Marlin Steel was first formed in 1968. In its early years, the company specialized in manually creating custom wire forms for different clients and industries. In 1998, when Drew Greenblatt acquired the company and moved its operations to Baltimore, MD, Marlin was known as the “king of the bagel baskets,” serving the bagel industry with easy-to-make commodity baskets.
However, soon after Drew acquired the company, the Atkins diet (which emphasized low-carb diets) and a sudden influx of ultra-cheap foreign made bagel baskets that were cheaper than the steel needed to make them crippled Marlin’s core business model.
Fast-forward an extra 20 years to 2018, and now Marlin Steel is celebrating its 50th year anniversary. Throughout all of the company’s trials, through changes of ownership and even changes in industry focus, there’s one thing that has never changed: our commitment to “All-American Manufacturing!”
Moving from Bagels to Boeing
How did Marlin Steel survive the bagel basket crash? At the time of the crash, things were looking pretty dire, but Marlin was able to rebound and grow bigger and better than ever.
One call served as the impetus for the company’s transformation. An engineer at Boeing found Marlin’s contact information in an old Rolodex. Seeing that Marlin was a manufacturing company specializing in steel wire products, the engineer reached out to get a custom basket made for a project he was working on.
During the call, the engineer stated that his #1 priority was getting a basket that could meet his incredibly precise performance requirements and tolerances. Money was no object for this engineer. In fact, if the basket was cheaply made, it would be useless—he needed a high-quality basket.
While meeting all of the Boeing engineer’s requirements was a major challenge for Marlin's then-manual manufacturing process, after some trial and error, the Marlin team was able to complete the order. And, more importantly, Drew saw that there was a huge new opportunity for the company if it could specialize in making high-precision wire forms for other manufacturers.
So, Marlin Steel began investing in new tools, such as automated factory robots, and in new training for its people so they could program and maintain the new factory automation. A skills matrix (complete with pay boosts for mastering new skills) was introduced alongside the training program to encourage employees to learn as many different skills as possible. This helped to close the skills gap and created some skills redundancy on the team so operations wouldn’t grind to a halt any time someone took a vacation.
Now, 20 years after Drew bought out the company, Marlin Steel is a trusted provider of “quality, engineered quick®” for companies all around the globe—making precision-engineered parts for the automotive, medical, aerospace, scientific research, retail, education, and firearms industries (among many others).
From Marlin Steel to You:
Thanks for Helping Make Marlin Steel What It is Today!
Now, at our 50-year anniversary, everyone on the Marlin Steel team wants to thank our customers for helping make us the company we are today.
And, we all look forward to another 50 years of “Made in America” precision engineering!