Chicago: The City of Manufacturing

For more than 60 years, Manor Tool & Manufacturing has provided exceptional metal stamping, fabrication, and assembly services. Founded by Lee Simeone, this family business has grown from a small shop into a 32-press facility, offering a wide range of services, including design and engineering, tool and die fabrication, deep draw stamping, custom tooling, secondary machining, finishing, and more. Now under the leadership of Lee’s son and son-in-law, Manor Tool serves clients all over the country from its home in Chicago.

The Windy City is the place to be when it comes to manufacturing. It’s at the top of metal, food, and plastics manufacturing, and about half a million people in Chicago are working in the industry. The central location and commitment to growth and technological advancement make it an exciting place to pursue a manufacturing career.

Chicago’s History in Manufacturing

The discovery of lead in Galena kick-started the area’s industrial boom in 1823, and much of the following innovation and production was driven by agricultural needs. In the following two decades, “…risk receptive, visionary, creative, deal-making businessmen and women were busy making Chicago work.” An entrepreneurial spirit took hold and set the stage for rapid growth between 1850 and 1920, which established Chicago as an industry leader throughout the 20th century.

In the eight years following 1939, Illinois manufacturing went from a $2.1 billion industry to $6.68 billion. From steel mills, refineries, and slaughterhouses to steel and brass rolling and the production of rail cars, watches, aluminum, machine tools, glass bottles, and more—it was all happening in the Chicago area. Telephone and communication manufacturing began in Chicago, and mobile devices are still being produced here today.

Is Chicago a Good City for Manufacturing?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago’s manufacturers rose to meet the growing demand for specific products, taking advantage of existing capabilities and pivoting to adopt new ones. The city has the second-highest number of manufacturers in the country, and with its central location it was uniquely equipped to manage demand.

Production shows no sign of slowing in a post-pandemic world. There are 10,000 manufacturing jobs currently open in the area, and the city is well-equipped to train and prepare the next generation of manufacturers. With world-class universities and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, which offers hands-on manufacturing training, Chicago is ripe with opportunity for those who are interested in a rewarding career.

Made in Chicago

The city government recognizes the impact and potential of Chicago manufacturing, and the Made in Chicago initiative is designed to promote our local manufacturers and the products they make. From cars and food products to building supplies, beauty products, packaging, furniture, tools, clothing, and more, this city is the birthplace for many of the items people and companies use on a daily basis throughout the country and around the world.

Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA)

Other organizations have emerged to help draw awareness to the industry, promote cooperation among professionals, and highlight the potential career path that awaits Chicago’s young people. Manor Tool’s own president, Tom Simeone, is on the Board of Directors of the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA), which was founded in 1925 to encourage company owners to work together to advance the industry.

Manufacturing Renaissance

Meanwhile, Manufacturing Renaissance is leading the way with a variety of programs and organizations designed to help teenagers discover the industry and advance young adults through effective training programs. These organizations include Manufacturing Connect (MC), the Young Manufacturers Association (YMA), and the Instructors Apprenticeship for Advanced Manufacturing (IAAM).

Chicago has long proven itself as an industrial center, and organizations like these—and the dedicated people behind them—ensure the city will remain a leader in manufacturing for decades to come.

Manor Tool: Serving Chicago & Beyond Since 1959

Manor Tool is proud to be a Chicago manufacturer. As part of both the city’s rich history and bright future, we’re dedicated to providing high-quality metal stamping and fabrication as well as an exciting workplace with competitive pay, advancement opportunities, and all the training and support you need to create a fulfilling lifelong career in the industry.

Learn more about our company by visiting or blog or downloading our eBooks, then take a look at our careers page for a list of available positions. If you’re curious about a manufacturing career in Chicago, contact us or apply today. We look forward to hearing from you!


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