Toshiba‘s early history has two strands: One is Tanaka Seizo-sho (Tanaka Engineering Works), established in 1882, and based on a factory started by Hisashige Tanaka (1799-1881) in 1875.
Tanaka was well known from his youth for creations that included mechanical dolls and a perpetual clock.
Eventually, under the name Shibaura Seisaku-sho (Shibaura Engineering Works), his company became one of Japan‘s largest manufacturers of heavy electrical apparatus.
The other is Hakunetsu-sha & Co., Ltd. established as Japan's first manufacturer of incandescent lamps. Subsequent diversification saw the company evolve as a manufacturer of consumer products. In 1899, it became Tokyo Denki (Tokyo Electric Co.).
In 1939, these two companies, leaders in their respective fields, merged to form an integrated electric equipment manufacturer, Tokyo Shibaura Denki (Tokyo Shibaura Electric Co., Ltd.). The company was soon well known as 'Toshiba,' which became its official name in 1978