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On September 15, 1912, a young mechanic from Tokyo, Tokuji Hayakawa, opened his own workshop for repairing metal products. This moment is considered the date of creation of the Sharp company. The workshop team consisted of three people, including Tokuji himself. In 1915, a talented entrepreneur patented an original model of a mechanical pencil that did not require sharpening. The model turned out to be so successful that soon the number of orders for the supply of this product made it possible to significantly expand production. Ever-ready-Sharp Penсil gave the company its name – Sharp, which means “sharp”.


Already in 1913, the company began producing original mechanisms for umbrellas and water taps. Production moved to a new facility equipped with a mechanical engine. In 1923, Hayakawa Electric Industry Co employed more than 200 people, and the company sold products worth 50 thousand yen per month. It was then that the company suffered a terrible disaster – on September 1, 1923, a powerful earthquake occurred in Tokyo. The plant was completely destroyed, Tokuji Hayakawa lost his wife and two children.

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Tokuji Hayakawa 

However, by 1924 he opened a new plant in Osaka, the modern headquarters of the company. In January 1925, Tokuji came up with the idea of ​​starting the production of radios. Having virtually no experience and the necessary knowledge, engineers led by Tokuji assembled the first Japanese radio by April 1925. Mass production of the radio receiver based on crystalline elements begins immediately. The product is in great demand, and branches are opened in Hong Kong and Shanghai to meet the growing needs of the Chinese market. Now all Sharp factories use an original conveyor production system, allowing a unit of equipment to be produced every 56 seconds. Sharp becomes the largest manufacturer of radio products in the Asia-Pacific region. The war between Japan and China, which began in 1937, increased the demand for radio technology, and by 1944 the production of radio receivers reached 150 thousand units per year. In 1942, the short-wave and ultra-short-wave radio transmission principles were invented in the company’s own laboratory.

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Sharp GF 9191 (1978) 

On August 15, 1945, the war ended with the complete surrender of Japan. The devastated, hungry and poor country was experiencing an acute economic crisis. This time for Sharp was marked by the loss of foreign branches and massive layoffs of employees. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Sharp was partially saved by listing its own shares on the Osaka Stock Exchange. However, by 1950, the company’s debts amounted to 4.5 million yen, and the cost of one share was estimated at no more than 14 yen. And just the outbreak of the US war with Korea gave the company another chance to recover – large orders from the theater of war gave Sharp significant profits.

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Sharp GF 555 (1980) 

By 1951, production reached 430 thousand radios, and the stock price rose to 53 yen. At the same time, the company released the first Japanese black and white TV. By launching mass production of television equipment, the company managed to ensure that a TV cost 175 thousand yen (for comparison, the average salary in Japan at that time was about 8-10 thousand yen). Sharp was one of the first to introduce free technical maintenance for its equipment, which allows it to significantly increase sales volumes; production reaches 500 TVs per month. By August 1953, 60% of radio and television equipment produced in Japan came from Sharp factories.

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Sharp GF 9494 (1980) 

The year 1958 began for the company with the opening of its own retail chain, an active advertising campaign to promote the brand throughout the world and serious investments in research into wave electronics. In 1960, a new conveyor for the production of color televisions was launched, in 1962 – for the production of microwave ovens, and in 1964, the world’s first desktop calculator using transistors was developed. The wave of new products that are in mass demand continues with the calculator invented in 1969, which operates on the basis of ultra-large-scale integrated circuits.

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Sharp GF 800 (1984)  

The further development of the company was largely determined by advances in the field of liquid crystal, microcircuit and semiconductor technologies. In 1973, the Sharp pocket calculator, based on semiconductors, appeared. At the same time, Sharp laboratories developed unique principles for solar cells. In medicine, monitors for X-ray machines and portable electrocardiographs are widely used. Sharp’s product range included hundreds of models of television, video, audio equipment, electronically controlled household electrical goods and industrial devices.

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Sharp WF 939 (1987)  

One of the company’s technological breakthroughs was the invention of portable computers in 1982. The upgraded 14-inch version of the monitor in 1988 ushered in the era of mass use of liquid crystal technology in computer technology. Further, almost all Sharp products are equipped with LCD monitors. Already in 1994, a 21-inch color monitor was produced, in 1995 – a 28-inch one, and in 1996, the Mebius laptop appeared. Today, Sharp is one of the largest manufacturers of microelectronics and computer equipment in the world. It accounts for about 40% of all LCD monitors produced, and the company has several thousand unique patents. An example of the development of the Sharp company is the story of the triumph of the innovative policy of the company’s management, which allows it to be a stable market leader in its sector.

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Sharp GX M10 (2012)  

Sharp’s net losses for the 2011-2012 financial year (ended March 31, 2012) amounted to 380 billion yen ($4.68 billion). On November 2, 2012, the Fitch Ratings agency lowered Sharp’s rating to “B-” (“junk” level). For the 2013 financial year (ended March 31, 2014), the company made a profit of 11.6 billion yen (about $114 million). A positive result was achieved for the first time in 3 years. On February 25, 2016, the Board of Directors approved the sale of the company to the Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group for 700 billion yen ($6.24 billion). March 30, 2016 Taiwanese Foxconn buys a 66% stake for 388.8 billion yen ($3.47 billion). Major events in the history of the Sharp Corporation 1912 – Patent for the invention of a metal belt buckle, issued to Tokuji Hayakawa, the founder of Sharp 1915 – Invention of a mechanical pencil that does not require sharpening (the “forever sharp pencil”) 1925 – First assembly and start of sales of a receiver with a crystal detector 1929 – Production of Sharp Dyne – the first tube receiver 1953 – Beginning of mass production of televisions 1960 – Beginning of mass production of color televisions 1962 – Development and mass production of microwave ovens 1964 – Development and mass production of the world’s first electronic desktop calculator based on semiconductor elements  1966 – Development of electronic desktop calculators calculators on integrated circuits 1969 – Development of electronic calculators based on very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI) 1972 – Development of the first photocopier 1973 – Development of the world’s first electronic calculator with a liquid crystal display 1976 – Development of 7 mm thick electronic calculators using these LSIs. Development of solar panels for use in outer space on the artificial satellite “UME” 1979 – Development and start of sales of a pocket English-Japanese electronic translator 1981 – Development of a laser LED. Development and start of sales of a stereo player with automatic rotation of the disc being played 1982 – Development of pocket computers in the BASIC language 1983 – Mass production of ultra-thin electroluminescent displays 1984 – Development of a microwave oven with automatic determination of the type and quantity of the product and the time of its preparation 1987 – Development and start of sales of magnetic-optical rewritable disks Development of multifunctional electronic organizers 1988 – Development of the world’s first 14-inch active matrix liquid crystal display, ushering in a new era of liquid crystal displays 1989 – Beginning of sales of the world’s first refrigerators with double-sided doors

1990 – Development of the world’s first full-color desktop fax machine
1992 – Start of sales of the ViewCam Hi-8mm video camera with a 14-inch LCD screen
1993 – Development and implementation of a multifunctional personal assistant (organizer)
1994 – Development of a 21-inch color TFT display for multimedia use
1995 – Development of the world’s largest 28-inch active matrix display, made possible by the joint use of technologies from leading manufacturers.
1996 – The appearance of the Mebius laptop computer with Internet access and a display with a 30% improvement in brightness. Development of the digital assistant “Zaurus” with a color display and Internet access
1997 – Development of a highly reflective super mobile TFT display with 260,000 colors.
1998 – Development of single-crystalline silicon (CGS) technology – the basis for future computers several millimeters thick. (“Sheet computers”)
2000 — The first mobile phone with a built-in camera was released
2009 — The DL-L60AV LED lamp with a remote control for changing the color of light
was released 2013 — The world’s first 8K TV was introduced, which went on sale on October 31, 2015. An excursion into the golden age of Boomboxes and the best radio from Sharp – GF 777 A vintage radio, the cost of which in our time reaches $5,000, is in steady demand and truly fantastic in popularity. What is so exclusive about it that it attracts people so much and makes them part with a huge amount of money? Sharp GF-777 is a portable two-cassette recorder. It was produced from the early 80s to the mid-80s in several modifications: models GF-777, with different letter indices, were exported and equipped with a mains voltage switch, GF-909, GF-919, GF-999 were sold on the domestic market Japan and are designed for a mains voltage of only 100 V.

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Sharp GF 777 (1980)  

There was another option for the domestic market – Sharp GF-1000, but this variety no longer reached such mass and popularity. The devices of the Sharp GF-777 family have a built-in acoustic system consisting of six dynamic heads: two low-frequency (16 cm) for which a separate two-channel power amplifier and its own attenuators are provided, as well as two broadband (16 cm) and two high-frequency heads connected to the second stereo amplifier. The maximum output power of the 777 is small – only 7 W (RMS) per channel (90 W is the declared maximum, total peak output power for two channels), but the speakers used in the tape recorder have very high sensitivity, so the Sharp GF-777 can create sound pressure comparable to many stationary music centers. It is worth noting that the built-in power supply, in terms of energy parameters, is quite capable of ensuring the operation of the radio in any, even the most extreme, mode, which was repeatedly tested at mini-discos during school and student years.

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Sharp GT 6001 (1980)  

The parameters of the tape panel are impressive – they correspond, rather, to a stationary Hi-Fi cassette deck of a not very budget class than to a portable device. In principle, not every cassette deck of those years had a signal to noise ratio of 56 dB (without using a noise reduction system) and a frequency range of 30 Hz – 18000 Hz on type IV tape. The design of tape drive mechanisms is also more similar to those used in inexpensive stationary cassette recorders. The functional equipment of the radio for the very beginning of the 80s was more than solid: full autostop, tape consumption counter, the ability to record on three types of cassettes (Fe, Cr, Metal), a track search system by pauses (APLD) with the ability to select the desired musical fragment ( from the first to the seventh inclusive), manual and automatic adjustment of the recording level, arrow indicators of the signal level (they are also used when setting up the tuner, checking the battery charge), dynamic noise reduction system SNRS, balance adjustment, bass and treble tone, switchable loudness compensation, built-in microphones, input for connecting an external microphone with the ability to mix the signal, built-in spring (in some versions electronic) reverb to create an “echo” effect and reverberation depth control, input for a vinyl player, line input, line output, connectors for connecting external speakers, four-band tuner with very good sensitivity and precise tuning, switching mono/stereo modes for radio and tape recorder.

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Sharp VZ-V2 (1981)  

At the same time, the radio has huge dimensions: height 37.9 cm, depth 16.6 cm, length 75.2 cm and an impressive weight: 11.8 kg. Some modifications have over 12 kg. The cost of the Sharp GF-777 during serial production was around $500. What can you say about the sound quality? For a portable tape recorder, this is very good, but I don’t think it’s worth exaggerating the sound of this device too much. Even very good speakers cannot be made to sound in a booming plastic case the same way as in the high-quality acoustic design of individual speakers, and an amplifier on a single-supply chip is far from a full-fledged Hi-Fi, even in the budget segment. But the quality of recording and playback of the tape recorder is quite at the level of a simple stationary cassette deck. Many radio tape recorders can reproduce a recording made on a cassette deck quite well, but there are really only a few high-quality wearable tape recorders – this is one of them. Summarizing what was written above, we can say that initially a lot was invested in this Sharp – an original design was developed, many interesting engineering solutions were implemented in the design, high-quality components were selected – as evidenced by the fact that many devices have remained in working order to this day . Naturally, the price is greatly inflated and this radio has become more of a luxury item than an audio component, but there is no alternative to the above pricing algorithm and there never will be. Time has put everything in its place – 35 years ago a large boombox was developed and introduced to the audio market, but now it’s a Legend, no matter how you look at it 🙂

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