Mending bags and Minivans

This sack came to the museum with a donation of pre 1940 clothing. I am not sure of the sack’s original purpose, but it was being used as a mending/laundry bag. What attracted my interest was that it had no side seams – it had been loomed on a circular loom. After an online search it turned out this bag had something in common with my minivan.

Seamless mending/laundry bag, c. 1930s

Sakichi Toyoda was born in 1867 and learned carpentry from his father. His interest in machinery lead to him visiting a machinery exposition in Tokyo in 1890. The following year he patented a wooden hand loom that could be used with one hand that increased the speed and efficiency of weaving.

This was the first of many inventions and improvements in textile manufacturing technology that Toyoda developed through a company he founded in Nagoya in 1894. His circular loom that used a shuttle that inserted and beat the weft into place in one motion was developed in 1906. However, it was a steam-powered loom he developed that was his first big success. Toyoda’s talent was in creative development, not facility management, and in 1910 Toyoda resigned from his own company. 

In 1911, after a tour of the world to see other loom technology, Toyoda started another company that by 1918 was called the Toyoda Spinning and Weaving Co. Ltd. This time, however, he brought in his son-in-law to manage the company. The company was successful and expanded in 1921 with a facility in Shanghai.

Circular Loom in the Toyota Museum

Improvements to his circular loom technology were made in 1924. In 1926, Toyoda developed a better method for changing shuttles without any loss of speed during operation of standard looms that lead to his most successful patent – the ‘Type G’ automatic loom. This resulted in the founding of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Ltd. In 1929, the Type G technology was bought by the Platt Brothers & Co. in England for international use. 

Sakichi Toyoda died in 1930, three years before the Toyoda company set up an automobile development department, that produced its first car in 1935. In 1937 the automobile department was separated from the rest of the company and called Toyota Motor Co. Ltd., the forerunner of today’s Toyota Motor Corporation.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
This entry was posted in Textiles and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.