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The Sharp Corporation was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1912. A 19 year-old man by the name of Tokuji Hayakawa had come to the city to set himself up in business with one product - a western-style snap buckle for belts. Young Tokuji had been apprenticed to a metalworker in his hometown when he was 9, and was an exceptionally quick learner. Ten years after his apprenticeship began, Tokuji happened to watch a movie in which the lead character wore an ungainly and ill-fitting belt, and he decided to create a better one. The "Tokubijo" snap buckle was born. Despite a limited amount of western fashion in Japan at that time, demand for his buckle was high, and with his master's blessing, the young man moved into Tokyo to set up shop. He opened his business with two other men and a loan of 40 yen, which he had paid back by the end of the month. By 1914, the company had expanded twice, and now produced adjustable faucets and had a factory driven by 1-horsepower motors.
It was in 1916 that Sharp's signature product was developed by Tokuji, the "Ever-Sharp Pencil." Using his knowledge of metalworking, Tokuji improved on an already-existing mechanical pencil which was bulky, unappealing, and fragile, to create one that was stylish and could be used for everyday tasks. The pencil revolutionized the writing world. In 1923, an earthquake reduced the factory to ashes and killed Tokuji's family, but he rebuilt in Osaka and focused his efforts on the burgeoning world of radio. In 1926, the Sharp Dyne radio was released to mass acclaim, and the phrase "Sharp is Radio" became commonplace in Japan.
Over the next thirty years, the company produced radio sets for both public and military use, but faced a recession and the closing of several plants in the early part of the 1950s. In 1953, Sharp began manufacturing television sets, which spurred economic growth. The company was dedicated to producing televisions that every family in Japan could afford.
For the next twenty years, Sharp expanded its product base, and in 1972 entered the office products and photocopying business, introducing Sharp toner to the world, which was used in one of the world's first wet-toner copiers. The company also produced Sharp printer ink and printers, along with a host of office administration products. OEM Sharp printer ink and Sharp toner was manufactured to work specifically with their technology, but remanufactured versions of these ink types can also be used, and should cause no printing problems. Sharp is a company dedicated to its customers and to innovation, and its printers, just as the rest of its technologies, are designed to simplify rather than complicate.
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