Garland Manufacturing Company was founded in 1866, by James G. Garland, and
incorporated seven years later, in 1873.
It was originally called the Loom Picker
Company, after its primary product, pickers for the textile industry. Pickers,
made from water buffalo hide due to the toughness of the material, were used to
weave cloth by moving the shuttle from one side of the loom to the other. In
1899, the company began manufacturing rawhide mallets from water buffalo hide and
is today the world's premier producer of mallets and soft-faced hammers.
In 1950, Garland Manufacturing Company acquired Snocraft Company, located in
Norway, Maine. At the time, Snocraft's sole employee repaired snowshoes
manufactured for troops during World War II. Over the course of the following 24
years, employment at Snocraft increased to 50
and the product line expanded to
include wooden toboggans, snowshoes and packaged wooden ski sets for children.
This division was sold in 1974.
During the early 1950s, the textile industry began to import pickers made of
a new plastic material that lasted ten to twelve times longer than the
traditional rawhide pickers. Garland realized their future could depend upon this
material, and ordered the first 500 pounds of plastic resin material ever brought
into North America. The decision to change materials carried with it a
substantial risk. Charles Garland, past president of Garland Manufacturing
Company, recalls his father, then-president Harry Garland, bringing home the
"new" powder to try out in the oven in the family's kitchen to see how the
material would react at different temperatures.
Garland initially experimented with injection-molding the material, but
quickly adopted the extrusion process. In the mid 1950s, Garland was the only
company in the world to extrude UHMW material, marketing it under the new brand
For 97 years, Garland Company was located in a traditional old riverfront
mill in Saco, Maine. In 1984, Garland built a fully modern 53,000 square foot
manufacturing facility in the new Saco Industrial Park. A recent addition
increased manufacturing and office space to 84,000 square feet.
Over the past 40 years, Garland Manufacturing has seen tremendous changes in
the plastics industry and has diversified their approach to the marketplace. The
textile industry's change to a shuttle-less loom has resulted in Garland moving
away from their original product base. Presently, the company extrudes Gar-Dur
Plastic UHMWP in nine different colors and now sells into a countless number of
industries and markets worldwide. In 2000, Garland Manufacturing obtained ISO
Garland Manufacturing continues to manufacture mallets and soft-faced hammers
for all industries worldwide and is the only producer of rawhide mallets in North
America. The Garland tradition continues with the Garland family's sixth
generation of consecutive management since its beginnings in 1866.