Sharpie - About Us

A Brief History

1857

Frederick W. Redington and William H. Sanford, Jr. founded Sanford Manufacturing Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. The company focused on producing and selling ink and glue.

1866

The company expanded and relocated to Chicago.

1899

After narrowly escaping the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Sanford’s original factory succumbed this time to yet another disastrous fire. By 1900, Sanford had rebuilt its headquarters in downtown Chicago.

1927

In celebration of Sanford’s 70th birthday, the company commissioned Norman Rockwell to create a painting for advertising use. The ad appeared in several magazines with the caption, “It’s lucky for you, child, your Gran’dad wrote this will with Sanford’s Ink!”

1930-1964

Sanford continued to grow. Quality products and strong distribution helped the company prosper, even through the Great Depression. In 1940 the company changed its name to Sanford Ink Company.

1964

Sanford turned its focus to the emerging marker business and introduced the Sharpie marker. The Sharpie Fine Point black marker became the first pen-style permanent marker. It wrote on almost any surface from glass, wood and stone, to plastic, metal and, of course, paper. NBC talk show hosts Johnny Carson and Jack Parr were some of the first celebrity endorsers.

1979

A new style tip is introduced in four colors, the Sharpie Extra Fine Point marker.

1991-1997

The popularity of Sharpie markers continued to soar in the 1990’s due in part to the $5 billion memorabilia industry. Autograph seekers and celebrities alike used Sharpie markers on everything from posters and trading cards to balls and jerseys.

1997-2002

Over this six-year stretch, five different Sharpie markers made debuts. Sharpie markers were also introduced in a variety of new colors. By the end of 2002, over 200 million Sharpie markers were produced, enough for approximately two Sharpie markers for every household in America!
Sharpie gained added notoriety with its successful advertising and marketing campaigns. Sharpie jumped into sports marketing by sponsoring PGA golfers Arnold Palmer, David Toms, Chad Campbell and Gary Player. Terrell Owens and Sharpie scored a touchdown—an unexpected, now famous end-zone celebration in 2001 resulted in approximately $5 million in publicity.

2002

Sharpie became the title sponsor of NASCAR®’s most popular event, the Sharpie 500, as well as sponsoring NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Kurt Busch.

2002-2005

New Sharpie products really gained momentum during this time with the launch of 6 new Sharpie product lines, and the introduction of 12 more colors, bringing the spectrum of Sharpie to 24 bold colors! An American icon celebrated 40 years.
Sharpie celebrated its major milestone by teaming up with Kurt Busch and renaming the home of Sharpie - Shelbyville, Tenn., to Sharpieville USA for the day in March and working with athletes and celebrities in the kick-off of “Autographs for Education”, a program where Sharpie teamed up with sports figures to support community-based educational organizations.
Only the most trusted highlighter deserved the most recognized name in marking. Accent Highlighters were repositioned under the Sharpie name.

2005-Present

Today, Sharpie stands for far more than just markers. Made to write on, stand out on, and stay on practically any surface, it’s The Permanent Marker born for unique, unruly, courageous, outrageous self-expression that never, ever fades from glory.
We are THE BOLD ORIGINAL, genuine article, and cultural icon of Permanent Markers.