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Sony was established as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K.

(Tokyo Telecommunications Engin eering Corporation), also known as Totsuko, established in Nihonbashi, Tokyo wit h a start-up capital of 190,000 Yen for research and manufacturing of telecommun ications and measuring equipment in May, 1946. Just as Julius Caesar once said " An Army marches on its stomach", Sony's first product was a rice cooker! It was a flop - never worked properly, and after that Sony stayed out of the kitchen un til counter TV sets and radios were developed. Sony Corporation of America (presently Sony Electronics Inc.) was established in the USA on Feb. 1960. Three months later, in May, the TV8-301 was launched. Thi s is the same month when Sony opened its radio manufacturing plant in Shannon, I reland (Closed in January 1966). By February, 1962, Sony Warehouse Corp was esta blished (renamed Sony Logistics Corp, in October 1988). In May, 1962, Sony Servi ce Co., Ltd was established. It was not until January, 1958, that Sony Japan began design work on the TV8-301 television. Back then high quality silicon crystals were hard to produce. Silic on has a much higher melting temperature than germanium and it is extremely chem ically active at high temperatures making it difficult to obtain crystals of hig h purity (silicon corrodes quartz crucibles!). Pulling a mono crystal for transi stor production was a monumental task for Sony engineers at the time. It was not until August, 1958, that Sony engineers had figured out what type of semiconduc tors to use in the 8-301 set. They finally employed 23 silicon and germanium tra nsistors, 15 diodes and 2 high voltage diodes (recall that the Philco uses minia ture high voltage vacuum tube rectifiers to derive the Ultor voltage in the Safa ri TV). The 2SC41, a silicon mesa transistor, is used for horizontal deflection, and the 2SC19, a grown silicon transistor, for image (video) output to the CRT. At the time the TV8-301 went on sale it was considered a luxury commodity for t he average family in America. You could buy a large console B&W TV set at the ti me for the price Sony was asking for its miniaturized marvel! The TV8-301 did break down a lot. Sony, themselves, often referred to this TV as their "frail little baby" - ya, it got other nicknames too!. The TV8-301 is an 8 inch set. However, due to reliability issues with early transistor production it was rapidly discontinued after it was launched. Ever since May, 1960, even as the TV8-301 went on sale, Sony was working tirelessly on its replacement, model TV5-303, a 5 inch micro-TV. The trial model of the TV5-303 was dubbed "operatio n SV-17" to throw competitors off. At the time, competitors would think that Son y was working on a 17-inch color TV. The TV8-301 was an important milestone in the development of transistorized tele vision technology. It taught Sony that semiconductors with low performance chara cteristics overheat. This can result in large losses and require high voltage. T he 8-301 also taught Sony the importance of developing an even smaller semicondu ctor in order to achieve even higher efficiencies in proportion to its size. By the time Sony realized this Bell Laboratories in the US had announced the develo pment of an epitaxial transistor. Sony obtained a few of these devices and rever se engineered them. They discovered the Bell Lab's device would be perfect solut ion to solve the design problems inherent in the use of mesa transistors found i n TV8-301. Of course Sony didn't want to pay royalties to anyone (especially to the US) so they quickly took Bell Lab's ideas and test manufactured silicon epit axial mesa transistors for deflection circuits secretly. They introduced the mes a structure to claim their patents were not the same the Bell Lab's. The problem s for syncrhonizing circuits were finally resolved for the first time (another d efect in the TV8-301 fixed!). Sony grew its own epitaxial crystal, a departure f rom conventional crystal production. Epitaxial manufacture requires difficult ga s purification and surface treatment, and gas flow control techniques. It wasn t until the spring of 1961 that production design, replacing the original TV8-301 mesa transistor, started. Susumu Yoshida and Senri Miyaoka were the two

engineers that coordinated the design of the new epitaxial mesa device. Now, by February, 1962 all the production problems of the TV8-301 were resolved. Another interesting evolution of the TV8-301 was the development of a miniature 70 degree deflection CRT, something which conventional CRT glass manufacturers, e.g. NEC, would not consider producing. In my opinion, The TV5-303 is equally as collectable a TV set as the TV8-301. The TV5-303 used a CRT manufactured exclus ively by Sony. Believe it or not, it was Sony's semiconductor department that ra n secret trials production runs of CRT tests. In less than a year, after product ion of the TV8-301 was discontinued, the TV5-303 was launched in November 1961. Sony also learned many other valuable lessons from the failures of the TV8-301. For example, the TV8-301 was launched in the month on May. Sony discovered that it's better to launch new TV sets in the fall of the year, just prior to the hol iday season! The real truth be told, Sony did this, not because of spending habi ts of Americans, Sony realized that the fall season brings lower climatic temper atures. Sony wanted to be sure there were no external rising temperatures to alt er transistor characteristics within their TV sets. They wanted to give the sets a chance to perform well and get past the 90 warranty period before they would show signs of failure! Services issues ultimately screwed up the TV8-301 because high temps affected the stability of the semiconductors used for picture synchr onization. No, it s not always bad caps that need to be replaced in the TV8-301 ma ny of the transistors used in this set are thermally unstable. The failures of the TV8-301 also allowed Sony to develop new semiconductor testi ng standards. Sony established new transistor testing for high temperature toler ance. They constructed the world s first production line hothouse on the factory l ine, raising internal humidity by boiling water inside and raising the temperatu re further with electric heat. At one point, Sony engineers were so focused on h igh temperature tolerance that they ignored low temperature issues. Also, vibrat ion testing was another curious problem tackled by Sony engineers. In their test ing of the TV5-303, engineers would strap a TV8-301 conspicuously high on a jump seat in a vehicle to make it appear they were testing the 8 inch model. The TV5 -303 was snuggled on the backseat floor so as not to be see from the outside - e xcept when some engineers got stopped by the police for speeding once - then the jig was up! It's interesting that the TV5-303, although filled with many firsts and technolo gical improvement, as a direct result of the TV8-301 failures, is largely ignore d by collectors today. Sure glad I worked for Sony years ago and spend some time getting to know the history of these early products.