We check out the history of Makita and celebrate their 100th birthday
Makita are 100 years old and far from being an old-biddy waiting for a letter from the Queen, Makita are pushing ever further forward into the future. The past 100 years has seen a ridiculous number of technological milestones that have had an enormous impact on the world… the jet engine, the invention of the internet, the development of hair implant technology for overpaid footballers (Wayne Rooney, I’m looking at you). But, although not as famous as some of these achievements, Makita’s quality tools and ceaseless innovation have meant that their impact on the modern world and the construction of it, is undeniable. Let’s jump in the DeLorean and take a trip back in time…
In the beginning, there were lights. And transformers. And motors.
Makita was founded in Nagoya City, Japan in 1915 as ‘Makita Electric Works’ with the sole intention of selling and repairing lighting equipment, transformers and electric motors but they were destined for much more than this…
Gradually building their business enterprises, it was during the height of rock-n-roll in 1958 when the very first Makita power tools – the portable electric planer and portable groove cutter – were released to the world. This foray into the power tool market proved so successful that Makita shifted their focus, dedicating the company entirely to the manufacture of electric power tools in 1959.
The first rechargeable power tool in the world
As the 60’s dawned, the company continued to be at the forefront of power tool technology, releasing their first electric circular saw and electric drill in 1962. In 1969 they revolutionised portability in the construction industry by releasing the very first rechargeable tool – the 6500D battery powered drill. The user carried a rechargeable power pack around with them, connected via a cable so although it was portable, it was not cordless by any means. Still, 6500D ushered in a new way of thinking to the power tool industry – freeing the users from the constraints of being tied to fixed mains power supply. A real leap-forward in technology, this tool meant the sixties were revolutionary for tradesmen with dust on their clothes as well as long-haired hippies with flowers in their hair.
As the groovy 1970’s dawned, the company started to spread their wings internationally, Makita established offices in the USA, France, UK, Australia, Canada, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Germany. This has continued right up to the present day and now Makita are represented in nearly every continent across the globe – Europe, Asia, Africa, The Middle East, Australasia, South & North America and The Moon all have Makita offices. Maybe not The Moon but you never know…
Makita releases the holy grail of construction – The First Cordless Tool
All those years of steadfast research and development came to its zenith in 1978 with the introduction of the world’s first fully cordless power tool. The Makita 6010D cordless drill was nothing short of a revolution in thinking which the industry has not looked back from since. This tool featured Makita’s first removable nickel cadmium (NiCD) battery and although this model lacks the power that we’d take for granted today it’s easy to imagine how much of a difference this tool and all its descendants has had on tradesman’s lives over the decades. You cannot underestimate the influence this pioneering tool has had on sites YOU work on right now.
This paved the way for Makita to become the leaders in the cordless tool market, so much so that to date, they have the biggest range of cordless tools in the world. In 1987, there were 25 cordless tools – now, there’s 100’s, all running from the same battery.
The capital city of Makita Europe – Milton Keynes
Although the company came to the UK in the first instance in 1972 – manufacturing tools from Telford, it was during the height of Britpop in 1995 when Makita established their Milton Keynes HQ as their European base. The manufacturing base in Telford is the only production plant for professional power tools in the UK and produces some of Makita’s most popular product lines, including the MXT Combi Drill.
New Millennium – New Technologies
As the new millennium dawned, battery innovation was around the corner with lithium-ion technology being implemented into Makita’s TD130D in 2005. This shift from the less reliable and basic NiCD and NiMH batteries to Li-ion was significant, something that Makita and many other manufacturers have not looked back from. Now, li-ion is the standard battery for all modern cordless tools with high efficiency, awesome runtime and light weight making them the obvious and best choice for all tradesmen.
In 2004, Makita developed the latest in motor technology - brushless motors. These motors were created to make tools more powerful, with longer life and extended runtime. Engineered with the military and aerospace industries in mind, these efficient motors were ideal for precision applications. Consequently, in 2009 they installed these motors into the very first 18v Brushless Impact Driver and the brushless range has been expanding ever since.
Question is, what Makita drills have you used over the years? Check out our little infographic below and let us know, either in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and don’t forget to share it too!
The 100 anniversary range
So then – how to celebrate this momentous occasion? I know a cake, balloons and whatnot are the usual way to celebrate a birthday but Makita have gone that extra mile so everyone can get involved! Their 100th Anniversary products are familiar machines that we all know and love but given some extra pizazz! They feature a metallic blue finish that really looks super-awesome, much more bling… Also, they come with the new black MACPAK stacking cases so all in all, these anniversary products look even more badass than usual!
Here at ITS we’ll be stocking:
- 100th Anniversary metallic blue finish
- Max. in masonry: 16mm
- Max. in steel: 13mm
- Max. in wood: 76mm
- Max torque: 115Nm
- Includes 1 x 5.0Ah battery and Type 2 Black MAKPAC stacking case
- 100th Anniversary metallic blue finish
- Max in steel: 13mm
- Max in wood: 38mm
- Max in masonry: 13mm
- Max torque S/H: 36/50Nm
- Includes 1 x 4.0Ah battery and Type 2 Black MAKPAC stacking case
- Metallic Blue DHP481 Combi Drill
- Metallic Blue DTD129 Impact Driver
- 2 x 5.0Ah batteries
- Metallic Blue DC18RD Twin Port Charger – giving you the option of charging 2 batteries at the same time
- 2 x Type 3 Black MAKPAC Stacking Cases
So there you go, 100 years of Makita and they’re still rocking and rolling into the 21st Century with innovations and developments that make your life easier! We’re loving the anniversary editions of their tools, but what do you think? Are you an avid Makita fanboy and can’t wait to get hold of these special tools? Let us know below in the comments section.