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Great American Factory Tours
Old 08-09-2016, 02:49 PM   #1
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Great American Factory Tours

Latest Popular Mechanics has an article suggesting you skip the crowded amusement parks and tourist traps and take the kids or grandkids or just yourself to an American Factory. Many tours are free... article detailed tours of:
U.S Mint
John Deere
Airstream
Hatch Show Print (makes event/concert posters since 1879)
Bourbon Barrel Foods
Woolrich- fabric since 1830..including blankets for Civil War soldiers
Coors
Golden Flake Potato Chips
Boeing
Chevrolet Corvette
Harley Davidson
Fender GuitarsLodge
Lodge Cast Iron
Wood-Mizer Saw Mill
Nokona Boots
Jelly Belly
Tabasco Pepper Sauce
Kohler
R.L. Winston Fly Rods
Filson Outfitters (started 1897 to outfit gold rush prospectors)

I'm sure there are many other more regional factories that do tours. I'm making my list....
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:01 PM   #2
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The Ford Dearborn, F150 plant is worth a visit. You can pick up the bus at the Henry Ford Museum.

https://www.thehenryford.org/visit/f...-factory-tour/
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:21 PM   #3
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Great idea.

I've been to a few of those, and many others. As a "should have been" engineer, I thoroughly enjoy that sort of thing.

One of the most fascinating examples I've ever toured was a candy factory in Cambridge Mass, where Necco Wafers were made, back in the 90s. New England Confectionery Company (their initials spelled Necco) was (maybe still are) making them on 19th century equipment, all cast iron, brass, etc. Just amazing.

Others that had a huge impact on me included the Pratt & Whitney plant in Connecticut where they make some truly awesome jet engines, Goodyear Tire in Akron OH, Celestial Seasonings tea in Boulder Co, and quite a few more.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:24 PM   #4
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You can add Cabot Cheese to the list... they have a nice factory tour... and lots of free samples in the gift shop.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:26 PM   #5
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I took a tour of the Toyota Nummi plant in Fremont, CA about a couple of years before it closed. Fascinating car plant tour.

An then there are all the wineries in the CA wine country.

It is not generally open to the public but I took a tour of Tyson chicken factory in Texas once. Best tour ever.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:39 PM   #6
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The Yuengling Brewery, Pottsville PA. America's oldest! Family owned and free samples too.;-))
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:44 PM   #7
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In grade school we were taken on trips to the GM assembly plant in Baltimore (long since closed) and a Wonder Bread bakery. I still remember the free cupcakes, a rare luxury for me at the time.

At the GM plant I marveled at a machine that could lift an ENTIRE CAR and move it to another location. To a second or third grade kid that was about the most amazing thing I'd ever seen.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:56 PM   #8
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I love factory tours. I've seen foundries, steel mills, and the Jeep assembly plant back in the late 70's (excellent high school teacher set these up for us).

Then got a tour of a Blaupunkt factory in German in the 80's. It was very automated (for it's day) and the project I was working on was going to use some of the same systems.

Also in Germany, you can tour the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. Anyone can go, but it's also part of their european delivery package.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:57 PM   #9
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Anyone interested in tours might want to browse this site:

Factory Tours USA
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:02 PM   #10
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One of my fondest memories is visiting the Corning Glass Works with my Dad when I was about 14. In addition to beautiful glass objects, there were fascinating glassblowing demonstrations and all kinds of information about the uses to which glass has been put over the ages. I remember there was a big exhibit on the Latest New Thing - fiber optic glass!

I loved it so much that I went back with my new husband 16 years later, when I was finally able to afford something in the gift shop :-)
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpeirce View Post
Anyone interested in tours might want to browse this site:

Factory Tours USA
thanks.... great list
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:08 PM   #12
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Thanks for the heads up!

Just signed up for three grandsons and I to tour the local Toyota Truck plant. I was going to do it a couple of years ago but totally forgot about it until this thread.
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:35 PM   #13
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Thanks for the heads up!

Just signed up for three grandsons and I to tour the local Toyota Truck plant. I was going to do it a couple of years ago but totally forgot about it until this thread.

IIRC you are also in central Tx? If so, Collings guitars are made a few miles SW of Austin... One of the top guitars made and there is a free tour.. Grandkids might also enjoy.


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Old 08-09-2016, 05:37 PM   #14
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IIRC you are also in central Tx? If so, Collings guitars are made a few miles SW of Austin... One of the top guitars made and there is a free tour.. Grandkids might also enjoy.
Thanks, I'll check it out.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:10 PM   #15
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Unfortunately most food and beer factory tours keep you behind glass and far away from machinery and the fork lifts running around. We used to spend Fridays at the old Schlitz Bell drinking beer in their hospitality room (while in college.)
I always wanted to take the FedEx hub tour in Memphis, but they were in the middle of the night. Now it's too large for tourists--too fast moving.
The Corvette factory is another good tour in Bowling Green, KY--an hour north of Nashville.
I do make it to Jack Daniels Distillery every couple of years. They've quit letting tourists into their barrel warehouses due to the potential of fire. I don't think they even have electricity in them--on purpose. One warehouse might cost'em a year's production. George Dickel Distillery also has a tour 15 miles East outside Tullahoma.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:15 PM   #16
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Very Kewl ..... Thank You !!!!
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:27 PM   #17
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Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream in Vermont is fun and so is the New Belgium brewery in Colorado.

And of course a shout out to my local attraction, America's only tea plantation. http://www.charlestonteaplantation.com/
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:49 PM   #18
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The Martin guitar factory in Nazareth PA is on my list since I have four of their product.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:12 PM   #19
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As a metallurgical engr, I encourage if you can get a tour of a steel mill, that is really impressive. Especially the hot side operations from casting to hot rolling. Cold rolling and finishing operations are nice, but not nearly as impressive raw energy in the form of the heat. Standing 200 ft or more away and the radiant heating is like standing right in front of your oven door with it open.

A real nice tour is the Maker's Mark distillery in KY. Other bourbon distilleries also have tours, but MM is nice because it is more traditional and less automation.
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:25 AM   #20
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The Martin guitar factory in Nazareth PA is on my list since I have four of their product.
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