Blackburn Manufacturing Co. is a family owned firm. It was started in 1953 by E. A. “Bud” Blackburn in the basement of a small family homestead near Royal, Nebraska. Bud’s cousin worked in the surveying industry and used old lathe stakes as markers. He came to Bud and asked him if he could attach a piece of cloth or paper to a wire or wooden stick.

An engineer by trade, Bud eventually built a machine that would glue a vinyl flag to a wire staff. However, it took longer than expected because Bud already had a full time job: running the family farm located near Royal, NE. After years of tinkering, Bud finally completed his first automated flag machine. He and his two sons, Jim aged 7 and Bob aged 11, ran the one machine around the clock to fill the company’s first million flag order. From there, the rest is history.