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Canon history

The company that we now know as Canon was established in 1933 by Yoshida Gorō and Uchida Saburō as Seiki Kōgaku Kenkyūjo, meaning "Precision Optics Laboratory".

The first cameras produced by the company were marked Kwanon. The name is derived from the Chinese name Guanyin, used to refer to the Buddhist bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. In 1935, the brand name was changed to "Canon" in order to make it more readily accessible to overseas customers and to additionally incorporate the meanings "principle" or "standard" by which something is judged.    

Early History of Canon

  • 1933: Establishment of "Precision Optics Laboratory"
  • 1934: Production of the first Japanese focal plane shutter camera(Kwanon)
  • 1935: Registration of the brand name Canon
  • 1940: Production of the first Japanese X-ray camera
  • 1946: Production of the first post-war model, Canon SII
  • 1959: Canon's first SLR, Canonflex
  • 1970: First Japanese plain paper copier, NP-1100
  • 1971: Introduction of Canon 7 rangefinder camera with 50mm f/0.95 lens
  • 1971: Introduction of Canon F1 SLR and FD series of lenses
  • 1973: First Japanese colour copier
  • 1975: Introduction Laser Beam Printer (LBP) engine

The early models were marked Kwanon, already an archaic way of romanizing 観音 (which then and now would conventionally be romanized as Kannon), the Japanese name for the Chinese Guānyīn, the bodhisattva of mercy (probably derived from Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara).

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