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The origin of Sharp’s document business
Sharpfax SF-201, released in 1972, certified as a Copying Machine Heritage

SHARP copier

Sharp Corporation’s first-generation copier, the 1972 released Sharpfax SF-201, was recently certified as a Copying Machine Heritage by the Imaging Society of Japan (ISJ)*1.

The ISJ started the Copying Machine Heritage program in 2018 to cite the technological and societal achievements of the first copiers that propelled Japan’s copier industry, and to ensure that these copiers are remembered as a cultural heritage by future generations.

The foundation of Sharp’s office equipment business was laid in 1964 with the release of the world’s first all-transistor electronic desktop calculator. The 1972 launch of the Sharpfax marked the company’s entry into the document business. Since then, Sharp has worked to create products and solutions that contribute to operational efficiency and productivity.

The SF-201 measured only 50 cm wide and 41.5 cm deep—small enough to be placed on a desk. Despite this small size, the SF-201 boasted a copy speed of 10 ppm, the fastest*2 in its price class at the time. It also placed the controls, such as the power switch and copy button, status lamp, and page counter all on the front of the machine. Thanks to this ease of installation, functionality, and user friendliness, the SF-201 became widely used by not only large corporations but also small-and-medium-size companies, retail stores, schools, and a range of other industries. People were now able to easily make copies of documents, sales slips, teaching materials, and more, which previously they often had to transcribe by hand. It made work processes dramatically more efficient. These benefits earned the SF-201 accolades and certification as a Copying Machine Heritage.


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*1 The ISJ is an organization of engineers and researchers who strive for progress and growth of imaging technology through exchange of information concerning the basics of imaging and its applications. The ISJ provides various opportunities to study and exchange information in the field of imaging science and its relevant technologies. For more information, visit the ISJ website.(

*2 As of 1972; for copiers in the 300,000–350,000-yen price range. Based on Sharp findings.
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