This week we are thrilled to focus the spotlight on a brand whose products you are undoubtedly familiar with, but whose significance in the rich history of American manufacturing deserves a second look: Jacob Bromwell. Jacob Bromwell is the oldest housewares manufacturer in the United States, and the maker of several iconic housewares products; among them, the Original Popcorn Popper, and the company’s most famous design, the instantly recognizable All-American Flour Sifter. The manufacturing process and materials used to create these products—and the rest of the company’s inventory—has remained virtually unchanged since the company’s advent in the late 1800’s.
Jacob Bromwell moved from Baltimore to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he established his business in 1819; incorporated in 1883 as The Bromwell Brush and Wire Goods Company (later it would be renamed as Bromwell Housewares). The company occupied all six-stories of a building in downtown Cincinnati, and quickly began producing a catalogue that contained over 1,000 original products. Re-christened as Jacob Bromwell in 2010, this venerated company is the earliest known producer of tin and stainless steel products in the United States, and the 34th oldest continuously owned and operated company in the United States.
Today, Jacob Bromwell has expanded into a holding company, The Bromwell Company, which owns, oversees, and manages several subsidiary businesses within the consumer product industry. Besides Jacob Bromwell, these companies include TriZenium; a manufacturer of nutritional products, and the Vermont Pen Company. Every business under The Bromwell Company manufactures their products in America, using only the highest quality materials and preserving a commitment to first-rate workmanship.
We were lucky enough to sit down with the president of The Bromwell Company, Sean Bandawat, for an exclusive interview about the brand’s history, its estimable American heritage, and what the next century of the company might look like.
Can you speak to the importance of domestic manufacturing for The Bromwell Company?
Here are the top 10 reasons to buy American-made products:
1) Foreign labor standards allow unsafe worker conditions in many countries. When you buy American you not only support American manufacturers but also American workers, safe working conditions, and child labor laws.
2) Jobs shipped abroad almost never return. When you buy goods made in the USA, you help keep the American economy growing.
3) US manufacturing processes are much cleaner for the environment than many other countries. When you purchase American-made products, you know that you're helping to keep the world a little cleaner for your children.
4) Many countries have no minimum wage restrictions. When you choose products made in the USA, you contribute to the payment of an honest day's wages for an honest day's work.
5) When you seek out American-made goods, you foster American independence.
6) The huge US trade deficit leads to massive, unsustainable borrowing from other countries. Debt isn't good for you and it isn't good for America.
7) Foreign product safety standards are low. For example, poisonous levels of lead are in tens of millions of toys shipped to the United States. When you buy USA-made products, you can be confident that American consumer protection laws and safety standards are in place to protect your family.
8) Lack of minimum wage, worker safety, or environmental pollution controls in many countries undermines the concept of "fair and free trade". No Western nation can ultimately compete on price with a country willing to massively exploit and pollute its own people. When you buy only American-made products, you insist on a higher standard.
9) Factories and money are shifting to countries not friendly to the USA or democracy. When you avoid imported goods in favor of American-made items, you help ensure that the United States doesn't find its access to vital goods impacted by political conflict.
10) As America's manufacturing ability fades, future generations of US citizens will be unable to find relevant jobs. Buying American-made products will help keep you, your friends, and neighbors earning a living wage.
We hope you'll join Jacob Bromwell in standing up for America. You'll be glad you did!
Many American brands moved their production overseas during the early 1990’s. Were you ever tempted to do so? What was your reason for remaining stolidly American made?
We’ve always believed that where a product is made is just as important as the product itself. At a time when most housewares companies have moved their production offshore, every Jacob Bromwell product is still handcrafted right here in America, with material sourced domestically. It's the way we've done it for nearly 200 years.
The reason why is simple: Buying American products is the best way for us, as patriotic consumers, to exercise our power. It’s all about voting with our dollars and channelling those dollars to companies that have kept America working, growing, and prospering. And aside from almost 200 years of making excellent housewares products, that’s what Jacob Bromwell is all about.
Where does your manufacturing happen? What are the facilities like?
All Jacob Bromwell products are proudly manufactured in the USA. We have two manufacturing facilities; one in Indiana and one in Vermont.
Today, brands are expected to develop brand awareness through a deep engagement with social media. As a heritage brand deeply connected to its early 19th century origins, how have you adapted to these modern forms of marketing?
We believe it is critical to stay current with the times in terms of marketing, advertising, operations, and more. Jacob Bromwell has most certainly adapted in all of these areas. It is our products – and the total brand experience that we are offering our customers – that has not evolved, and we have done so on purpose in order to provide our customers with that unique American experience which can’t be found anywhere else.
At Oak73, our motto is Original, American, Kind. Do you have a motto or mantra that defines the ethos of The Bromwell Company?
Jacob Bromwell does not have an official motto and/or slogan, but one that we use frequently is “An American Tradition Since 1819.”
You expanded into a holding company that manages several other businesses. Can you tell us how this came about and a bit about some of these other brands?
We wanted to offer consumers other quality American-made items, but could not do so under the Jacob Bromwell brand, as that brand has come to stand for kitchenwares and housewares. By creating The Bromwell Company as the parent, we have been able to launch two other American-made brands, Vermont Pen and TriZenium, and have plans to launch several more complementary brands in the years to come.
How do you see Jacob Bromwell’s original mission manifest itself in the company today?
Jacob Bromwell was founded on the idea of creating high-quality, long lasting, and American-made kitchenwares and housewares products. That same mission rings true today, over 190 years later.
Jacob Bromwell has been in business for almost 200 years! That’s quite an achievement—can you envision the projection of the company through the next 100?
Many companies evolve their product lines and services over the years; some fail doing so, while others succeed. Jacob Bromwell has remained true to its original mission since 1819, and that strategy has worked extremely well for us. While we have plans to add new products and expand on line extensions, we do not plan on drastically changing course over the next 100 years.