Platinum Metals Rev., 1985, 29, (2), 73
The Centenary of Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo
Leading Japanese Manufacturer of Platinum Products
The well known Japanese precious metals concern, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K. this year celebrates the 100th Anniversary of its foundation by Umekichi Tanaka, grandfather of Junichiro Tanaka, who has been President since 1963. Commencing activities in 1885 with the melting and refining of gold and silver coin to produce supplies of these metals for trade and industry, the company soon moved into platinum, to become in time the leading Japanese suplier of this metal, of which there are no indigenous sources.
Starting with the recovery of the metal from the leads of old electric light bulbs the company moved on to the manufacture of platinum sheet, wire, crucibles, electrodes, gauze catalysts and spinnerets, winning an award for apparatus at the first major Japanese industrial exhibition 78 years ago. By 1920 Tanaka had become regular customers of Johnson Matthey, London, for supplies of their platinum and in 1956 were appointed sole agents in Japan.
To encourage interest in the platinum metals, Tanaka issued a Japanese language edition of “A History of Platinum and its Allied Metals” in 1983, while in 1984 they commenced the publication of Platinum Metals Review in Japanese.
Tanaka enjoys a first class reputation in Japan and the Far East for its platinum products both for industry and the jewellery trade. Catalysts for the control of automobile exhaust emission, as well as bushings for the glass fibre industr, thermocouples and other specialised platinum fabrications, may be supplied by a subsidiary company, Tanaka Matthey K.K. established in 1969.