MFG Women

Today Marks the 125th Anniversary of The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

  • 1.  Today Marks the 125th Anniversary of The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

    Posted 01-22-2020 18:16
    This story originally appeared in Input, the NAM's morning newsletter for manufacturing leaders, on January 22.You can sign up to receive Input here

    On January 22, 1895, 583 business leaders gathered in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the theater of the Odd Fellows' Temple, to launch a national organization dedicated to advancing manufacturing in the United States.  What was going on in 1895 that led to the association's founding? Manufacturing in America: A History of Excellence gives this encapsulation:


    Back in 1895 . . .


    • "During the 1890s, the United States sought to increase its foreign trade, especially with the largely untapped markets of Asia and Latin America."
    • "This goal gained urgency from the depression that began in 1893, which caused the ruin of more than 360 banks in a six-month period and brought unemployment levels up to 20 percent of the industrial labor force by the winter of 1893-94."

    And what was the NAM's very first convention like? Thanks to the Hagley Museum and Library's collection of NAM documents and images, we can get a general sense. Here's what archivist Ashley Williams writes about that day:

    • "The keynote speaker was Ohio governor, William McKinley. Despite poor weather, the delegates, members of the Reception Committee, Governor McKinley and Mayor Caldwell marched over to the convention hall led by Weber's Field Band. Even before McKinley could speak, he was welcomed with a standing ovation - hats, canes, and papers waving - that lasted several minutes."
    • "He spoke on the importance of manufacturing in the United States, the need to find markets for the products of those manufacturers, and for 'fair play and equal rights' in the markets of the world."

    Three years later, McKinley was president, and he addressed a thousand people at the third annual NAM convention in Washington, D.C. An excerpt of that address:

    • "Let us resolve by our laws and by our administration of them to maintain the rights of the citizen, to cement the Union by still closer bonds, to exalt the standards of American civilization, encourage the promotion of thrift, industry and economy and the homely virtues which have ennobled our people, uphold the stability of our currency and credit and illustrate the purity of our national and municipal government."

     Learn more about the NAM Mission and Celebrate 125 years with The NAM here:


    Constance Thompson
    Sr. Director, Women's Engagement
    The Manufacturing Institute
    Washington DC