Founder Sakichi Toyoda (born in 1867) invented the Toyoda Power loom in 1896. He went on to establish Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. in 1926.

Courtesy Toyota Archives

Founder Sakichi Toyoda (born in 1867) invented the Toyoda Power loom in 1896. He went on to establish Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. in 1926.

Courtesy Toyota Archives

An Abridged History of Toyota

Toyoda Sakichi
Toyoda Sakichi

Founder Sakichi Toyoda (born in 1867) invented the Toyoda Power loom in 1896. He went on to establish Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. in 1926.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
Power Looms
Power Looms

In 1929 he sold the automatic loom patent to Platt Brothers & Co., Ltd. just a few years before setting up the first Toyoda automobile department.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
Model A1
Model A1

The first Model-A prototype car was created in 1935. That same year, "The Toyota Precepts" were established as a set of guidelines for management of the company. Among these five precepts is the instruction to "always stay ahead of the times through research and creativity." The final precept is "be reverent and conduct your life in thankfulness and gratitude." In 1937 Kiichiro Toyoda (not pictured above) founded the automobile company, breaking it free from his father's company.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
1947 Model SB
1947 Model SB

In the 1940's Toyota's steel department split off, the Toyoda Hospital was built, and the company became listed on the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya Stock Exchanges. The truck, pictured here, is the 1947 Model SB which was popular with the American occupation forces.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
Engine Innovation
Engine Innovation

The 1950's saw a great deal of innovation for the company, including the introduction of the S-type and P-type gasoline engines and the D-type diesel engine. This decade also saw the production of Toyota's first fork-lift. Here, Japanese buyers from Toyoda inspect engines at the Hanover Fair in 1954.

Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image
Hollywood, 1957
Hollywood, 1957

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. was established in Hollywood in 1957. Even back then, Toyota was stalking U.S. car makers.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
The Toyopet
The Toyopet

The 1958 Toyopet Crown being loaded onto a ship for transport across the seas. All small vehicles were under the name Toyopet. The name was dropped in the U.S.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
Groovy Cars!
Groovy Cars!

Toyota line 1969, from an ad. Dig the groovy go-go boots!

Courtesy Toyota Archives
4-wheel drive
4-wheel drive

In 1979, Toyota introduced the 4-wheel drive truck.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
A Merger
A Merger

In 1982, the Toyota Motor Company and Toyota Motor Sales merged into one company, the Toyota Motor Corporation.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
A Luxury Brand
A Luxury Brand

Toyota began to branch into other car categories with the 1989 launch of Lexus as a luxury division of Toyota.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
Introducting the Hybrid
Introducting the Hybrid

Enter the Prius and the start of the hybrid cars. Above, a journalist takes a a close look at a gasoline engine, left, and an electric power train, right, placed side by side under the hood of the world's first gasoline-electric hybrid car, Prius, unveiled to reporters in Tokyo on Oct. 14, 1997.

AP Photo
Taking Flight
Taking Flight

A Toyota-logo airplane flying the Corolla name.

Courtesy Toyota Archives
A New Line: the Scion
A New Line: the Scion

Toyota introduced a concept version of the Scion at the New York International Automobile Show in 2002.

AFP/Getty Images
It Plays Music, too
It Plays Music, too

A trumpet-playing robot built by Toyota Motor Corp. performs in the Toyota Group pavilion at the 2005 Aichi Expo in Japan.

BLOOMBERG
Toyota City
Toyota City

Workers prepare to set a solar panel on the rooftop of a model house for the Toyota City Low-Carbon Verification Project in the Higashiyama district of Toyota City, Japan.

Bloomberg
NUMMI
NUMMI

Workers, union leaders, community members and politicians rally outside the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. factory to keep vehicle assembly plant open in Fremont, California, U.S. The plant was opened as joint venture with General Motors in 1984 and closed in 2010 when GM pulled out of the partnership. The facility is now a Tesla Motors plant.

Bloomberg
Unintended Acceleration
Unintended Acceleration

Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., at a press conference in , Japan, in 2010 announcing Toyota.'s U.S. recall of 5.6 million vehicles because of possible unintended acceleration.

Bloomberg
Over a Century of Growth
Over a Century of Growth

Toyota has come a long way in the past century. In 2011, Toyota had 317,716 employees, reported $222.2 billion in revenue and sold 7,308,039 vehicles worldwide.

Bloomberg