Canon Camera Co. Inc. 1937

Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Tokyo metropolis, Kanto, Japan

Canon is a multinational corporation that specialises in the manufacture of imaging and optical products, including cameras, photocopiers, steppers and computer printers. The company was established in 1937 as Precision Optical Industry, Co., Ltd. by Takeshi Mitarai, Goro Toshida, Saburo Uchida and Takeo Maeda, which followed on from the Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory founded in 1933 to conduct research into quality cameras.

Between 1933 and 1937, the Laboratory had developed 'The Kwanon', a 35mm focal-plane-shutter camera which was a copy of the Leica design and the first of these cameras in Japan. In 1940, they developed Japan's first indirect x-ray camera, and over the following years continued to develop a range of cameras at varying price points. In 1947, the company changed its name to Canon Camera Co. Inc, and in 1969 shortened this to Canon Inc.

In 1954, Canon developed a television camera with the NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories to prepare for the commencement of television broadcasting. During the 1960s, they developed their first calculator, photocopier and stereo recording heads, and in the 1970s began producing office computers, laser printers, mini floppy disk drives, and devices to aid those with disabilities including a tape-writer for the speech-impaired and an electronic reader to help those who are blind. Their range of products has continued to increase and they still produce digital cameras, flash units, camcorders, printers, digital copiers, scanners, calculators, projectors, presenters, virtual reality headsets and manufacturing equipment.

Canon began expanding worldwide from the 1960s onwards. They established Canon USA., Inc. in 1965 and expanded into Europe with Canon Amsterdam N.V. in 1968 (today, Canon Europa N.V.). This expansion continued in the 1970s and 1980s with the establishment of Canon Deutschland GmbH in 1973, Canon France S.A.S. in 1975, Canon (U.K.) Ltd. in 1976, Canon Australia Pty. Ltd. in 1978, Canon Singapore Pte. Ltd. in 1979, Canon Bretagne S.A.S. in 1983 and Canon Virginia, Inc. in 1985. The company continued expanding through the following decades so that now they have a local presence in over 220 countries.

Their operations are now split into four business segments: the Office Business Unit, the Imaging System Business Unit, the Medical System Business Unit, and the Industry and Others Business Unit.