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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

K'Nex build all sorts of shapes and objects, and American manufacturing too.

Bored at a wedding in 1990 and playing with some straws, Joel Glickman, an eternal tinkerer and child at heart, stumbled upon an addictively fun way to build all sorts of shapes and objects.  Similar in nature to the ever popular Tinkertoys, Joel sought to improve upon the basic concept by enabling a more versatile system of parts to develop into an award winning toy. 

As luck would have it, the Glickman family business (The Rodon Group) is an injection mold manufacturer that creates plastic parts for a variety of industrial applications.  Two years of design and refinement later, Joel made it his mission to get the rest of The Rodon Group team on board to begin creating his new toy which, at the time, had no name.

Joining the ranks of some of the most iconic toys in history like Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs, K’NEX has developed into a toy giant that is made in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.  The engineering-inspired buildable toys give kids and adults the ability to create nearly anything. 

K’NEX has evolved to redefine what toy manufacturing is all about.

As a result, K’NEX has become a favorite in classrooms and STEM education activities that highlight creativity and engineering.  This has earned K’NEX numerous educational awards like the Teacher’s Choice Award for Excellence in Classroom Products and over 250 other national and international awards.

Joel and K’NEX were also featured in CNBC’s How I Made My Millions program highlighting the company’s commitment to remain Made in America.  In fact, they are one of the few toy companies that continues mass production in America and continues to re-shore jobs and operations within the toy industry.  The Rodon Group and K’NEX partnership has already expanded to begin producing American classics like Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs in the USA.  The international market for K’NEX exploded when Alibaba, one of the largest online retailers in mainland China, began selling K’NEX.

From some straws and free time in 1990 to a multi-national, multi-million dollar, American-made toy company, K’NEX has evolved to redefine what toy manufacturing is all about.