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The Four Kashio Brothers

Successful Development of the 14-A
Repeated Difficulties Overcome Through Collaboration
Successful Development of the 14-A

Repeated Difficulties Overcome Through Collaboration

Division of roles: conception, processing, and improvement
Under the leadership of Tadao and Toshio, the four brothers proceeded to build a prototype of a relay calculator. Tadao was in charge of creating the parts using diagrams drawn up by Toshio. Since Tadao had been developing products with his brother for over six years, he could tell exactly what Toshio had in mind whenever he made slight modifications to the plans. As things progressed, Yukio began working on improvements. He devised a way to increase the durability, and the development proceeded smoothly.
The brothers were also able to secure financial support from a trading company called Taiyo Sales, which imported and sold electric calculators from Europe. This backing further accelerated the development. In 1956, the prototype for the relay calculator was complete. A presentation was to be held in Sapporo, where Taiyo Sales’ head office was located, to promote the new calculator to distributors and customers.
An unexpected difficulty
dooms the presentation
Toshio and Kazuo made for Sapporo to do the presentation. However, at the airport, they faced an unexpected difficulty. The prototype’s protruding keys and screen exceeded regulations, meaning that it could not be loaded onto the airplane. These were very important parts connected via complex wiring. If temporarily removed, there was no guarantee that they would be able to get them working again in time, but the brothers had no choice.
Upon landing in Sapporo, they redid the wiring, but as feared, the prototype did not work. Toshio and Kazuo spent the whole night trying to repair it. By the time morning arrived, they had gotten the addition and subtraction keys working but were unable to fix the multiplication and division keys. Toshio and Kazuo desperately tried to pull off the presentation using slides, but the audience was disappointed. The event was a big failure.
A timely offer arrives
for the brothers
“We’re withdrawing our support.” After the unfortunate presentation, Taiyo Sales told the brothers that the deal was off.
However, a little while after that, the brothers received an unexpected offer. An executive from Uchida Yoko, a stationery and office equipment wholesaler, visited Kashio Seisakujo and said, “Our company would love to sell your calculator.” The brothers had had some previous dealings with Uchida Yoko making microscope parts as a subcontractor in the early days of Kashio Seisakujo. One of the reasons that Uchida Yoko made the offer was that they remembered the high quality of Tadao’s parts.
Afterward, the brothers visited Uchida Yoko’s head office and met with the chairman. A contract was signed, and some of the money was used to pay back Taiyo Sales. The rest was spent on production of the relay calculators, and development continued at a rapid pace.
Efforts finally come to fruition
In June 1957, the relay calculator was finally completed. The brothers named it “14-A” and were able to get it on the market. Their hard work and collaboration had paid off.
In November, a product launch event was held at Sankei Kaikan in Otemachi, Tokyo. Uchida Yoko customers from government offices and large corporations gathered at the venue, and together with Uchida Yoko salesmen, the brothers introduced the new product. The attendees were blown away by the calculator’s smooth performance, and the brothers were greatly relieved to have been able to successfully pull off this second presentation.
Seven years had passed since they had vowed to create the ideal Japanese calculator that would not be outdone by foreign products. Their mission had finally been fulfilled.
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