Named for pencils, driven by radios
In 1912, Japanese self-started Hayakawa Tokuji brought his first invention to the market, but far from the electronics market: he designed a belt buckle with a snap closure which allowed the belt to be fastened at any length without the use of traditional eyelets. The company, however, takes its name from Tokuji's 1915 invention, the Ever-Ready Sharp pencil, a mechanical pencil which made sharpening a thing of the past.
Sharp owes its successful transformation into an electronics giant to the foresight of its founder. Very early on, Hayakawa Tokuji recognized the potential of burgeoning radio technology. Sharp began the sale of so-called crystal radios in 1925, followed by tube radios in 1929. Sharp exported its radios throughout China and Southeast Asia, becoming one of the largest radio producers in the region.
Starting in 1931, Sharp engineers busied themselves with television technology, creating the first black and white prototype in 1951. Two years later, the model went into mass production.
Other notable milestones in the company's history: in 1962, the first microwave hit the market. Solar cells were introduced in 1964. Sharp presented the then revolutionary display technology, called LCD, on its pocket calculators, the EL-805 line. This innovation won the prestigious IEEE Milestone Award in 2005. Starting in 2001, Sharp began producing its award-winning line of Aquos LCD TVs. The 2012 model, LC-90LE745U, has the honour of being the largest LCD TV in the world. The screen diagonal measures a mind-boggling 90 inches or 229 centimetres!
Printers and multi-function devices for every situation
The big break for Sharp's printer business came in 1972 when its first photocopiers hit stores. Currently, Sharp produces a full range of office machines, from black and white printers to colour laser printers, from compact multi-function devices for home-offices to large-scale machines for high volume printing with increased sorting capability and sophisticated data protection features. Sharp's printer division is a highly profitable one, piquing the interest and concern of competitors. In March 2013, rival Samsung bought a 3% share of the Sharp Group and made an offer to take over the entire Office segment. Sharp, however, declined the bid.
The company is well aware of the value of its printer division. Sharp printers and multi-function devices regularly score extremely well in independent product tests. For example, the mobile, black & white multi-function device AL-1035, designed for business people on the go, and the colour multi-function laser device MX-2610N both received a score of “very good” from Facts magazine. Current devices in the MX-line are being praised for their large touchscreen (diagonal 25.6 centimetres), making operation quick and easy for beginners and professionals alike. The Eco-Scan function ensures that the device's fuser unit is shut off when not in use, thus lowering energy consumption. Naturally, Sharp has a full range of accompanying office products, like toner and ink cartridges, for both current and older printer and multi-function devices, which you can order easily from the online shop. Shipping is free and the prices are competitive!