Sharpie History

Sharpie Bio

1857    Frederick W. Redington and William H. Sanford, Jr. found Sanford Manufacturing Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. The company focuses on producing and selling ink and glue.

1866    The company expands and relocates to Chicago.

1899    After narrowly escaping the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Sanford’s original factory succumbs this time to yet another disastrous fire. By 1900 Sanford has rebuilt its headquarters in downtown Chicago.

1927    In celebration of Sanford’s 70th birthday, the company commissions Norman Rockwell to create a painting for advertising use. The ad appears in several magazines with the caption, “It’s lucky for you, child, your Gran’dad wrote this will with Sanford’s Ink!”

1930 - 1940    Sanford continues to grow. Quality products and strong distribution help the company prosper, even through the Great Depression. In 1940 the company changes its name to Sanford Ink Company.

1964    Sanford turns its focus to the emerging marker business and introduces the Sharpie marker. The Sharpie Fine Point black marker becomes the first pen-style permanent marker. It writes on almost any surface from glass, wood and stone, to plastic, metal and, of course, paper. NBC talk show hosts Johnny Carson and Jack Parr are some of the first celebrity endorsers.

1979    A new style tip is introduced in four colors, the Sharpie Extra Fine Point marker.

1989    The Sharpie Ultra Fine Point is introduced. With its slim barrel, metal pocket clip and precise tip that produces clean and accurate lines, the Sharpie Ultra Fine becomes the first marker to truly write like a pen.

1991 - 1997    The popularity of Sharpie markers continues to soar in the 1990’s due in part to the $5 billion memorabilia industry. Autograph seekers and celebrities alike use Sharpie markers on everything from posters and trading cards to balls and jerseys.

1997 - 2002    Over this six-year stretch, five different Sharpie markers make debuts. Sharpie markers are also introduced in a variety of new colors, including Aqua, Berry, Turquoise and Lime. By the end of 2002, over 200 million Sharpie markers have been produced, enough for approximately two Sharpie markers for every household in America!

Sharpie gains added notoriety with its successful advertising and marketing campaigns. Sharpie jumps into sports marketing by sponsoring PGA golfers Arnold Palmer, David Toms, Chad Campbell and Gary Player. Terrell Owens and Sharpie score a touchdown—an unexpected, now famous end-zone celebration in 2001 results in approximately $5 million in publicity.

2002    Sharpie becomes the title sponsor of NASCAR®’s most popular event, the Sharpie 500, as well as sponsoring NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Kurt Busch.

2002 - 2011    New Sharpie products really gain momentum during this time with the launch of 6 new Sharpie product lines, and the introduction of 12 more colors, bringing the spectrum of Sharpie to 24 bold colors! An American icon celebrates 40 years…

Sharpie celebrates its major milestone by teaming up with Kurt Busch and renaming the home of Sharpie - Shelbyville, Tenn., to Sharpieville USA for the day in March and working with athletes and celebrities in the kick-off of “Autographs for Education”, a program where Sharpie teams up with sports figures to support community-based educational organizations.

Only the most trusted highlighter deserves the most recognized name in marking. Accent Highlighters are repositioned under the Sharpie name.

2005 - 2011    Today, Sharpie stands for far more than just markers. It’s the brand that stands up for self-expression. Letting you be heard, putting you at the center of your world, helping you express all the ideas, feelings, moods, and memories you have with absolute conviction and absolute passion—that’s what Sharpie’s all about!

With the introduction of products like Liquid Pencil, Gel Highlighter, and Stained by Sharpie, Sharpie continues coming up with innovative ways for you to uncap what’s inside. And with the launch of the new and improved, now you can showcase and share all things Sharpie and find all of your favorite products for self-expression—all on the same site.

When you start with Sharpie, you never know where you’ll end up. That’s the wonder of creating something. And Sharpie will continue to help you bring out what’s inside yourself and share it with the world.