Home > About DAICEL > Chronology > HISTORY of DAICEL GROUP > 1919-1949

1919-1949

Establishment
Our Aboshi Plant, a source of high-quality celluloid
Our Aboshi Plant, a source
of high-quality celluloid
Soon after our business was established, domestic and international markets were brisk; moreover, due to the integration of the technologies of the merged companies, product quality was greatly improved. After World War I, we were hit by the postwar panic of 1920 and had to close our plant, reduce our personnel, and reduce our capital stock.

Business hit bottom in the first half of 1921, but after that, conditions gradually improved. Our plant restarted operations and increased its production capacity.

The vicissitudes of the celluloid material distributors and processors directly affect our business. For this reason, since the establishment of our business, we have placed importance on the healthy development of our distributors and processors.

During the financial crisis and global depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s, we closed our Tokyo Plant and reduced the number of employees. In 1932 and 1933, business conditions recovered and the celluloid industry took a turn toward greater profitability. At that time, we began to benefit from our long years of research on improvements to celluloid quality, and we constructed a celluloid plant at Aboshi that led the world. Our company became the first in the world to lead in terms of both quality and production capacity, and we exported our products to more than 40 countries. This result was the fruit of our emphasis on technology, and considering this result, we began to focus on promoting creation according to our Basic Philosophy.

In 1932, we launched our cellophane business at our Kanzaki Plant in order to meet future demand.
Significant events of that era
1919: Versailles Peace Treaty is concluded.
After World War I, a peace treaty was concluded at Versailles, France.
1923: Great Kanto Earthquake strikes.
At 11:58 a.m. on September 1, a major earthquake hit the Kanto region. The fires and tsunami caused by the earthquake claimed about 91,000 lives (including 76,000 people who died in the fires), with 43,400 people missing. A total of 460,000 houses were either completely burned or destroyed.
1929: Global depression starts.
On Thursday, October 24, the New York Stock Exchange (Wall Street) experienced a severe crash, triggering a worldwide economic depression.
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The photographic film business is created.
Photographic Film Research Center established in our Tokyo Plant
Photographic Film Research Center
established in our Tokyo Plant
Soon after our Company was established, we entered the celluloid business. After that, we decided to advance into the new business of photographic film; therefore, in 1920 we undertook research on photographic film.

In 1928, we constructed a photographic film material testing factory (Film Research Center) in our Tokyo Plant and initiated research on film materials, sensitive materials, and application technology.

While continuing our research on film manufacturing technology, we began construction on a film factory in 1930. After investigating the conditions at several locations, we determined that Ashigara in Kanagawa Prefecture was the optimum location for film manufacturing, and we started construction of the film factory there.

To ensure our future success in the photographic film business, we believed that we should not undertake the same strategies as the celluloid business from the viewpoint of production and sales. Therefore, in 1933 we separated our photographic film business from the Ashigara Plant just before completion of construction and determined that we should establish a new company for our photographic business. After more than a decade of planning and research, we established a company targeting the general photographic industry in 1934. This new company, which inherited our entire photographic film business, was named Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. (currently FUJIFILM Corporation).
Significant events of that era
1925: Universal suffrage is adopted.
On March 29, the Act of Common's Electoral Law was amended and the voting restrictions related to amount of taxes paid were eliminated. As a result, all men aged 25 years old or older had the right to vote. The number of qualified voters, therefore, rose to 12.5 million, representing about 20 percent of the population, or about four times larger than before.
1932: The May 15 Incident
On May 15, nine young naval officers broke into the prime minister's official residence and assassinated Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai. Some time later, other units attacked the residences of ministers, the headquarters of the Seiyukai (a political party), the Metropolitan Police Department, and other locations.
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We enter the organic chemical manufacturing business.
Arai Plant established in Niigata Prefecture for integrated production using carbide
Arai Plant established in Niigata
Prefecture for integrated
production using carbide
Soon after our Company's establishment, we initiated research on production of cellulose acetate while indicating that the weak point of cellulose nitrate was its combustibility.

In 1933, we decided to launch our cellulose acetate business and determined our main policy of promoting integrated production of raw materials (acetic acid and the like) from carbide to ensure self-sourcing and to develop related chemicals. This was the start of our organic chemical manufacturing business.

To establish an acetylene-based organic chemical manufacturing plant, we searched for a location supplied with sufficient electric power available at a low price, with available limestone ore in nearby mountains, and an adequate supply of industrial water. As a result, we decided that Arai in Niigata Prefecture was the optimum place and constructed the Arai Plant in 1935. In this plant, we sequentially undertook production of carbide, acetylene, aldehyde, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, cellulose acetate, ethyl acetate, and acetone.

Acetic anhydride is the most important material for the production of cellulose acetate. The ketene method, therefore, was adopted for the acetic anhydride production facility because this method ensured production of high-purity products. Ketene derivatives and the like are now preferably used for fine chemicals.

Since national policy specified that priority be given to production of war materials, we reduced our production of celluloid as of 1937. In December 1941, when the Pacific War had begun, the entire plant focused on production of war materials until the Pacific War ended in August 1945. Our plants in Sakai, Kanzaki, and Tokyo were damaged in the war, but our Aboshi and Arai Plants remained free from damage in the war. Using these remaining facilities, we returned to production of civilian goods. After that, we overcame several crises related to designated compensation payments, the breakup of the company, and other issues before entering the acetate business and other new businesses.
Significant events of that era
February 1933: A financial crisis strikes the U.S.A.
March 1935: Germany breaks the arms control contract specified in the Versailles Peace Treaty and declares its intention to rearm.
September 1939: World War II begins.
December 1941: The Pacific War begins.
September 1943: Italy unconditionally surrenders to the Allied Forces.
May 1945: Germany unconditionally surrenders to the Allied Forces.
August 1945: Japan accepts the Potsdam Declaration. The Pacific War ends.