Metalworking Senior Citizens

These old companies have dedication to their industry and a strong culture willing to innovate from generation to generation.

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C.H. Hanson's shop floor in 1912.

A 150th anniversary is an important, rare and exciting milestone for any company and especially a family-owned manufacturer. C.H. Hanson, a worldwide manufacturer in the metalworking industry, is celebrating just that this year. Its sesquicentennial celebration will include a ceremony at the company’s Naperville, Illinois, headquarters. Congratulations to this family-owned business!

Danish immigrant, Christian Henry Hanson, founded the company in 1866 after a stint in the Union army. Six years later, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed his first factory, which was making stencils for manufacturers. He rebuilt the company, and it has thrived ever since. Needing more floor space, the company moved to the current location in Naperville in 2006.

Today, the company manufactures more than 5,000 products worldwide that serve the metalworking, abrasive finishing, workholding, marking and several other industrial markets. Andrew Hanson, great grandson of the founder, says very few companies can boast family ownership for 150 years.

He is correct, but in my travels I’ve encountered several other, older shops that are also family owned. One that comes to mind is Laubscher in Tauffelen, Switzerland. It started in 1846 and continues to operate under seventh-generation family ownership. Click here to read a short report on my visit.

Wilson Bohannon, a shop that’s been making pad locks since 1860, is another multi-generational shop that I’ve written about in PM. Click here to read the article.

Something that these gray beards have in common is a dedication to their industry and a strong culture willing to innovate from generation to generation. Perhaps it’s in the family DNA.