1919. The Great War had just ended. The world was fighting a global influenza pandemic. The 18th Amendment (Prohibition) was ratified and the 19th Amendment (Women’s Suffrage) was passed by Congress. The United States population was 104 million people with an average annual income of $750. Albert Einstein’s “crazy” Theory of General Relativity was confirmed by a solar eclipse and the first free-standing dial telephone was introduced by AT&T/Bell System. And in Leominster, Massachusetts, Eugene L. Tourigny, a Canadian immigrant, started United Comb & Novelty Company, making combs, buttons, and other small consumer products from tortoise shells and cattle horns, which were actually the precursor materials for modern plastics. The course of the 20th century brought new materials, such as celluloid, and new fabrication methods that Tourigny introduced to the company, reflecting his commitment to innovation and adaptability.
In 1986, the company adapted its manufacturing processes to meet consumer demand and entered the plastic housewares market using the brand name United Plastics. In 2006, the company changed its name to United Solutions, an evolution that reflects the busy lifestyle of modern consumers who need solutions, not more products. In 2009, United Solutions expanded on this strong foundation by partnering with Rubbermaid, another trusted name in business for over 100 years, to provide quality products at affordable prices to consumers everywhere. The United Solutions of today continues to reflect the values important to Tourigny when he started the company in 1919 — strong work ethic, pride in community, focus on quality, and American-made products for everyday use at competitive prices.
Did You Know?
Leominster’s long-standing plastics industry is actually older than the United States. Obediah Hills was an apprentice to Enoch Noyes, the man believed to be America’s first comb maker, in Newbury, MA. In 1775, Hills moved to Leominster and started the first artisan comb-making business in the area. By the mid-1800s, 28 comb-making businesses were employing approximately 400 people in Leominster.