Looking Back at Graco’s History

In Fond Remembrance of Graco’s Founder, Mr. Robert Cone Sr. (1916-2010)

In 1942, Russell Gray and Robert Cone Sr. formed Graco Metal Products, in Philadelphia, PA. For 11 years, the firm fabricated machine and car parts for local manufacturers – a company that one day would become Graco Children’s Products.

In 1953, Mr. Gray left the firm, leaving Mr. Cone as the sole owner. Mr. Cone decided to manufacture his own line of products, and after only 18 months his dedication to build something sustainable led to the world’s first wind-up infant swing, the Graco Swyngomatic®.

Mr. Cone and Graco entered the baby-products business believing they had a hit on their hands. An enthusiastic Graco salesman anticipated that 10,000 of the swings would sell, but no one could have predicted that Graco would sell millions of Swyngomatics in the coming years. Mr. Cone’s vision made Graco into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of juvenile products.

Just Look at Us Now! 60 years later Graco continues Mr. Cone’s  tradition of innovation, with products like the imonitor™ Digital Baby Monitor and the compact folding Contempo™ Highchair.

Mr. Robert Cone, Sr.  resided in Elverson, PA with Charlotte, his wife of 72 years, he lived to the age of 94 and passed away in mid-October this year. He ran Graco until his retirement in the early 80’s at which time he turned over control of Graco to his sons (Ed & Robert, Jr.) and enjoyed an active retirement. He will be greatly missed as a humble-visionary and vivacious leader.

Today, Graco is a business unit of Newell Rubbermaid™, with 1500 associates worldwide. While a half-century has brought many changes to Graco, the dedication and commitment to designing and manufacturing safe, top-quality products that Mr. Cone established years ago will continue to live on.

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