Sakichi Toyoda

Thursday 14th February 1867

Born on this day, Sakichi Toyoda, whose textile machinery company spawned the Toyota Motor Corporation. In 2008, Toyota surpassed the American auto giant General Motors (GM) to become the world’s largest automaker. Referred to as Japan’s Thomas Edison, Sakichi Toyoda invented a variety of weaving machines, including an automatic power loom, and founded Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. By the late 1920’s, Toyoda’s son Kiichiro, who worked for the family business, had begun plans, with his father’s support, to develop an automobile. Sakichi Toyoda died on October 30, 1930, at the age of 63. In 1933, Kiichiro Toyoda established an auto division within Toyoda Loom Works, which released a prototype vehicle two years later. In 1937, Toyota Motor Corporation was formed as a spinoff of Toyoda Loom Works. (“Toyota” was reportedly considered a luckier name than “Toyoda” and is easier to write in Japanese characters).

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