX 1981 PWM Prototype
Alain Deraedt Push pull corona prototype Pascal Freulon C 1987 Patent FR2588710, Science&Vie High Tech Article
Jean-Claude Fourriere AHL (Acieries du Haut Languedoc) Tolteque Ran the Plasmasonic Company, Audio reference B 1990 Demoed at trade shows. Tolteques sold were ESL
Credo Credo Audio AG SDP 001 Vinzenz von Tscharner BX 1996 Demoed at Ramada by Townshend Audio, a late Ionophone clone
Igor A. Krichtafovitch, et.al Kronos Air Technologies EFA Loudspeaker CZ 2008 A classic corona wind design detailed, Company now closed
Iskender Dzhanagayev Waveion Waveion Vitali CYX 2014 Sought funding, demoed at CES etc.
Paul Gilligan Sonarc Innovations Sonarc Sorcha O'Brien BZ 2016 Multiple small plasmas to create a full range plasma speaker
Jianxing Cai Cloudsound Ionomax (Lonomax) BZ 2017 Kickstarter (not funded), exists only as CGI renders of desktop stereo plasma
Driver type Key:

A Arc discharge
B Glow discharge / Plasma
C Corona wind (ion cloud)


X Tweeter
Y Mid-range
Z Full range

A few more early notable designs that were either not quite massless or not quite a loudspeaker.  They still created sound using ultra low or massless means.

Designer Name Other People Type Year Notes
Dr Byron Higgins Singing Flame Hydrogen flame 1777 Resonant flame in a metal pipe
Karl Sondhauss Sondhauss Tube Flame 1850 Sealed end glass tube
John LeConte Flame 1858 Observed gas lights response to music
Pieter Rijke Rijke Tube Flame 1859 Open ended glass tube
John Tyndall Singing Flame Faraday, Wheatstone Flame 1867 Royal Institution demonstrations
Frederic Eugene Kastner Pyrophone Flame 1869-85 Also known as burning harmonica or chemical harmonica
Thomas Edison Aerophone Air 1878 Here for ref, not 100% massless but an early compressed air attempt
Short & Parsons, Victor Auxetophone Horace Short, Charles Parsons Air 1898 Nearly massless compressed air amplifier
Hermann Theodor Simon Singing electric arc University of Gottingen Arc 1898 Similar work at the same time as Duddell on Arcs
William Du Bois Duddell Singing Arc Arc 1899 Oscillator based on carbon arc lamps
Valdemar Poulsen Poulsen Arc Also spelt Poulson Arc 1903 A radio transmitter based on Duddell's work
Thaddeus Cahill Telharmonium Arc 1906 Added arcs based on Duddell's work
Max Kohl Singing Arc Arc 1911 A demo of Duddell's design
 
 
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