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Kobe Kogyo Model KT-200 (front)

Hello, my name is Sean Whiteacre.  I collect radios.  I need to know what year this radio was made and if possible how many were manufactured.  Below is some company history.

Sasaki graduated in 1938 and joined the government Electro technical Laboratory. Shortly after that he joined Fujitsu Corporation [Kawanishi Kogyo, which was later absorbed by Fujitsu] in 1938.



Then he was assigned to make a study of vacuum tubes. He moved to Kawanisi Kogyo, a vacuum tube company located at Kobe, next to Osaka. They manufactured airplanes.


Sasaki: He mentioned first Bardeen's approach and method. That is, Bardeen embedded the grid into the cathode. The cathode is made of the barium oxide, which is a semiconductor. Sasaki's method is just to make the distance between the grid and the cathode closer and closer. Bardeen made a jump. He put the grid into the cathode. That's what Sasaki didn't realize. On Christmas Eve, for the first time, Sasaki heard about Bardeen's transistor, from Bardeen directly, that he had made what they call the point-contact transistor. At the time Sasaki realized that this is a very big breakthrough. Immediately afterwards he went back to Japan

and started semiconductor research at Kawanishi Kogyo Society


They studied the different methods to make good semiconductor devices, but finally they adopted Esaki's method. However, he has one memory of the new effect, which is rather different from Esaki's, that is, a twisted junction. They found the similar negative resistance effect to what Sasaki found. In 1953 or something like that, Esaki gave a paper on negative resistance. However, what he tried to handle was actually the United States's attitudes. They were more active and more enthusiastic about the findings. Later on, the Sony Corporation started to study semiconductor devices and transistors. Esaki was head-hunted by Sony Corporation later on. However, at Kobe Kogyo--at that time it was called Kawinishi Kogyo then after World War II it was called Kobe Kogyo--at Kobe Kogyo he had several more research staff. Kobe Kogyo still did a lot of research on these although he was gone.


Kawnashi was integrated into Kobe Kogyo. It changed its name after the war to Kobe Kogyo. Kawnashi Kogyo manufactured airplanes. They changed their name to Kobe Kogyo, and Kobe Kogyo was absorbed eventually by Fujitsu. Mr. Takao was the president of Kobe Kogyo. He's known to be the winner of the Silver Medal when he graduated from Kyoto University. He is a splendid engineer. He invested too much money in research rather than development. Therefore, in 1963 Kobe Kogyo was absorbed by Fujitsu. Then he got the idea or belief that engineers or scientists should change their mind when they become the top management of a company. That's what he believes now.


There is another famous story. That is again the acquisition story. Japan Radio was sold to a textile company. Then Japan Radio was then regarded as a technology-oriented company, like Kobe Kogyo. So these two were top-notch technology-oriented companies and at almost the same time absorbed by some other companies. So he said again the engineers are technology-based. The management should change his or her mind. Kobe Kogyo has the tradition of inventing many things. Some examples I could mention include ultra acoustic radars to search for fish. What they call the TEN radio, which was the first car radio. And things like that. So always they invent the first something. However, they are too much technology-oriented, so immediately Kotyo was caught up by Matsushita or some other commercial technology-oriented companies. That is always the story.



He had already realized that in the future the vacuum tubes should be replaced by semiconductor devices. In 1963 Kobe Kogyo was merged into Fujitsu. At that time Sasaki was one of the board member additions. So he quit the company. He moved from Kobe Kogyo to Sharp in 1964. However, two years before that, Sharp and Kobe Kogyo had quite close ties. The Sharp Corporation had purchased electronic components from Kobe Kogyo.




Kobe Kogyo Model KT-200 (back)


The substructure of an innovation community is centered on the firms that commercialize an innovation. Sony pioneered the transistor radio in Japan and also became a producer of transistors. It later introduced the transistor television. Other firms were also important parts of the substructure. Some provided a competitive stimulus. Others provided inputs to the products developed by Sony. Sony was not the first Japanese company to show an interest in transistors, nor was it the first to begin developing a transistor radio. Kobe Kogyo, a small producer of electron tubes, began serious efforts to develop a transistor a year and a half ahead of Sony. Indeed, at Kobe Kogyo, as at several other firms, bootleg research on transistors had begun as early as 1948. In late 1951, three Kobe Kogyo electron-tube engineers visited RCA and Bell Laboratories in the United States, where they saw large numbers of researchers working on transistors. In January 1952, Kobe Kogyo researchers began work on transistors. In March 1952, Kobe Kogyo successfully made a point-contact transistor. The company even made an experimental transistor radio at the time, but found that the sound quality was unsatisfactory. In January 1954, Kobe Kogyo announced a radio based on junction transistors developed by the company, though they still had no commercial product ready. One of the engineers involved in this research was L. Ezaki, who would later win the Nobel Prize for his development of the tunnel diode at Sony. Others later became important researchers at Sharp and Fujitsu.


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As the potential of transistors became more apparent, most of the major Japanese electronics firms quickly entered into technology import agreements. Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric, Hitachi, and Kobe Kogyo all signed transistor technology agreements with Western Electric in 1954, within months of Sony. These companies were soon joined by NEC, Fujitsu, Sanyo, Japan Radio, and Oki Electric. Most of these firms also imported technology from RCA, and some from General Electric as well.

In the United States, the most important early applications for the transistor technology were hearing aids, with considerable interest in the potential for applications in defense and telecommunications, but in Japan by far the most important early product was the transistor radio.


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Sony starting selling portable transistor radios in 1955. This spurred the major electron-tube producers to rush to commercialize their own products, and by late 1957, Japan was producing 600000 transistors and 70000 transistor radios per month. Exports of the transistor radios started in 1957. All the companies quickly increased their plant capacities and levels of automation. By 1958, Japanese transistor radios were so successful in the United States as to raise the threat of protectionism. MITI-imposed export restrictions helped forestall this threat, and exports continued steady growth.


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Kobe Kogyo had begun work on transistors before Sony and produced its first experimental transistor radio at about the same time. It was not until 1957, however, that Kobe began the volume production of transistors. In 1963, the company was merged into Fujitsu, contributing to that company's solid-state technology as it moved into the computer industry.


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It was while engaged in this research that Ezaki (who had recently moved to Sony from Kobe) developed the tunnel diode. Japanese technology for the mass production of low-cost transistors for radios now surpassed that in the United States.