Design Explained –
Our Original Vacuum Glass Liners

Last year, we celebrated our centennial anniversary as a company, and with you as our customers, we’ve come so far. Founded in 1918 in Osaka, Japan, our company was founded as the Ichikawa Brothers Trading Company, producing vacuum insulated glass liners for carafes. These glass liners were state-of-the-art in 1918, and remain a proven, innovative technology along with our more modern rice cookers, small appliances and vacuum insulated stainless steel products.

Blowing glass by hand

Glass is a surprising material. We encounter it every day in our drinking vessels, windows, jewelry, art and so on. It seems so commonplace but it’s actually a marvel of science and engineering. In its basic form, glass is made by combining silica – one of the most abundant materials on Earth – with other elements in order to produce a material with unique thermal, optical, chemical, mechanical and electrical properties.

Our vacuum glass liners in the Air Pot® dispensers and carafes are made using medical-grade borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass is made by adding boric oxide, a form of the element boron. Because of it’s unique chemical composition, borosilicate glass is more resistant to thermal shock than regular soda-lime glass, meaning that it won’t shatter or crack when exposed to sudden temperature change. It’s also clear, moldable and easily cleanable, making it an ideal material for glass liners.

Carafe with a glass liner

To make these glass liners, we first create an outer vessel in the shape and size of the carafe or dispenser, then make an inner vessel, which is placed inside the outer vessel. We then coat the interior of the vacuum wall between the two vessels with silver plating to give it heat reflecting properties. Finally the air between the two vessels is removed to create vacuum insulation, which maintains the temperature of the contents of the inner vessel.

Vacuum Glass Liner

Words don’t do the process justice, so check out our video of how our glass liners are made in our factory in Osaka, Japan.

It’s no wonder that we’ve been obsessed with glass liners for a hundred years. We are proud to manufacture quality products for our customers, using this innovative and wonderful material.

Share your favorite Zojirushi product with us, and let us know if you have one of vacuum insulated glass liner products!

Design Explained –
Our Innovative Lids

It’s summer time and we always have one of our vacuum insulated mugs on hand. Water, iced tea, hot beverages…no matter what, our stainless mugs are designed to let you carry your favorite beverage in style.

Over the years, we’ve listened to your feedback, and incorporated four smart design features into the lids we use for our stainless mugs: the two-step release and the safety lock in the flip-open mugs, the covered sipping area and the disassembling parts for all mugs.

Step 1

Flip-open lids are super convenient. They’re great in any situation where one-handed operation is required, such as when traveling. The two-step release in our flip-open lids works by allowing the lid open in 2-steps. The first step happens when you push and hold the open button. The open button hooks onto the lid and prevents it from opening, and at the same time, allowing condensation on the lid to flow back into the mug. When you release the button as the second step, the spring at the hinge of the lid will allow the lid to spring open, and because of the first step, wont’ fling any condensation at your friend while doing so. As long as nothing is impeding the back of the lid, the lid will open all the way and stay in place, making it easy to drink without getting bumped in the face by a wobbly lid.

Step 2

The smart safety lock feature of the flip-open lids ensures that the lid doesn’t accidentally open in a bag or purse, causing leaks and spills.

Safety Lock

Along with these great features, both the flip-open and twist-open lids are designed to keep the sipping area clean by keeping it covered when you’re not taking a sip, so you don’t have to worry about getting sand on the sip area if it tips over at the beach. . Perfect for summer beach days!

Clean sipping area!

And finally, the disassembling parts of our lids, whether flip-open or twist-open, mean the lids can be thoroughly cleaned. It’s the worst to find that you’ve been cleaning the lids of other bottles and yet there is still dirt, or worse, mold, inside the components. Each piece is washable and gaskets allow the re-assembled lid to fit tightly and securely.

Disassembling lid of SM-TAE48SA

Disassembling lid of SM-NAE48SA

Each of these features make our stainless mugs stylish and functional…all part of our commitment to smart design. Let us know which mug you have and how you like the lids in the comments below!

Design Explained –
Micom Intelligence

“Inspirations from everyday life” is at the core of our business. And for the large majority of Japanese, cooking rice is at the center of their daily activities, a task that involves sourcing, washing, soaking, cooking, steaming, fluffing and serving short-grained, perfectly cooked Japanese rice.

We’ve created an amazing line up of rice cookers to help with this everyday task, and this month in our Design Explained series, we talk about the benefits of our Micom rice cookers.

First of all, what is a rice cooker? A rice cooker is an electric machine that automates parts of the process for cooking rice. Traditionally, rice has been cooked in a pot, with water, over a flame. With a rice cooker, the steps that convert the hard rice kernel into a fluffy, edible staple is automated. Conventional rice cookers, which are the most basic type of rice cookers, simply boil rice, managing turning off when there is no water left in the pot. Our Micom rice cookers, however, automate soaking, cooking and steaming. Our Micom rice cooker that include induction heating and a combination of induction heating and pressure apply additional technologies to prepare perfect rice.

But what really is Micom and how does it work?

Micom is an abbreviation of “microcomputer”, meaning that a microcomputer is built into the rice cooker to control the rice cooking process.

The microcomputer, in this instance, works to automate as much of the cooking process as possible, so that only washing before and fluffing after are manual tasks. With a conventional rice cooker, the cook would have to manage washing the rice, the soaking time, monitor how it steams after boiling, and fluff prior to serving as well. In fact, there is a Japanese saying that explains the benefit of the microcomputer’s work:

Hajime choro-choro Naka pa-ppa Akago naite mo Futa toruna!” meaning “At first it bubbles, and then it hisses. Even if the baby cries, don’t open the lid!” It’s so much easier to let the Micom rice cooker do the work, and better yet, do it on a timer, so that it’s done in one efficient shot.

Our Micom rice cookers also create ideal cooking environments for various types of rice and rice dishes. For example, many of our rice cookers have a setting for sushi rice, which the microcomputer knows to cook for a specific time and at a specific temperature so that it cooks to the required firmness. Some of our rice cookers also have a setting for GABA Brown Rice, which adjusts the soaking time and temperature to increase GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in brown rice. And they have a setting for porridge, which ensures that the extra water needed to make the soupy rice doesn’t boil over.

Which Zojirushi rice cooker do you have? And have you made the two main staples of Japanese cuisine – White Rice and Brown Rice – following our recipes? Let us know in the comments below!

Design Explained –
Our Easy-Release Magnetic Power Cord

Our Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillets (EP-RAC50 and EP-PBC10) and our water boilers are designed with a unique feature that keeps them powered up and safe: our magnetic power cord.

Magnetic power cords are ubiquitous when it comes to laptops, mobile devices and other tech products, but we’ve used these types of power cords in our products since 1982, when we introduced them in a new water boiler for the Japanese market.

Since then, we realized that adding magnetic power cords to most of our water boilers and electric skillets was the smart thing to do, because both of these categories of products tend to contain large amounts of heated liquid. Imagine if you walked by a full water boiler that was resting on a countertop, snagged your foot on the power cord, and toppled the water boiler over. The result would be quite scary. Same goes for our skillets, which are so convenient for cooking at the table. In the event of a snag by a foot or chair, the power cord would detach, preventing the skillet from being pulled from the table.

So convenient is this design that we even get phone calls from customers saying “My power cord is broken!” While the magnets that hold the power cord attached to the skillets or water boilers are strong, they’re made to detach easily. No tugging is required, making this design both smart and safe. As an added bonus, the magnet also makes the power cord easy to attach too!

Check out our water boilers, skillets and other great products in the Products section of our website, and be sure to comment with any questions you might have.

Design Explained –
Our Steam Vent Caps

Do you know that most of our rice cookers have a cap on the steam vent? Compared to conventional rice cookers, our advanced rice cookers – the ones that utilize a microcomputer – are sleeker, with tight-fitting components and lids. We make these rice cookers with steam venting systems that consists of three components – a vent, a vent cap, and a vent cap receptacle.

This is the Steam Vent Cap!

Each piece of the venting system has a purpose. The vent is a tube-like opening that goes through the cover and inner lid, into the body of the rice cooker where the inner pan rests. The vent is covered by the steam vent cap, which rests in the steam vent cap receptacle, keeping it securely on the cover of the rice cooker. The entire system is built to seamlessly blend into the top of the rice cookers. One customer even brought his appliance into our office inquiring about the system because he didn’t realize it was there!

Can you spot the Steam Vent Cap?

The steam venting system works in conjunction with good rice prep. The first step is to correctly measure the right amount of rice and water. Then, it’s important to wash the rice correctly, removing excess starch and bran or dust from the rice kernels. Once the rice begins cooking, the rice cooker releases excess steam through the vent, and the steam vent cap catches any foamy substances that come out with the steam. The rice cooks better this way because the steam vent cap allows the rice cooker to cook your rice at a higher heat, without worrying about overflow because the steam vent cap can capture excess moisture and bubbles that may foam up.

Yay for delicious rice!

As long as the vent cap is washed under running water and the steam vent cap receptacle area is wiped with a soft cloth to remove any moisture, the steam venting system in your Zojirushi advanced rice cooker should work wonderfully. Remember to remove and clean the inner lid and you’ll have perfectly cooked rice every time!

Don’t forget to remove and clean the Inner Lid!

Check out our full line up in the Products section, and be sure to comment with any questions you might have.