Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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March 1979. tape cassettes.

TDK Corporation formerly TDK Electronics Co., Ltd is a Japanese multinational electronics company that manufactures electronic materials, electronic components, and recording and data-storage media.

TDK was founded in Japan on 7 December 1935 to manufacture iron-based magnetic material ferrite, which had been recently invented by Yogoro Kato and Takeshi Takei.

In 1952 they began production of magnetic tapes, with compact cassette tapes following in 1966; it is for these that the company is most widely noted. TDK used to manufacture an extensive portfolio of magnetic and optical media, including several formats of videotape and blank CD-R and recordable DVD discs until it licensed the rights to do so to Imation. Imation also now manufactures USB flash drives under this license.

Operations in the USA began in 1965 with a New York City office, and European operations began in 1970 with an office in Frankfurt, West Germany.

In the '90s TDK's Mass Storage Division included brushless DC spindle motors, magnetoresistance (MR) heads and thin-film heads.

Since 1997 TDK has gradually withdrawn from the production of compact cassettes. First with the MA-X and AR, then the AD and SA-X line in 2001 and 2002 respectively, then the MA line in 2004. The SA and D lines were withdrawn in 2012 under Imation ownership. Industry trends see the company moving into new forms of media; in 2004 TDK was the first media-manufacturer to join the companies developing BD post-DVD technology.

TDK operated a semiconductor division in California for about a decade, but divested it in 2005.

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