Section 4. Establishment of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd.
Item 4. Ring Spinning Frame Development and Automobile Research Starts
Small engine prototype created
In parallel with the development of the high-draft ring spinning frames, Kiichiro also began investigating a plan for the manufacture of automobiles, something he had long hoped to do, as a part of the diversification measures. Kiichiro believed that caution was necessary before entering the automotive industry, which would require massive investment as well as extensive and advanced technological skills.
Kiichiro started with research on and prototype development of a compact engine. Risaburo Oshima and Jiro Iwaoka1 divided their time between textile machinery manufacturing operations and investigation, research, and design concerning automobiles and engine prototypes. Jirokichi Chigusa2 from the die plant also became involved in the production of prototypes. To learn about automobiles, they learned how to ride motorcycles and drive a Hanomag3, an ultra-compact passenger car made in Germany.
In early 1933, a three-ton arc electric furnace (800 kVA) manufactured by Daido Electric Works was installed, and research on advanced casting of automobile components began. Also that year, compact engines were purchased, and by sketching them, 10 small engines were produced. At that time, single-bore cast cylinders for a compact engine were made using cast iron produced in the electric furnace. The completed engines were installed on automobiles and test runs were conducted. These research and prototype activities were conducted under the direction of Kiichiro during breaks from textile machinery manufacturing.