Sony has officially turned 70 years young today, a milestone seldom reached by tech companies. Founded by Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka on May 7th, 1946, the company was originally called ‘Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo.’ Seeing how the name would be hard to pronounce for Western countries, a key area to expand to if Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo were to become a global brand, co-founder Akio Morita would rename the company to Sony, as a mix of two words.
These were the Latin word ‘Sonus’ which is the root of sonic and sound, and ‘Sonny’ which was a common American term in the 50’s for a boy.
Come 1958, Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo would change to Sony. Despite their downs, Sony has had a long history of creating industry and in fact culturally changing products like the Trinitron televisions, Walkman, and PlayStation to name a few. Throughout that time, Sony has become synonymous with quality hardware and was in fact an inspiration to the late Apple founder, Steve Jobs. That’s why it may surprise you to learn that the first product out of then Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo was not in fact electronic or at least not in the way we would think about electronics today. Instead, it was a rice cooker.
Masaru Ibuka’s (later Sony co-founder) first step into the world of consumer electronics was an electronic rice cooker. You may be wondering why you’ve never seen this in the market. Unfortunately that’s because the device consistently either undercooked or overcooked rice. It seems the ability to cook rice was an important factor in a rice cooker and so the product failed to be a commercial success…
Perhaps not for their 70th but when Sony celebrates their 100th anniversary, how wonderful would it be for them to release a limited run rice cooker? I know I’d buy it. With no shortage of Sony products in my household, I’d instead love to hear from you and see what some of your Sony products of the past have been and what you most look forward to from the company in the coming years.