Those involved in Matsushita Electric Housewares Manufacturing Works
(Back row from left, Konosuke Matsushita, Toshio Iue, Mumeno Matsushita).
Panasonic starts with a desire to create things of value. As hard work and dedication result in one innovative product after another, the fledgling company takes its first steps towards becoming the electronics giant of today.
The company that was to become Panasonic was started on March 7,1918, when Konosuke Matsushita moved from his tiny dwelling to a larger two-story house, and set up Matsushita Electric Housewares Manufacturing Works. The staff consisted of three people: the 23-year-old Matsushita, 22-year-old Mumeno and her brother Toshio lue, then just 15.
They converted the three rooms on the ground floor into a workshop, and installed two hand-operated presses for molding insulation. Although production started with fan insulator plates, Matsushita was convinced that there was a huge untapped market for convenient, high quality household electrical fixtures. He stayed up late at night refining his designs, ultimately choosing to manufacture two new products-an attachment plug and a two-way socket. They proved popular as they were of higher quality than other products on the market, and were 30% to 50% cheaper. By the end of 1918, the company employed 20 people.
The fixtures were initially sold through a single wholesale outlet, but this arrangement broke down when sales fell due to heavy price cutting by other manufacturers. However, as Matsushita began dealing directly with other wholesalers, sales grew and the company found itself on firm footing.
Two story house where Matsushita started producing attachment plugs.
Two-way socket and attachment plug.
An improved attachment plug was the very first product manufactured and put on the market upon the establishment of Matsushita Electric in 1918.
The plug was made from a resin, and the design was quite new and unique in those days. Ideas, such as recycling the metal screw-in sections of used light bulbs, were put into practice to facilitate the production of high precision products.