A Brief History of the Micrometer - Part III

This article is based on an original publication by Mitutoyo.

The Rise of Industry: Expanding Technologies in Japan

During the Meiji period, the Japanese government began to support the growth of its domestic industries through advanced foreign technology. Along with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Railroad Ministry, this effort would lead to the development of industrialization in Japan.

Japan now began to create domestic companies dealing with machine tools, measuring instruments and other advanced industries. During this time, government organizations imported foreign products and assisted in creation of prototypes to support domestic manufacturers in Japan as they readied themselves for production.

Although the current domestic production industry was predominantly textile based, the demand for automobiles and airplanes was only just beginning. In coming years the need for proper measurement tools would grow exponentially.

Domestic Manufacturers Start R&D

With the introduction of the micrometer, Japanese factories saw a significant reduction in the manufacture of faulty goods. In 1918 Snoike Manufacturing Co. developed a prototype micrometer based on C.E. Johansson's model, and the company would display inch and metric micrometers as well as micrometer heads at a machine tool show in 1921. Within the following decade, Tsugami Mfg. Co., Mitutoyo, Mitsui Seiki, NSK and Fujikochi would all begin research and development work on micrometers.

Micrometers by Mitutoyo

In 1934, Mitutoyo founder Yehan Numata purchased a small piece of property in Kamata, Tokyo to begin micrometer R&D efforts in earnest. After several years of trial-and-error attempts, he produced the first commercially available Mitutoyo micrometer in 1937.

A company based on the principle "Good Environment, Good People, and Good Technology", Mitutoyo valued the importance of worker mindset, and Numata believed that good people could result from a supportive working environment. It's a concept that has been employed by Mitutoyo for more than 70 years.

Micrometers During the War

Although Japanese micrometers were soon widely available, Japanese brands were not initially as highly regarded as their imported counterparts. However, as the nation began to prepare for war in 1941, the demand for micrometers increased. Imported goods were restricted and the government authorized Mitutoyo to continue their production of micrometers throughout the remainder of the war.


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