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2012年3月18日 (日)

Why the 1950's (Part 4)

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

(↓↓↓Click on photo to enlarge↓↓↓)Img_0358_2

In this post we continue to examine factors that contributed to making bicycles from the 1950's so unique.  As noted earlier in the series (Part 1) following the war, munition plants were converted to peacetime production.  So precision tooling for parts was in place, but, as noted in (Part 2) it took a decade (1953-63) for industrial standards to fully spread through the entire bicycle industry. This coupled with lack of automation (Part 3) meant that bicycles were still to some degree crafted and largely built by hand. 

Those former munition plants which converted to bicycle manufacturing included:

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Tsu Machinery Works)
Kayaba Industries (Gifu Works),
Nihon Kinzoku Sangyo
Nakanishi Kinzoku
Handa Kinzoku
Fuji-koshi Kozai,
Fuji Sangyou (Ohta Works)
Takasago Tekko,
Amatsuji Kogyo
Katakura Kogyo
Nishinihon Kogyo
Nayakama Taiyodo
Daido Seiko
Daiwa Boseki.

What is important to note here is the influx of companies into the bicycle industry.  Not only were the plants themselves converted but the engineers and skilled labor force that had formerly been producing munitions were now focusing on bicycles. This placed great pressure on traditional finished bicycle manufacturers which were producing before, during and after the war such as Miyata Seisakusho, Okamoto Bicycle Company and others.  The beauty of capitalism is that "Competition breeds a better product".  And the demand for bicycles at the time coupled with the influx of companies and skilled labor set the stage for a period (1950's) which I refer to as The Golden Age of Utility Bicycles in Japan.

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