Steampunked Vintage Headphones




About: I love to invent and create new things in a "steampunk styled way" working with brass, copper, vulcanized-fibre, brass gears and (ply)- wood. On one side I am fascinated in neon lights and small electronic ...

Hi everybody

Here I am again after the summer holidays with a very cheap and easy project to create some very stylish steampunked vintage headphones.

 Some days ago I saw a very special offer of some old vintage headphones at "ebay". The costs of only 5 Euros are really low for such original vintage headphones of the fifties and sixties. But that has not been the main reason to get them.

In the offer you can read that their inner-resistance is about 5-Ohm. The inner-resistance of today used modern head- an earphones is about 36-Ohm (thanks to you Horatius Steam for this information;-)).

So the idea was born to listen to the music of an mp3-player with the magnetic metal membrane technology of old times and its typical tinny sound.

Only four steps are neccessary for this project:

First-step: We lift the inner-resistance from five to thirty six Ohm.

Second-step: We change from Mono to Stereo by replacing the old cord to a new one.

Third-step: We create the new steampunk cover made of brass.

Fourth-step: Connect all parts together.


 At the end you can listen to this really freaky metal vintage sound of your steampunk music.


Stay tuned and have fun with it. I am sure you will enjoy it  ;-))

Yours Aeon Junophor




Step 1: First Step: Lift Up the Inner Resistance of the Vintage Headphone

We start the electrical part with opening the headphone itself by unscrewing the front plate. Please be very careful with the metal membrane and the small insulting distance ring.  Then unscrew the magnetic part put it out and uncut carefully the old cord. Then take the chosen resistor of about 31 Ohm and solder it with one pin to one end of the copper spool wire . It doesn´t matter which wire end you choose.

Take care that every electrical part will be insulated again  when you replace it to avoid short cuts and it is very important that the new soldered resistor does not touch the metal membrane otherwise it does not work.

Step 2: Second Step: Changing the Cord

The original headphone cord ist prepared to work in mono. But for using the new headphones with an mp3 player you need a stereo cord. I took an audio adaptor cord from cinch to 3.5 mm stereojack. First you have to cut of the cinch plugs an pull out carefully the two inner wires. You will see that the wires got he same color as the plugs and you will find a small shining copper wire too. Please note that the red covered wire provides the right side of your headphones and other wire will provide the left side. This wire will be either white or black colored.
After this you pull the new cord to all holes of the new brass covering and the vintage headphone shell. Then tie a knot as you can see at the old cord. Then you solder the insulated wire to one free part of the resistor and the copper wire (drilled together) directly to the other contact of the spool. And that is it. Then you replace the spool again in its shell and fix it with the small screw, put the distance ring on it place the membrane and screw the front plate.




Step 3: Third-step: Creating the New Cover Made of Brass

The new stampunked cover consists of only two parts as you can see at the pictures. First you take an old Edison screw socket E 27  "concentra type" made of brass. Second you take this brass screw ring for fixing a lamp shade. Polish and
screw them together. Cover all brass parts with tape. Then fix the to metal parts by filling epoxy resin into the small open ring. Take care of fresh air when working with epoxy resin  and use rubber gloves to protect your health!!!
After the hardening time discover the new brass covering parts and enamel them with  Zapon Laquer (best outside!)
Next you drill two new holes for the headphone holder fork with 2 mm in diameter and mark the left and right part .

Step 4: Fourth-step: Connect All Parts Together

Now nearly everything is done except connecting all parts together. Start with the black headphone shells and the new brass covers. You put them together with polyurethane adhesive. First you have to cover all parts which are not needed to get in contact with the adhesive with tape to protect them.Please wear rubber gloves while working with PU. Then fix the parts carefully with pulling the new wires out and wait again some time (about an hour) before you discover the tape. Then clip the two new stampunked vintage headphone shells into their forkholders and your work is done!!!!

When you listen to your music with these steampunked vintage headphones it surely will remind you to the times of Thomas A. Edison because of their tinny oldtime sound, but this is what a real steampunk adores....;-))) Really great!!

Step 5: More Varieties

At last I would like to show you some more ideas of creating your own steampunked headphones.
So you can use an new pair of earphones or another pair of cheap headphones as you can see at the following pictures to put them into the new brass shells. To cover them you can use my most beloved fiber  material or some piece of plywood or whatever you like. I took a stylish brass knob from clothing and put it in the middle as you can see.
So let your ideas rise up and thanks for following;-))))

Yours Aeon Junophor



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    8 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi luxorio

    Thanks for your comment. The sound is very old fashioned and believe me the work can be easily done;-))

    It is very nice to meeet you here;-))))

    Yours Aeon Junophor


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Aeon,

    thank you for your bright welcome! ;)
    I will keep my eyes on your work.



    6 years ago on Introduction

    Some day we are going to ween you off those bulb sockets, but who can fault you for some reason they always seem to work.

    Certainly they would be a stylish addition to any convict heading to the electric chair.

    Sure is weird I just found some antique airplane head phones they look alot alike, I don't know though, they look like they would attract lightning.

    I like them, but from some reason they evoke an image of the old robots of the 50's and 60's...
    I think it's those screw bases sticking out at ear level. makes me think of the old robot "ears".


    6 years ago on Step 5

    Very nice construction! Looks really old! What we learn from this:
    Capital isn't that important in business. Experience isn't that important. You can get both of these things. What is important is ideas. (Harvey Firestone)


    by the way: is there any light bulp remaining in your house? ;-)

    Winged Fist

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Well done my friend! And I see great minds think alike;-)

    I refurbished a pair of 1920s headphones in a similar fashion recently, and haven't gotten around to posting an instructable yet. (Mine are very similar to the style posted by Brass Eyes and I also got them on ebay very cheap).

    I too changed the wire to make them stereo, but it never occurred to me to change the resistor. My plan is to build a mini pocket amp for my almost 90 year old headphones... As soon as I finish steampunking my VW Beetle;-)
    5 stars!

    1 reply
    JunophorWinged Fist

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi winged fist

    Thanks for your voting;-)))

    I was looking at you beetle project and I suppose it will be great. In the late eighties I was driving a pink!!! beetle built in 1976. It was great fun to drive with it and I still love this car;-))))))))))))))))

    Greetings Aeon Junophor