A friend of mine (who's more often right than wrong) claims that Sony Corporation was originally founded by Shell Oil of New York during the occupied-Japan period after WW2. I find it hard to believe that I have never heard that before, but then I've never heard of a Japanese named "Sony" either. Is my friend right, once again?
-- Jeff, via e-mail
Lay this on your friend the next time he's pummeling you with facts. 1. There is no such company as Shell Oil of New York. 2. There was a Standard Oil of New York. 3. Oil companies have their hands full already; why would they want to go into the consumer electronics business? 4. Sony's original name was Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo, a.k.a., Totsuko (founded, 1946, by two guys in Japan who repaired radios). 5. Totsuko marketed products with the brand name Sony (or Soni), 1950. 6. "Sony," from sonus, Latin for "sound." 8. Totsuko dominated Japanese market. 9. Americans couldn't remember or pronounce Totsuko. 9. Corporate name changed to Sony, 1958, in order to dominate U.S. market. 10. The plan worked.