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Lake Country: A History and the Road to Buffing Products

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This article is written by Jason Brennan, Regional Account Manager for Lake Country Manufacturing, Inc.

Often times when we are at an industry show or at a consumer based show, we are asked “Why is a buffing pad company named Lake Country Manufacturing?”, or “What does the name Lake Country have to do with buffing pads?”

It certainly is a worthy question to ask, and our history as a company can shed some direct light on the subject. In 1977, Jim Schneider purchased what was then known as Milwaukee Tanning Company, from the Knoernschild family, who established the company in 1883. As acquired, the company manufactured four main lines of goods- sheepskin apparel, powder puffs for cosmetics, leather dice cups, and a sheepskin product, which you might be able to guess, buffing pads! The northwestern corner of the county where the plant was located was commonly referred to “Lake Country” by the local residents, given the large number of lakes found in the area. That coupled with multiple lines of manufacturing brought the company name Lake Country Manufacturing together.

After telling the story of the company name, it often leads to the next question of the duck being a part of our company logo. The duck was incorporated into the logo for a very simple, yet neat reason. Our founder Jim, always arriving early, would often be greeted by ducks taking flight at the millpond located at the original plant. The duck was added to the logo to reflect on those early days where Jim founded the company now known as Lake Country Manufacturing.

So now with the background on the name and the logo, we can travel down the road and some of the stops that have brought Lake County Manufacturing to the forefront with buffing pads. Given the quality Lake Country came to be known for regarding wool buffing pads, the company was often approached to produce specialty pads, to specific customer specifications. This would vary from simple requests of pile length and pad diameters to producing new pads with cutting-edge materials. Many of these customers were very large well-recognized names in multiple industries, coming to Lake Country Manufacturing for expertise, research and development, and private label production for them. Lake Country Manufacturing became “the guys you want to talk to” for production of buffing pads. In the early 80’s, Lake Country developed and produced some of the first foam pads to enter the US market. And as you have seen, foam buffing pads have become a staple of many buffing markets including, but not limited to, automotive, marine, composites, and aeronautical. As we rolled into the 90’s, Lake Country was the first to introduce European prepolymer foams in the US market and launched the patented System 2000™ Pad Washer. In 2011 our patented CCS pads became the first quantifiable product to compete against an industry standard waffle pad. While being recognized for quality products, and unrivaled performance thru design, Lake Country Manufacturing became known for itself as a brand, whereas in previous decades it had been known primarily as a manufacturer. It is with this brand recognition and growth that Lake Country Manufacturing built a new 81,000 square foot facility in Oconomowoc Wisconsin in 2014. In 2015 Lake Country Manufacturing acquired American Buffing Company in Ohio, which allowed us to increase our manufacturing capacity for wool buffing pads sold into OEM and industrial markets. In addition, over the years Lake Country Manufacturing has held over 50 patents worldwide due to our constant dedication to innovative buffing solutions. It doesn’t stop there, we have additional patented products in our pipeline that we are excited to be releasing in the near future.

Currently, Lake Country Manufacturing is celebrating its 41st year in business. We still employ a few staff members that were with Jim when he started back in 1977, and we have many employees exceeding 30 years of employment. We are proud to manufacture our products in the US, in both Wisconsin and Ohio. We currently have over 35 full-time employees dedicated to continuing to bring quality innovative products to our customers.

We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit of our history and company background, we enjoy meeting our customers as we travel, and hearing about your projects and uses of our products on your pride and joy!

2 comments on Lake Country: A History and the Road to Buffing Products

  1. Jason Atleson says:

    Great article and company. I’m up in Oconomowoc a couple times a year, beautiful area.

  2. We’d like to thank Detailed Image for allowing us to share our story. We’re honored to have our products offered thru your company!

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