Advancing the art of listening through the years.

littmann stethoscope history timeline

Dr. Littmann's Legacy

When the first stethoscope was invented by French physician René Laënnec in 1816, it was simply a rolled-up paper tube that funneled sounds from his patients’ chest to his ear. It was not until the early 1960s that Dr. David Littmann, M.D. (1906-1981) would patent a revolutionary new stethoscope design that was lighter, more convenient to carry and use, and had vastly improved acoustical performance.

In this timeline, see how Dr. Littmann’s legacy has provided medical professionals like you with consistent high acoustic performance, as well as enhanced comfort for your patients.


3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes: A Brief History

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1979: For Demanding Physicians
cardiology stethoscope

The Cardiology Stethoscope is introduced, featuring improved acoustic performance, and more. Improvements continued over the decades.

1984: More Sounds with Less Hassle
tunable technology

3M™ patents Tunable Technology which enables users to hear high or low frequency sounds without repositioning the stethoscope chest piece.

1988–2006: The March of Technological Progression
littmann mechanical stethoscopes

Many stethoscopes received upgrades as technology advanced. The Classic II Pediatric, Cardiology III, and Lightweight II S.E. were some of them.

2015: The Next Generation Rises
3m littmann classic iii stethoscope

The 3M™ Littmann® Classic III Stethoscope was introduced, featuring longer-lasting tubing that had improved resistance to skin oils and alcohol.

2016: Advancing the Legacy
littmann stethoscope cardiology iv

3M™ Littmann® Cardiology IV Stethoscopes were introduced during 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes’ “50 Years of Listening” anniversary, featuring improved ergonomics and construction. 

1967: 3M™ Welcomes a New Partner
littmann stethoscope

In April 1967, 3M™ acquired Dr. Littmann’s company, Cardiosonics. Dr. Littmann would then work as an adviser to help further develop his invention.


View stethoscopes in the 3M™ Littmann® range

  • 3M™ Littmann® Cardiology Series

    Sturdy, refined, and designed for superior acoustic performance.

  • 3M™ Littmann® Classic Series

    Compact, sensitive and lightweight, it’s perfect for general physical assessments and diagnoses.

  • 3M™ Littmann® Lightweight Series

    The lightest adult stethoscope in the range. Suitable for basic assessments.

  • 3M™ Littmann® Electronic Series

    Enhanced amplification and noise reduction for high-performance auscultation of critical sounds. 


Find out where you can purchase a 3M™ Littmann® stethoscope online here. 

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