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The History Of Sharpie

You may think Sharpie is an upstart in the pen world, but in fact the brand has a long and distinguished history stretching back over 160 years.

It all starts in 1857, when Frederick W. Redington and William H. Sanford, Jr. founded Sanford Manufacturing Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. Focused on selling ink and glue, the company expanded in 1866 and moved to Chicago. After a ruinous fire in 1899, Sandford rebuilt its factory and HQ, and started going from strength to strength.

In 1940, the company became Sanford Ink Company, focusing on high-quality ink formulations, and, in 1964, started producing marker pens – yes, the Sharpie had arrived. The Sharpie Fine Point black marker was the first pen-style permanent marker, writing on almost any surface – from glass, wood and stone, to plastic, metal and paper.

It was immediately popular, gaining celebrity endorsements. The extra-fine point was introduced in the 1970s, and the brand’s popularity continued to soar. It became a household name in the 1990s and 2000s, with athletes and celebrities signing everything from autograph books to sports jerseys with Sharpies.

Today, the brand is synonymous with permanent markers worldwide, and you’ll be hard-pushed to find a household that doesn’t contain a clutch of Sharpie pens in various colours. Long live the Sharpie!