Section 3. Kiichiro Toyoda Invents the Automatic Loom
Item 1. Kiichiro Toyoda Starts Working for Toyoda Boshoku
Taking a study tour of the United States and Europe
In 1921, the Toyoda Boshoku plant in Shanghai (Toyoda Boshoku Sho) was completed, and a ceremony was held at the beginning of May to mark the occasion. Kiichiro Toyoda's mother, Asako, and his sister Aiko and her husband Risaburo had left for Shanghai to attend the ceremony, while Kiichiro remained in Japan to continue learning the ins and outs of the Nagoya plant.
It was in Shanghai that it was decided that Kiichiro and Risaburo, accompanied by his wife, should visit the United States and Europe on a study tour.1 Later, Kiichiro would say of this trip, "When I went overseas a few years back, I wanted to find a good automatic loom, but despite all my searching and investigations, I came back empty handed,"2 alluding to the fact that one of the purposes of the trip had been to investigate automatic looms in England.
On July 29, 1921, Kiichiro, together with his sister and brother-in-law, set off for the United States from Yokohama, after having been sent off the day before by four of his close friends from his high school and university days, including Hideo Kobayashi and Shiro Nukiyama.
They arrived in San Francisco some two weeks later on August 14. Once in the United States, Kiichiro, Aiko and Risaburo spent the rest of August visiting cotton plantations and related facilities, as well as textile factories. The group then left for England, arriving in London on October 1.
In England, they again devoted their time and energy to visiting cotton production facilities and textile factories. Kiichiro organized to receive training at Platt for two weeks from January 15, 1922, so he left his sister and brother-in-law to take up his training at Oldham, outside Manchester. While at Platt and studying the processes and methods for manufacturing spinning machines, Kiichiro also studied cop-changing automatic looms.
At the end of February 1922, Kiichiro, Aiko and Risaburo boarded a Japanese ship in Marseille and returned home after a brief stop in Shanghai.
The training Kiichiro's received at Platt was, certainly valuable when it came time to establish Toyoda Automatic Loom Works.