Our History

Today, more than 100 years since its founding, Newell Rubbermaid has grown to become a global marketer of consumer and commercial products with a portfolio of "brands that matter." The enduring strength of the company has been its ability to keep reinventing itself. Download a PDF version of our history.


    Newell Rubbermaid implemented the Growth Game Plan, a new multi-year corporate strategy to accelerate into a bigger, faster growing, more global and more profitable company. We are driving the Growth Game Plan into action through a brand-led strategy, a commitment to superior products and differentiated high-impact innovation, supported by an executional powerhouse on the ground in countries around the world.


    Michael B. Polk joined Newell Rubbermaid in July as president and CEO.  With a proven record of growing global brands, driving change, and delivering superior financial performance at leading consumer products organizations, he is building on Newell Rubbermaid’s successful transformation to accelerate global growth. He has been a member of the company’s Board of Directors since 2009.

    The company continued its acquisition strategy, Aprica Kassai, a Japanese maker of strollers, car seats and other children's products to its portfolio of global brands.

    Newell Rubbermaid's new global headquarters building opened in Atlanta in the summer of 2008 – consolidating numerous brands and functions under one roof, enabling greater collaboration and a common culture.

    In 2005, Newell Rubbermaid acquired Dymo, a global leader in on-demand labeling solutions. The company expanded its presence in this market with the 2006 purchase of CardScan business card scanners.

    In 2005, Mark Ketchum was named president and CEO. Under his leadership, the company successfully transformed its business model to generate sustainable growth through consumer-driven innovation, branding and marketing.  The tagline “Brands That Matter™” was added to the company logo to emphasize this change.

    The company welcomed the Lenox brand with the purchase of American Saw & Manufacturing Company, a leading manufacturer of linear edge power tool accessories, hand tools and band saw blades for the professional user.

    The 2002 acquisition of American Tool Companies added globally recognized Irwin, Vise-Grip and Marathon brands to Newell Rubbermaid's portfolio.

    The company created the world's broadest assortment of writing products with the purchase of Gillette's stationery products business, including Paper Mate and Liquid Paper. The acquisition also included the Parker and Waterman brands, the most global of the company's brands to date, positioning Newell Rubbermaid in the luxury writing instruments category.

    The company made the most significant acquisition of its history by purchasing Rubbermaid, a leading manufacturer of high-quality and innovative home, commercial, juvenile and infant products, including the Rubbermaid, Graco, and Little Tikes brands. The deal doubled the size of the company and changed its name to Newell Rubbermaid.

    Newell's cookware family expanded into the gourmet channel with the acquisition of Calphalon Corporation, marketed primarily to upscale retailers and department stores.
    The company also purchased Panex, the number one cookware maker in South America.

    Newell strengthened its position in the window treatment market with the acquisition of Kirsch, a leading manufacturer and distributor of drapery hardware and custom window coverings. The company also added Rolodex and Eldon to the Office Products division.

    Returning to its roots, Newell purchased Levolor, a leader in the window treatment industry. The company entered the beauty and style category by purchasing Goody hair care accessories, which included Ace men's grooming accessories.

    Newell entered the office supplies business with the 1991 acquisition of W.T. Rogers and the 1992 purchase of Sanford, a leading manufacturer and marketer of writing instruments. Sanford's 1998 purchase of Germany-based Rotring further strengthened its presence in Europe.

    The company entered the cookware market with the purchase of Mirro Corporation, followed by WearEver and Rema in 1988.

    In 1979, Newell moved into its first corporate headquarters in a historic former bank building in Freeport, Ill.

    The Newell Company went public in 1972, opening on the NASDAQ at $28 per share. In 1979, Newell moved to the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the NWL symbol. Dan Ferguson, center, and William Cuthbert, right, watch as the first NWL trade appears on the ticker tape.

    Dan Ferguson was named President in 1965. Using his growth-by-acquisition strategy, Newell grew from a small, one-category private company to a powerful hardware and housewares company that catered to large national retail chains with dozens of brands. Over 70 acquisitions in 30 years!

    During World War II, Western Newell converted factories to assist with the war effort, earning the prestigious Army/Navy "E" award for excellence in wartime production.
    After the war, Western Newell saw immediate success in sales and manufacturing of drapery pin-on hooks, extension rods, sash rods, curtain holdbacks thanks to a deal with Kresge.

    In 1921, the company purchased Barnwell Mfg. Co. in Freeport, Ill., renaming it Western Newell Manufacturing Company. Freeport's access to railroad lines made it easier to ship products west. Kresge, the department store chain that later became Kmart, was one of Western Newell's larger accounts.

    In 1912, the company hired Ben Cuthbert to grow the struggling Canadian business and build relationships with the Woolworth Company, paving the way for Newell's mass merchandising strategy. As business boomed, the company built a new 15,000-square-foot facility in Ogdensburg, N.Y.

    Newell Manufacturing distinguished itself by focusing on technology and production improvements. In 1908, the company boosted profits by investing in machines that produced curtain rods better and faster than any other manufacturer.

    The story of Newell started in 1903 in Ogdensburg, NY, when the W.F. Linton Co., a manufacturer of metal curtain rods, defaulted on its loan. Prominent local businessman Edgar A. Newell purchased the company and renamed it the Newell Manufacturing Company.