[WorldKings - World Almanac Event 2020] 114th year anniversary of the birth of Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Company, Ltd. (November 17, 1906 – November 17, 2020)

17-11-2020

(WorldKings.org) Soichiro Honda (17 November 1906 – 5 August 1991) was a Japanese engineer and industrialist. In 1948, he established Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and oversaw its expansion from a wooden shack manufacturing bicycle motors to a multinational automobile and motorcycle manufacturer.

 

Honda was born in Kōmyō village, Iwata District, Shizuoka, near Hamamatsu on November 17, 1906. He spent his early childhood helping his father, Gihei Honda, a blacksmith, with his bicycle repair business. At the time his mother, Mika Honda, was a weaver.

 

 

Even as a toddler, Honda had been thrilled by the first car that was ever seen in his village. In later life, he would often say that he could never forget the smell of oil it gave off. Soichiro once borrowed one of his father's bicycles to see a demonstration of an airplane made by pilot Art Smith, which cemented his love for machinery and invention.

At 15, without any formal education, Honda left home and headed to Tokyo to look for work. He obtained an apprenticeship at a garage in 1922. After some hesitation over his employment, he stayed for six years, working as a car mechanic before returning home to start his own auto repair business in 1928 at the age of 22.

 

 

In 1937, Honda founded Tōkai Seiki to produce piston rings for Toyota. During World War II, a US B-29 bomber attack destroyed Tōkai Seiki's Yamashita plant in 1944 and the Iwata plant collapsed in the 1945 Mikawa earthquake. After the war, Honda sold the salvageable remains of the company to Toyota for ¥450,000 and used the proceeds to found the Honda Technical Research Institute in October 1946.

 

 

In 1948 he started producing a complete motorized bicycle, the Type A, which was driven by the first mass-produced engine designed by Honda, and was sold until 1951. The Type D in 1949 was a true motorcycle with a pressed-steel frame designed and produced by Honda and with a 2-stroke, 98 cc (6.0 cu in) 3 hp (2.2 kW) engine, and became the very first model in the Dream series of motorcycles. The Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan (in Japanese) lists both the Type A and the Type D models as two of their 240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology.

 

 

After the war, Honda became reacquainted with his friend, whom he had known during his days as a supplier of piston rings to Nakajima Aircraft Company. In 1949, Honda hired Fujisawa, who oversaw the financial side of the company and helped the firm expand. In 1959, Honda Motorcycles opened its first dealership in the United States.n As president of the Honda Motor Company, Soichiro Honda turned the company into a billion-dollar multinational that produced the best-selling motorcycles in the world.

 

 

Honda remained president until his retirement in 1973, where he stayed on as director and was appointed "supreme advisor" in 1983. His status was such that People magazine placed him on their "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year" list for 1980, dubbing him "the Japanese Henry Ford."  Soichiro Honda died on August 5, 1991.

According to en.wikipedia


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