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Factory Tours? Do you have a favorite?

Omega Man

Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat
Staff member
I like factory tours. This is possibly because I am frequently more interested in how something went together rather than the “end” result. I take a tour whenever I can- even if it’s a finished product like one of the few permitted tuna fishing boats.
Presumably the current virus 🦠 conditions will pass, where or what factory or finished product would you like to explore? :ear
If you have subscription TV, you can start thinking about it by watching the Science Channel and “How it’s Made”.
Checking out a little Process Piping? Maybe checking the lead content on the solder?
Once toured the Lima, Ohio tank factory where the Abrams tank was being manufactured. They put the entire hull on a lathe to mill the ring on which the turret pivots; a very large lathe.
I took the Smith & Wesson tour back in the day. I don’t think that tour is offered anymore.

Hopefully I can get to the Harley tour in York some day.

Using the "Factory Tours" link is an awesome idea - thanks for sharing! Will have to use for future trip planning.

Tours that I can comment on
Michigan -
The Ford River Rouge Tour is very nice. Can't see ALL of the F150 truck production, but can see an amount from a platform above the work area - cab assembly plus - could watch for hours
Once upon a time, Kellogg's Cereal allowed tours which were great, but they shut down because of industrial espionage decades ago.

Hersey's Chocolate - a good place to spend a 1/2 day - the smell is great.

John Deere Waterloo Tractor works. Here is where the BIG tractors are built. Anything that big and that GREEN is fun to watch.

Celestial Seasonings - well it's herbal tea, and the process isn't that involved, but the smells are great, it is an automated process you get to watch. Depending on how much time you spend in the tasting room, 2 hours?
50 years ago the John Deere tractor plant in Waterloo, Iowa was an interesting tour. Even then the mechanization was amazing. More recently the tour of the Tobasco plant in Louisiana was a fun diversion. We also did the HD plant in York, PA when the BMW MOA rally was at York. And we gaot to ride a Harley on their little test track.
I like the Sierra Nevada brewery tour near Asheville, NC.

Also, when we were in Bologna, Italy a couple of years ago, we went on a great tour of a factory where they make Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Here are a couple of photos:


I have an older book about tours. This book looks like it may be an interesting addition-


Have you ever wondered how toothpaste gets into the tube? How stripes get on a candy cane? More than just a travel guide, Watch It Made In the U.S.A. helps you experience firsthand the products, companies, technology, and workers that fuel our economy, from Boeing to Ben & Jerry's, Hallmark to Harley-Davidson. Whether you're curious about jelly beans or journalism, tea or teddy bears, you can count on factory-tour experts Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg to help you and your family visit hundreds of companies all across America.

I've been in lots of facilities over the years but here are a couple that I especially remember.

1. Maker's Mark Distillery
Loretto, KY

2. Corvette Factory
Bowling Green, KY
Use to be actual factory tours back in the day, now it's pretty much just the museum.
The Ducati Factory and Museum tour in Bologna.

Due to the pandemic, I'm sure it has changed, but a few years ago it was a guided museum tour followed by a walk-through on the factory floor, up close and personal.

2. Corvette Factory
Bowling Green, KY
Use to be actual factory tours back in the day, now it's pretty much just the museum.

That's disappointing. We went in 1996 but there was no factory tour that month because they were retooling for the C5. It's been on our list to go back.
We did get to test ride a couple Buells because Harley was having a big weekend festival on the grounds.
While a bit confuzzeled on the history track- Tremont Nail.

I have been to the original site (pre Mansfield) down on the start of Cape Cod in Wareham. Some years ago Tremont Nail moved to Mansfield and joined Acorn Manufacturing. The Delong family has been at the helm of Acorn for quite some time making some of the finest reproduction hardware that can be found.

Here is a bit of a factory tour recently featured on WBZ TV Boston-

Watching the the "cut" nails being made is pretty cool :thumb

Acorn is here- http://www.acornmfg.com

John Deere Tractor Factory, Waterloo, Iowa back in 1969. I could have watched them build engines all day.
Worked in Production Planning for an automaker. Toured everything from casting plants to door trim suppliers. And they usually treated you well. :)