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Nebraska State Historical Society

Made in Nebraska logo House and Home

Many household products designed to make life easier and provide the basics for daily living have been manufactured in Nebraska.

House and Home
Back row, L. to R.:
Peerless Brass Washboard, Wright & Wilhelmy Co., Omaha; American Clothesline Stretcher, Lincoln; Hydrozo Water Repellent Coating, Hydrozo Waterproof Coatings Co., Lincoln.
Front row, L. to R.: Blue Barrel Laundry Soap, Haskins Bros., Omaha; Paintall Products, United Paint Mfg., Lincoln; Superior Washing Machine, Demo Model made by Charles Mason; Hydrozo inventor E. E. Blackman and pottery sherds; Wheel Chair Model by F. W. Cowles, 1869-1871; Cradle Crib Swing Model by F. W. Cowles, 1885.


E. E. Blackman
Hydrozo water repellent coatings were invented by former state archeologist E. E. Blackman. Blackman discovered the substance on prehistoric pottery sherds and after years of research and study he was able to reproduce the resin as Hydrozite. He then perfected a liquid formula. Production began in 1910. The company was shut down during World War I but was reorganized in the 1930s. The company remained in business in Lincoln until 1994, when it consolidated with Thoro System Products of Bristol, Pennsylvania.

patent models
Inventor Francis Cowles of Nebraska City created a model for a combination baby-jumper, baby walker, swing, clothes rack, highchair, stool, crib, and rocking cradle. The patent was issued in 1885. Cowles also designed a wheelchair between 1869 and 1871.

home products

Lincoln Pottery Works
Founded in 1880 by O. V. Eaton, the Lincoln Pottery Works remained an important Lincoln industry until 1902. The factory, located in the South Bottoms neighborhood, produced a variety of stoneware products including crocks, churns, vases, preserve jars, pitchers, and many other vessel types.

Perfection Cooker
William Gray of Lincoln designed an improved pressure cooker in 1908 that was sold under the trade name "Perfection Cooker." It was manufactured in Omaha.

Richtig made knives
Frank J. Richtig of Clarkson, a blacksmith by trade, experimented with aluminum alloys until he came up with a knife that could easily cut through thick steel bars. Richtig produced most of his knives between 1935 and 1950, but he continued to make a few at home until his death in 1977.

National Mfg. National Manufacturing Company of Lincoln had its beginnings around 1917and manufactured Fireless cookers. The company diversified and produced airplane parts, bomb shelters, v-belts used by Goodyear, lawn-care implements, and test kitchen equipment. One of the company's best known products was the walking sprinkler. In 1985 the company was bought by TMCO, Inc., which still produces the walking sprinkler. Walking Sprinkler courtesy: National Manufacturing

Home products

Upper left: German immigrant Joseph Steiner founded the Deshler Broom Factory in 1890 and the Deshler firm soon became known as the world's largest broom factory. Production peaked during the 1930s, when workers hand-wound more than sixteen thousand natural-fiber brooms per day. The factory closed in 1998.

Lincoln Art Glass
Upper right: John "Jack" Teysman established the Lincoln Art Glass Company in 1919, specializing in church windows. Teysman operated his studio at 2129 K Street in Lincoln from 1925 until his death in 1940.


Bottom: Walter D. Behlen of Columbus started Behlen Manufacturing in 1935. Steel toecaps for the wooden shoes made by the Reece Wooden Sole Shoe Company, also in Columbus, were an early product. The company went on to manufacture lid fasteners, dental clasps, and corncribs, but its most popular products were frameless farm buildings and grain bins that changed the farm landscape forever.

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Last updated 2 April 2003  

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