Sanford L.P. is a Newell Brands company based in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States. It is the largest writing products manufacturer in the world. It is primarily known for manufacturing Sharpie, Paper Mate, and Prismacolor products.
It was founded in 1857 by Frederick W. Redington and William H. Sanford, Jr. in Massachusetts as the Sanford Manufacturing Company. The company moved to Chicago in 1866, five years before the Great Chicago Fire destroyed Sanford’s Chicago location. New facilities were soon built after the devastation of the fire, and operations resumed. In 1947, following World War II, the Sanford Ink Company was forced to move locations to make room for a new expressway. The company settled in Bellwood, Illinois, where it still maintains a facility. In August 1985 Sanford became a public company. On February 14, 1992, Sanford was acquired by the Newell Company, (now called Newell Brands, a Fortune 500 company).
Business grew through many acquisitions. Newell already owned Keene Office Products and Rogers Office Products, acquired in 1991. In 1994 they acquired Eberhard Faber, in 1995 Berol and Phillips, and in 1998 Rotring, a German technical drawing instruments company. Also in 1998, Sanford split into two divisions: Sanford North America and Sanford International. In 1999 Rubbermaid, Little Tikes, Graco, and Curver were acquired and the company changed its name to Newell Rubbermaid. In 2000, Gillette (now part of Procter & Gamble) sold its writing instruments division to Newell Rubbermaid, whose own stationery division, Sanford, became Sanford, L.P. (later renamed Newell Rubbermaid Office Products.) Gillette had acquired Parker Pens in 1993 and had already owned the Paper Mate brand, as well as Waterman and Liquid Paper. Sanford has locations in: The brand went through a revival in 2011-2012 with thoughtful leadership brought in from outside Newell Rubbermaid.
In August 1976 the company launched the first EXPO dry erase marker. In November 1986, the company launched a new marker named EXPO II, later renamed EXPO2. It featured an alcohol-based ink instead of methyl isobutyl ketone.