TEAC - The History of Recording and Sound (Part 1)
This series will explain the long and illustrious history of our company and products. Starting with the first mass produced original TEAC product, the Tape Recorder TD-102, you will get to know more about our background and our milestones.
The tape recorder from across the sea
TEAC Corporation was originally founded as Tokyo Television Acoustic Company on August 8th, 1953 by two brothers, Katsuma and Tomoma Tani. In 1956 the two brothers founded Tokyo Electronic Acoustic Company, finally merging those firms in 1964 to form today’s TEAC Corporation.
TEAC’s very first original production model, the TD-102, went on sale in April 1957. And here’s the story behind it:
In 1957, two Americans came to visit the newly established Tokyo Electronic Acoustic Company. They were the CEO and the chief engineer of a big radio manufacturer called Lafayette Radio Electronics. When Tani showed them the prototype for the TD-102, they said “Add a playback amp, turn it into a tape player and change the casing to a cabinet and we’ll take it!”. And with that, they ordered 25 units. While happy to receive such a great bulk order, there wasn’t anyone at the company at the time to configure the amps… So according to legend, staff had to work flat out for 72 hours straight to complete the order in time. But their hard work paid off: The TD-102 crossed over into the American market and quickly became a favorite amongst audio fans. (Picture showing TEAC’s founder, Katsuma Tani, with the TD-102)
However, even after that first big order from Lafayette, few new orders came through. At the time, the extremely high price of a TD-102 (60,000 Yen in a time when the starting salary of a graduate bank clerk was 15,000 Yen) coupled with the fact that vinyl records were the standard of the day – meant that TEAC was slightly too far ahead of the curve that would one day see tape as the default playback and recording format.
But nevertheless, this was not the end of the story around our TD-102…
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