The History of Ricoh

The History of Ricoh


The Ricoh brand is one of the most respected brand names in cameras, office equipment and industrial equipment in the world today. It is a brand name that is associated with innovative and enterprising technology, and it is a reputation that the Ricoh Company, Ltd. has carefully cultivated in the seventy years since it was founded.

The Beginnings of the Ricoh Company

Ricoh Company, Ltd. was established in Tokyo, Japan on February 6, 1936. It was the brainchild of Kiyoshi Ichimura, an ambitious and enterprising son of a poor farmer. Ichimura, at that time, did not have any privileges or opportunities available to him to speak of, so he created his own opportunities. Thus, he founded the company that was then known as Riken Kankoshi Co., Ltd., a company that produces optical devices and equipment. The name was changed two years later to Riken Optical Co.

It was in these early years that Ricoh began building a reputation for being an innovator. In 1950, the company came up with the very first twin-lens reflex camera that is produced en masse – the first ever in the world. This camera is none other than the RicohFlex III.

The company continuously developed its system and techniques for mass-producing cameras, and its efforts were recognized when it was awarded the Ohkochi Memorial Production Prize in 1957. It was also during the 1950s when the company came up with their first line of desktop copying machines, notably the Ricopy 101.

The Global Expansion

The Ricoh Company has seen continuous growth and progress over the years, and it did not confine this growth within Tokyo alone. In the 1960s, they began expanding not just outside of Tokyo but in other countries as well.

In 1960, the company established its first ever offshore subsidiary in Korea. In 1962, it opened its subsidiary in the United States, Ricoh Industries USA. Later on, in 1970, this subsidiary was merged with the company’s office in New York City, leading to the formation of Ricoh of America. Other subsidiary companies were formed in Switzerland, Taiwan and Holland.

Meanwhile, the spirit of innovation lived on. Ricoh began involving itself in the production of sensitized paper and other paper products, as well as creating new and better kinds of office equipment and cameras. It was also at this time that they built a department that is supposed to be wholly concerned with the research and development that Ricoh would need in order to see further progress in the future.

The Ricoh Company Today

Right now, the Ricoh Company, Ltd. is one of multinational companies originating from Japan today. Its website boasts of US$17 billion in annual revenue. It also has 81,900 employees working in 150 offices all over the world. The company has also acquired naming rights to a football stadium in Coventry, England and an indoor arena in Toronto, Canada. It is also active in the sports scene, being the owner of the Ricoh Black Rams, a rugby union team in Japan, and being a major sponsor of the Women’s British Open.

But for all this, Ricoh has shown more commitment in making its systems and processes friendlier to the environment. It has garnered numerous awards from all over the world for this endeavor.

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This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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