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Masao Horiba Collection

Identifier: 2022-510

Scope and Content

The Masao Horiba Collection contains a of handful miscellaneous items pertaining to Japanese businessman, corporate executive, and HORIBA, Limited founder Masao Horiba. The materials in this collection provide a general overview of Masao Horiba’s life and professional career.

Two photocopied Japanese newspaper articles about Masao Horiba, a HORIBA, Limited product catalog, and a seating chart for an unidentified function (possibly the 2006 Pittcon Heritage Award Celebration) are found in this collection. A photograph of Masao Horiba with Chemical Heritage Foundation founding president Arnold Thackray is also present in this collection. Three DVDs, which contain video recordings featuring Masao Horiba, including those of his 80th birthday celebration and the 2006 Pittcon Heritage Award celebration are preserved here as well.


  • Creation: 2004-2006


Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.

Copyright Information

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Masao Horiba Collection. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Background Note

Masao Horiba (1924-2015) was a Japanese businessman, corporate executive, and the founder of HORIBA, Limited, a manufacturer of measurement and analysis instruments. Born in Kyoto, Japan on December 1, 1924, Horiba became interested in science at a young age. He enrolled at Kyoto Imperial University in 1943, where he studied nuclear physics under physicist Bunsaku Arakatsu.

Horiba’s university education was interrupted by service in the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces during World War II. In the military, he served in the Japanese army’s research center, where he designed a never completed radar system for the Shusui aircraft. When the war ended, Horiba returned to Kyoto Imperial University, but soon left to go into business for himself.

In 1945, Horiba established his own firm, Horiba Radio Laboratory. The new concern initially built emergency power outage lamps, but its product line soon expanded to include high-speed counters, electric-pulse oscillators, and high-quality capacitors. During the Korean War, Horiba identified a need for a reliable low-cost pH meter adapted to Japan’s humid climate. In response to this, Horiba Radio Laboratory introduced the Model H pH meter. The Model H quickly found favor with Japan’s agrichemical industry and the sales of this instrument allowed Horiba Radio Laboratory to grow.

In 1953, Horiba incorporated his firm, renaming it HORIBA, Limited. The firm continued to improve the Model H pH meter and expanded its product line to include inorganic single crystal windows and infrared-based gas analyzers (1958). During the early 1960s, the Japanese government suggested that HORIBA should build an analyzer for automobile emissions testing. Under the direction of Masashiro Oura, HORIBA developed the MEXA analyzer. The MEXA analyzer soon became the world standard for automobile emissions testing.

HORIBA, Limited became a publicly traded company in 1971. The firm continued to grow, establishing a subsidiary in the United States and affiliates in Europe and Asia. In 1978, HORIBA celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary and adopted its corporate motto “Joy and Fun.” That same year, Masao Horiba retired as president and assumed the office of Chairman (1978-1995). He later served as HORIBA’s Board Chairman (1995-2005) and Supreme Counsel (2005-2015).

Masao Horiba was an active member of several Japanese business organizations. He was a recipient of the Japanese Government’s Blue Ribbon Medal (1982) and the Pittcon Heritage Award, which was jointly awarded by the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and the Chemical Heritage Foundation (2006).

Masao Horiba passed away on July 14, 2015.


Masao Horiba, Interview by David C. Brock at HORIBA, Limited, Kyoto, Japan, 19-20 November 2004, Science History Institute Oral History Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Masao Horiba Collection, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


0.10 Linear Feet (1 Folder)

Language of Materials




Newspaper articles, product catalog, seating chart, photograph, and DVD video recordings pertaining to Japanese businessman, corporate executive, and HORIBA, Limited founder Masao Horiba.

Acquisition Information

The Masao Horiba Collection was donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Horiba, Limited in 2007.

Related Materials

The Oral History Interview with Masao Horiba is preserved at the Science History Institute Oral History Collection in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Processing Information

The Masao Horiba Collection was processed by Kenton G. Jaehnig in September 2022.

Digital Archivist Sarah Newhouse removed a duplicate DVD from this collection in 2024.

Masao Horiba Collection
Finding aid created and encoded into EAD by Kenton G. Jaehnig.
September 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Science History Institute Archives Repository

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19106 United States
215.873.5265 (Fax)