Sharp

In 1912, Tokuji Hayakawa founded a metal workshop in Tokyo. The first of his many inventions was a snap buckle named ‘Tokubijo’. Another of his inventions was the Ever-Sharp mechanical pencil in 1915, from which the Sharp Corporation derived its name. After the pencil business was destroyed by the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the company relocated to Osaka and began designing the first generation of Japanese radio sets. These went on sale in 1925. In 1953, Sharp started producing TV sets.

In 1964, Sharp developed the world’s first transistor calculator, which was priced at JP¥535,000 (US$1,400). It took Sharp several years to develop the product as they had no experience in making computing devices at the time. Two years later, in 1966, Sharp introduced its first IC calculator using 145 Mitsubishi-made bipolar ICs, priced at JP¥350,000 (about US$1000). Its first LSI calculator was introduced in 1969. This was the first pocketable calculator priced at less than JP¥100,000 (less than US$300), and turned out to be a popular item.

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