Company Circa 1860 Offers a Lesson in Success

The company has survived by using innovation and making continuous technological investments.

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For 156 years, Wilson Bohannan has manufactured brass padlocks. It has been in business continuously since 1860, the year Abraham Lincoln was elected president. That’s quite an accomplishment. It has survived by using innovation and making continuous technological investments.

We featured this unique company several times; the latest article was on its newest investment in CNC rotary transfer equipment from Hydromat. Years earlier, I visited the company to discuss its investment in a CNC multi-spindle machine. 

The company is a legacy and a lesson for American business success. The family-owned company is currently run by Howard Smith, a 42-year veteran of the padlock wars and a member of the 6th generation to head the company. Read a column by Mr. Smith here.  

Visit “An American Success Story,” and "Making Locks Since Lincoln" to read the stories we’ve published about this iconic company.