The History of Konica Minolta (Global Imaging)

The History of Konica Minolta (Global Imaging)

Konica Minolta had established itself in the world of imaging. In fact, it offers a wide array of imaging essentials ranging from graphic to medical imaging. It also offers optical technology and business products, laser printers and measuring instruments. But to some or even to most people, Konica and Minolta are best remembered for their cameras.


Ever wonder how long Konica Minolta has been in the global imaging business? Well, it all started on 1873, which means that the company is around 137 years old. To give you more background on what transpired during these years, take a look at some brief and interesting facts regarding its history.

Konica Minolta from 1873 to 1973

The first 100 years of Konica Minolta is worth taking note of. It was in 1873 when Konica Corporations started its business. This was the time when lithographic and photographic materials were sold by Rokusubaro Sugiura at Konishiya Rokubeiten in Tokyo, Japan. Thirty years after that, in 1903, the first "Cherry Hand Camera" was launched in the Japanese Market.

Later on, in 1928, the predecessor of Minolta, Incorporated was born. This was a Japanese-German photo company named Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shoten by Kazuo Tajima. A year after that, the company marketed its first camera known as the "Nifcalette". After this, the company released Sakura Natural Color Film in 1940, which was considered as the first color film marketed in Japan.

The years 1956 to 1973 marked the start of global business for Konica Minolta. In 1956, it established its first subsidiary in America. This was based in Philadelphia. In 1958, the company was able to complete its first planetarium unit. Two years after, it launched its first copier then named as the Minolta Copymaster. Its first European Subsidiary was launched in Hamburg Germany in the year 1962. Nine years after that, the company pushed efforts to have its first Photostatic plain paper photocopier called the U-Bix480. Then during its 100th year in the business, Konica Minolta launched a nationwide driver's license printing system.

Konica Minolta from its 100th year to the present

The first 100 years of Konica Minolta proved to be very memorable to the company and to its patrons as well. Despite reaching that peak in its existence, the company did not stop creating great products that people will continue to love. In 1975 and 1977, the company created the world's first 35mm camera with built-in flash and the compact autofocus camera.

In 1983, Konica Minolta came up with another first in the industry of photocopiers when it launched its EP450Z, one that contains both magnification and reduction functions. Then in 1984, the company developed a CD player aspheric plastic lens. In 1985, it launched the SLR camera and in 1987 it marketed the product known as Konsensus – a color proofing system. Two years after that, in 1989, the company released a medical digital imaging output system. In 1990, it came up with a monochrome laser printer and a full-color, digital copier.

Ten years from that, it produced the TAC films to be used for LCD polarizers. This was also the same time when the joint venture known as Konica Minolta Supplies Manufacturing Company Ltd was created for polymerized toner production. In August of 2003, Konica Minolta Holdings was created and in October of the same year, company reorganization was made.

In March 2004, another planetarium named as Manten was opened by the company in Tokyo then in July, it launched its 3D industrial digitizer. In December 2004, it again established another subsidiary, this time for the production of printers and MFPs. This was called by the company as Konica Minolta Business Technologies Co. Ltd.

It was in January 2005 when Konica Minolta IJ Technologies Inc. was established whose main business is geared to the production of inkjet products. Then in February 2005, the first phase contrast technology was made by the company for mammography. Then in August, it acquired the major printing plate manufacturer from the US known as the American Litho Inc.

In 2007, the company withdrew both its camera and photo business. Then in 2008, it established a joint venture with CEC to be able to cater to business solutions. In 2009, Konica Minolta was noted for releasing the so-called high-chroma and high-speed digital MFP bizhub, better known as PRO C65hc.


This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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