The proud saying “Trenton Makes the World Takes”, coined in 1911, summarized Trenton’s manufacturing virtues in a phrase. At the time, and through the 1960s, Trenton was an industrial powerhouse, famous for iron, steel, rubber and pottery. The unique position between New York and Philadelphia allowed for easy transport of finished goods, Trenton was home to Trenton Iron Co., John A. Roebling’s Sons Co., and Trenton Rubber Co.; delivering iron materials for the Capitol Building and Treasury Building, and wire rope for the Brooklyn Bridge, George Washington Bridge, and Golden Gate Bridge. Tire production soared during World War I, leading Trenton to become known as the nation’s tire capital for a short while. This manufacturing heyday led rise to new companies opening in Trenton and attracted European immigrant workers, all which continued to expand the industrial hub.
One immigrant, Stanley Switlik from Poland, found his home in Trenton and started a canvas and leather manufacturing company in 1920 in the heart of Trenton. Hiring skilled sewers from Trenton, Switlik grew the Canvas-Leather company offering a host of products from golf bags, pork roll casings and leather mail bags to the specialized SWITLIK Parachute & Equipment Company, becoming the largest manufacturer of parachutes in the country. Following the end of the Vietnam War, SWITLIK Parachute Company again shifted gears and pursued the development of inflatable and other military products, churning out inflatable life vests, life rafts, and military anti-G and anti-exposure suits.
Through all of the diversification of the Switlik product line, two important things remained constant; Switlik’s Trenton address and the hiring of skilled Trenton workers. SWITLIK Survival Products stands by the saying, Trenton Makes the World Takes and is proud to continue the tradition by producing all products in Trenton.
Today, SWITLIK is one of the world’s top producers of commercial airline life vests. Take a tour of our factory as we go behind the scenes and show you how we make a life vest.
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