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September 24: Soichiro Honda incorporates the Honda Motor Co. on this date in 1948


When World War II ended, mechanic and tinkerer Soichiro Honda sold his piston-ring business to Toyota and asked his wife to take care of him for a year-long "human holiday" of unemployment. Neighbors called Honda "a wizard at not working," and he became known for spending his days puttering around the house and garden while drinking with his pals at night. But when Honda ended his vacation, he did so with a head full of ideas about what to do next — from rotary looms to popsicle machines to small engines that could run on the fuels post-war Japan had. On this date in 1948, Honda turned his 33-person engine research shop into Honda Giken Kogyo — the Honda Motor Co., builder of inexpensive motorcycles. Within a decade, Soichiro Honda would have his motorcycles competing in the Isle of Man TT, and set the pattern of improvements through racing that turned Honda into one of the world's most successful car makers. Here's Garrison Keillor with one of the stories from that era: