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Toshiba celebrates 130th birthday

Why, it just seems like yesterday that Hisashige Tanaka was cranking out clocks in the factory in the Ginza district. Computing giant Toshiba will celebrate its 130th anniversary this year with a series of events, including exhibits at the National Science Museum.

The company can trace its heritage back to 1875 when Tanaka (born in 1799 in pre-Meiji Japan) set up his first factory. "We welcome orders for inventions for all types of machinery," the sign read above the factory. At the time, the Ginza was known for bricks. Several fires, earthquakes and other disasters later, it is now a shopping mecca.

In 1939, Shibaura Engineering Works (the name of Tanaka's company at the time) and Tokyo Electric merged to form Tokyo Shibaura Electric. The conglomerate in 1984 then officially changed its name to Toshiba, which started out as a subsidiary of the larger conglomerate.