In about 1984 or 1985 I stumbled into my LBS and enquired about a triple chainset, because a tour to the alps was in the offing. They offered me an 'Allez' chainset; I'd seen these chainsets fitted to various Holdsworthy bikes (Claud Butlers and Holdsworths mainly) mostly as doubles and whilst it wasn't my first choice it seemed OK to my eyes; not a TA triple, but then I couldn't afford one of those anyway, whereas this one was more like it, price-wise, being a bit strapped for cash at the time: I think it was about £30, including BB. I nearly didn't buy it because of the ring sizes fitted (which seemed a bit odd to me) and because the chainrings had odd bolt circle measurements I hadn't previously encountered. If I could have found one I liked at the right price I would happily have bought a 144/something triple, since I already had a fair stash of 3/32" 144BCD chainrings from my road bike and various fixed gear bikes.
But 'that'll do' I thought, and for no other reason than it might involve spending money otherwise I decided to give the rings that were fitted a shot; 50-44-32 it was, then. And the 'funny bolt circles' were 5x 110/74mm; rare then but they soon became almost ubiquitous. Well that chainset has been on at least three different framesets since then and through it all is has been my main touring chainset. And whilst I swapped the 32T for a 30T sometimes I never did bother to change the other chainring sizes, but instead came to understand and appreciate the ones I had.
Today I was sorting out some stuff and I came across my 'spare chainset' which I picked up at a cycle jumble a few years ago; the same cranks but configured as a 48-36 double.
You can see that the 36T ring has a substantial chamfer on it, because it is meant to be the middle ring of a triple. I might yet fit a third ring to this and make it a 48-36-24 triple.
Whilst cleaning them I noticed the words "Takagi Japan". I must have seen this before but it probably didn't register then. Takagi were an independent Japanese manufacturer of cranks and according to this pagehttps://www.sscycleworks.com/components/cranksets-Takagi.html
had been making cranks since 1897. They made cranks under their own Takagi brand and 'three arrows' brand as well as for Holdsworthy (I didn't know this then but their "Allez!" brand name had been applied to all kinds of third party products Holdsworthy sold for decades) but their main outlet was probably production for shimano. So if you bought an early set of Dura-Ace cranks (for example) you got Takagi manufactured cranks. [They made some pretty nice BMX cranks too, and even shimano got in on the act; somewhere I have a set of DA 7200 cranks which were sold as a BMX chainset; they are anodised bright red! ] Sometime in the 1980s Takagi were bought lock stock and barrel by shimano and the Takagi brand was dropped. Shimano started 'making' some really rather good 110/74 triple chainsets and the rest is history. In reality very similar cranks (give or take) had been on sale with Takagi branding (eg in the US) or with 'Allez' branding in the UK for some years.
When Deore XT 'deer head' was one of the best gearsets available, not everyone was convinced by shimano's dyna-drive cranksets. A lot of bike manufacturers fitted a Takagi 110/74 triple instead for the US market. There were models with names such as 'Tourney XT' and 'Tourney GS', which sound like shimano models but they weren't, they were Takagi models. They come up for sale in the USA fairly often eghttps://thea.com/Cranksets-Takagi-Tourney/
One of which is almost identical to the "Allez" branded cranks. Some of these are dead ringers for sugino branded models too; whether there is any link there or not I don't know. It seems Sugino, Specialized, SR-Sakae (SunTour) and Takagi all came out with very similar cranksets at about the same time.
So it isn't clear to me who 'invented' the 110/74 arrangement but Takagi were certainly in it almost from the start. And whilst I was almost looking down my nose at my 'Allez' chainset, BITD, in reality I was falling on my feet; If I'd have had more money I would probably have ended up with something worse....!