Blackburn Mfg. Co. was started in 1953 by E.A. “Bud” Blackburn in the basement of a small family homestead near Royal, Neb. Bud’s uncle, Ray Blackburn, who was a surveyor, asked him if he could attach a piece of cloth or paper to a wire to use instead of the wooden lathes. Bud, a farmer by trade but a tinkerer at heart, would over the next two years invent the marking flag and machine to mass-produce them. Bud and his two sons, Bob, 11, and Jim, 7, ran that first machine around the clock for 30 days to fill the company’s first 1 million flag order. Today, Blackburn Mfg. produces on average 150 million flags per year.
While our machines have been modernized, Grandpa’s original blueprint machine still gets the job done. Today, each of our machines — built in-house following the original blueprint — can produce over 6,000 flags per hour. We strive to follow Bud’s legacy and ingenuity by creating solutions for our customer’s needs.
It is our promise to continue manufacturing high-quality, American-made products while providing excellent customer service.
To keep up with lead times, especially during our busy season, which starts late-February/early-March until June/July, Blackburn is welcoming a new digital inkjet printer and cutter. This will enable us to keep up with a new era while also offering even better quality at four times the speed. It’ll also expand options as the current inkjet printer only has images.
Blackburn prides itself as having the fastest lead times in the industry, with a variety of customizable options made from the best quality raw materials available. Four different flag sizes are available, including the two standard flag sizes of 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches and 4 by 5 inches. There are also over 16 colors of plastic and numerous Pantone inks for imprinting. We also have a BMC Marking sign product, which consists of a weather-coated cardstock. It is available in three different sizes and meets the posting requirements in the lawn and garden industry. A polyethylene flag uses a heat seal to adhere the flag to the wire, eliminating the need for glue. A more durable flag — the polyethylene option — is more suitable in colder climates than vinyl.
Our newest offerings include a custom garden flag that is 12 by 18 inches in size. Its 13-ounce flexible vinyl materials are high tear resistant and features a UV coating to protect your sign in the elements. There is also an extra small yard sign, measuring 7 by 11 inches. These signs use 4-millimeter corrugated plastic and are heavy duty and waterproof.
While flags are the heart of Blackburn Manufacturing Co., we also carry Krylon inverted marking paint, which can be used in conjunction with marking flags to relay the positions of underground utility lines. Additionally, there are barricades and utility warning tapes that can be used to mark and barricade utility job sites. Another popular offering is the durable Rhino marking posts — perfect for long-term placement.
As we continue to expand our product line, we have started construction on a new 60-by-100-foot building. This will be our 13th building addition since we started in 1953. The newest addition will be much needed warehouse space.
Customers have noted Blackburn Mfg. Co.’s attention to detail and excellent customer service.
Matthew with Lewis & Clark wrote, “Thank you so much for the prompt service, the flags look fantastic! Your service was exemplary the whole way through, and I got the flags much faster than I even expected. That helped greatly. I will be in touch about future flagging needs, for sure.”
Phil with Lawn Pros of PA added, “I had my own digital print business for 15 years, sold it and then started a lawn care business. I have to tell you that every experience I had was ‘spot on.’ Customer service was fantastic and the product I received was above my expectations. Thank you for paying attention to all the little details … As I grow, I will definitely be using Blackburn more and more.”
Here at Blackburn Mfg. Co., our goal is to guide customers from start to finish in creating a design for their business. This approach has led our digital marketing specialist Cara Friedrich to create and design Blackburn’s new tagline: “Designed to Leave Your Mark.” We customize your design on any of our high-quality products, allowing you to leave your mark.
For information, visit blackburnflag.com.