Lutron: Chalk One Up for the Little Guy
Joel and his wife incorporated Lutron in 1961. The company now holds more than 2,700 patents worldwide and builds more than 15,000 different products, many in the United States.
Briggs & Stratton: Started with a School Project
Briggs & Stratton did have some success making parts for the fledgling auto industry, and even produced a small car named the Briggs & Stratton Flyer, which sold for less than $150. Eventually the company focused on small gasoline engines that powered lawn mowers, outdoor power equipment and even some early washing machines. Briggs & Stratton is currently the world's largest manufacturer of air-cooled engines, building more than 9 million engines in the United States each year.
Klein Tools: Began with Half a Pair of Pliers
The Klein Company profited from being one of the few forges to survive the Great Chicago Fire. The company also grew along with the electrical and telecommunication industries, adding more than 100 varieties of pliers. But the original lineman's pliers was so popular that generations of electricians called their pliers simply 'Kleins.' Klein Tools Inc. is going strong, still owned and managed by members of the Klein family.