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Hashimoto in lab

Hashimoto refining his telephone answering device.

Hashimoto and Müller

Dr. Hashimoto with Willy Müller, the Swiss inventor, who created one of the earliest automatic answering machines in 1935.

Hashimoto and Müller

Dr. Hashimoto with Jack Kilby, the inventor of the monolithic integrated circuit, known as the microchip, created at Texas Instruments in 1958.


Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto’s legacy.

In his lifetime, Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto registered over 1000 patents throughout the world. Over 800 patents are related to the telephone answering device. More than 100 of his patents were awarded in the United States alone.

He was one of the select individuals in Japan esteemed as a Living National Treasure, and today, is widely recognized as the father of the modern answering machine.

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Early answering
device marketed in
Japan circa 1958.

Dr. Hashimoto applied for his first patent in 1951 followed by a flurry of inventions including an electronic soldering iron and a wristwatch with alarm.

In 1954 Hashimoto began developing what resulted in the first commercially viable answering machine offered for sale directly to homes and offices. The product, named “ANSA FONE,” was marketed in the United States in 1960. The ANSA FONE and many of Hashimoto’s early prototypes are in the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Hashimoto's first Caller ID patent was filed in Japan in 1976, with two U.S. patents issued in December 1980 and January 1985.

Comparisons have been made between Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto and Thomas Alva Edison. Edison, who holds the record for the most patents issued to one person, had 1,097

patents and an invention factory that at one time numbered more than 2,000 employees. Hashimoto achieved 1,000 patents and did this with a staff of fewer than 20 people.

Dr. Hashimoto’s contributions to technology extend beyond the patents that bear his name. He collaborated with other inventors and corporations to refine TAD technology with creative manufacturing and marketing ideas, including pioneering contributions to Caller ID and the digital answering machine.

Philanthropist and educator

Dr. Hashimoto was more than a great inventor. He was a philanthropist, educator, and inspiration to many. Throughout his life, Hashimoto worked with students instilling in them his great enthusiasm for developing new technologies.

In 1988, Hashimoto established the Fontel Foundation, a non-profit organization founded to promote research and development in telephony.

A chronology of Dr. Hashimoto’s achievements:

First patent application for a backup system device for lighting in the event of a power failure.

the first telephone answering device offered for sale in the United States.

Kazuo Hashimoto’s first United States Patent was granted for his telephone answering device.

Awarded the National Yellow Ribbon Medal by the emperor of Japan.

Honorary Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, awarded by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The Hashimoto Prize and Hashimoto Endowment established at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Bust of Dr. Hashimoto unveiled at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in tribute to the legendary inventor.

ANSA FONE goes on permanent exhibit at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California.

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