1920 was a roaring time for growth and opportunity. That is when Augie L. Hansen founded the A. L. Hansen Manufacturing Company in the Chicago area. Augie was an entrepreneur, manufacturer, and inventor. You may have even used one of his inventions; the industrial stapler called the "Hansen Tacker". If you're old enough, you may have even seen one of his most visible products of the time the five sided "Wrigley Revolving Gum Display" in drug stores.
While these were the more recognized products of the time, the core business revolved around hardware components for the industrial and vehicle markets. For over ninety five years, Hardware for Hard Wear has been the slogan that tells the real story of the A. L. Hansen Mfg. Co.
As the trailer and truck body markets developed and changed over the years, the handles, hinges, latches, and door locks used were solid and reliable A. L. Hansen products. Many NATM and NTEA members have grown up using hardware components from A. L. Hansen Mfg. Co. and still use them today.
Below is a brief timeline that highlights the life and history of Augie L. Hansen and the A. L. Hansen Mfg. Co.
Augie L. Hansen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Augie L. Hansen’s family immigrated to the United States and settled in Chicago, Illinois in an Old Danish section on the west side where they lived for about six years when they moved to Evanston, Illinois.
Augie graduated high school and moved to New Haven Connecticut to work as a die maker and tool designer. During this period of his life, he registered many patents, nearly all of which were successful. One of those patents included the first button hole attachment for a sewing machine.
When WWI broke out , Thomas Edison asked Augie to come to Washington to work with him in the war department for one dollar a year, which he did for the duration of the war.
In July, 1920 Augie L. Hansen established the A. L. Hansen Mfg. Co. in a two story building on the corner of Ravenswood Ave. & Winnemac in Chicago, Illinois. One by One complete lines of body hardware products were developed, mostly through conversations with customers and engineers.
On July 12th, 1966 A. L. Hansen broke ground for a new plant which was custom designed to suite its growing operational needs. The facility was completed in March of 1967 and in two weeks' time the entire company’s operations were moved from Chicago to Gurnee Illinois.
In May of 1974 A. L. Hansen was sold to I. C. Industries. At the time I. C. Industries was the 143rd largest company in the world which offered consumer products, commercial products, financial services and real estate.