In 1903, at the age of nine, Konosuke Matsushita started an apprenticeship in an Osaka bicycle shop. There he showed a keen aptitude for business and at the age of 15 he decided he wanted to work in the newly developing electric business, so he went to work for the Osaka Electric Light Company. By the time he was 22, Matsushita had invented a new style of light socket, but his supervisor was not impressed and felt it was a waste of time to pursue. So, Matsushita decided to leave the company and opened up his own electronics business with his wife and his 15 year old brother-in-law (the future founder of Sanyo Electric). With a desire to create things of value for the everyday homeowner, the Matsushita Electric Housewares Manufacturing Works was established. It was there that Matsushita began inventing, developing and marketing high quality, affordable household products, including his original two-way socket, battery operated bicycle lamps, electric irons, electric foot warmers, three-tube radios, and television receivers. His inventions were a hit and from those early products the company quickly grew and evolved into Panasonic, a worldwide leader in electronics.
Today, Panasonic sells everything from toners to cameras to appliances to televisions and the company continues to invent, manufacture, and sell products with new technologies in order to make life at home easier and better, just like its founder did over 100 years ago. For instance, Panasonic's WORKiO multifunction printers and WORKiO toner cartridges were developed in order to simplify document management and increase productivity by allowing users to move pages from their desktop to the printer faster with a wide variety of finishing options without having to leave their desks. This significantly improved office efficiency by making printing within a networked system simpler.
Konosuke Matsushita was a great believer in improving quality of life and was the first major manufacturer in Japan to introduce a five-day work week in 1965. This was unheard of at the time in Japan, but he felt it was essential to the company's core beliefs of making life better for people. This quality of life mantra has expanded today into a concern for the environment and applies to all aspects of Panasonic's product life cycles; including energy saving designs, greater product reusability, and waste-conscious packaging. Panasonic toner cartridges, batteries, and electronics are all recyclable and in 2003 they became the first consumer electronics manufacturer in the world to stop using leaded solder in their electronics and laser toner products. Each Panasonic toner cartridge is designed with efficiency in mind and is made to reduce the amount of waste inside the printer toner cartridge. Due to these efforts and more, Panasonic has been awarded the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award seven years in a row for the most comprehensive lineup of energy efficient consumer electronics.
Just as Matsushita started out with one little idea of how to make life better for others, Panasonic continues to carry on that spirit of invention and concern for the consumer by providing a vast array of products for the home and office with a keen eye on keeping their products earth and people friendly.