Section 2. The Businesses of Sakichi Toyoda

Item 1. Setbacks at Toyoda Loom Company

Resignation as managing director of Toyoda Loom Company

During the approximately three years he served as managing director of Toyoda Loom Company, Sakichi Toyoda was able to focus solely on technological development. In the four years from 1907 to 1910 he registered 16 patents, in the most prolific period of his lifetime. By contrast Sakichi registered 13 patents in the 10 years from 1897 to 1906. His output rose tripled from 1.3 patents per year during this period to four per year during his time at Toyoda Loom Company.

Sakichi's approach toward invention was to test each new device to identify the points that needed improvement1, and he struggled at Toyoda Loom Company as the facility did not have a textile testing plant. The testing plant at Toyoda Shokai was abolished with the founding of Toyoda Loom Company, and in February 1907 Nagoya Shokufu Company was established as a testing plant for narrow-width iron looms. However, this facility was not sufficiently capable of testing looms to satisfy Sakichi.2

Despite the opposition of the top management of Toyoda Loom Company, Sakichi established a private testing plant in Nishiyabushita-cho, Nishi-ku, Nagoya City (currently Kikui 1-chome, Nishi-ku). 30 units of the H Model broad-width regular iron loom (completed in November 1908) were later installed at the plant, and in February 1909 the testing plant began operation as a business site, the Toyoda Shokufu Kikui Plant.3

As exhibited by this case, there was a difference of opinion regarding research and development between Sakichi and the management of Toyoda Loom Company. This rift grew wider, culminating in Sakichi's resignation in April 1910. The following exchange between the two parties is described in Toyoda Sakichi Den (The Life of Sakichi Toyoda).

In the end, president Taniguchi told me (Sakichi), "I believe the reason the company's performance is lagging is because the employees' attention is consumed by all this invention and testing. I'm sorry Toyoda, but I'm going to have to ask you to resign". I couldn't contain my anger. I stormed out of the room, went home, and wrote my resignation letter immediately.4

Following this, Toyoda Loom Company merged with Nagoya Shokufu Company in August 1913, with the plant taking the Nagoya Shokufu Company name. The plant was used as a testing plant, and after development of the Model N broad-width regular iron loom in June 1914 became a public show plant for the new loom.5At the Toyoda Shokufu Kikui Plant, spinning processes were not installed in parallel, and as a result it was not included in the 1942 spinning plant reorganization (merger of five Toyoda and Toyo Menka-related companies) and remained independent.6

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