Technology development history
Igarashi Electric Works motors are used around the world, in a variety of fields.
Chairman Kazuharu Igarashi discussed the company’s history and technical strengths.
The history of Igarashi began with a speaker discovered in a burnt-out
The magnets used in radio speakers
Eiji Igarashi, founder of Igarashi Electric Works, worked at Toshiba during the war as an arms company engineer. The war eventually drew to a close, and Eiji, believing that all he had done had come to naught, left the company.
Strolling through the burnt-out ruins of his town, he came across the speaker of a radio amidst the rubble. The speaker contained a magnet. Eiji wondered what he could make with this magnet, using the technical skills he had developed. He took the radio speaker home with him.
The company’s first product:
a motor for a wooden toy boat
He removed the magnet from the radio speaker and made a simple motor by winding copper wire around it. He took this to a wholesaler and found that it was just the right size and power to be used as a motor for a model or toy. This became Igarashi Electric Works’ first product, a motor for a wooden toy boat.
These toys were popular with US soldiers stationed in Japan, who took them home as souvenirs.
Advances overseas and into the automotive industry
Initially Igarashi Electric Works mainly developed compact motors used in friction toys. It caught the eye of Strombecker, a trading company which sold plastic models and racing car motors in Chicago, in the USA.
Strombecker provided a large number of product samples. The company brought motors used in racing cars, popular at the time in the USA, asking Igarashi to manufacture them, and make more compact versions, which Igarashi did. The technologies developed at this time are still used in Igarashi Electric Works’ main field, the automotive field.
Exclusive supplier of Polaroid camera motors!
Igarashi’s motors selected as
Polaroid cameras took the world by storm in the 1960s and 1970s. For some time Igarashi Electric Works was virtually the sole supplier of the motors used in these cameras.
Polaroid, aware that Japan possessed superior motor technologies, gave motor plans to four Japanese companies, including Igarashi, and had them manufacture sample motors. The company decided to go with Igarashi Electric Works’ motor. Multiple dedicated Polaroid camera assembly lines were set up in the Kashiwazaki Plant, which worked furiously but could barely keep up with demand.
The entire company —
engineers and sales personnel alike —
come together as one to create products
Passing on technologies to later generations
For over 60 years, since the company was first founded, Igarashi Electric Works has maintained a system of creating and refining prototypes to fit customer needs, leading to customer product orders.
Former president and current chairman Kazuharu Igarashi, discussing the passing on of technologies, discussed the secret of the company’s over six decades of manufacturing success, saying “At engineers’ meetings, everyone, led by a leader, offers their own ideas and engages in discussion, repeatedly creating and refining prototypes to create products that fit customers’ desires. That’s how new engineers develop into expert engineers.” He continued, “It’s important that the entire company — engineers and sales personnel alike — come together as one to create products for customers and employees. Igarashi has an environment in which everyone participates, offering ideas and sharing information.”