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Jul 28

Kansas Manufacturing Atlas 1976: What was here 45 years ago?

Posted on July 28, 2021 at 12:39 PM by Bill Sowers

1976 Manufacturing Atlas Cover


So which larger manufacturers were in Kansas 45 years ago which are no longer around?  This handy 59 pages directory will answer most of those questions giving the researcher a good look at how much the manufacturing picture has changed in our state during the past four decades.

The Atlas is divided into two sections, plus appendices.  Section I is a brief review of manufacturing in Kansas with a comparison with other states.  Section II has maps showing which industry groups were prevalent throughout the state by county. Industry groups includes industry types such as grain mill, poultry, bakery, textile, lumber and wood, printing and publishing, petroleum refining, leather, metal industries, machinery, transportation equipment, aircraft parts, etc etc. 

The 1976 editors of the Atlas stated that: "This Atlas is designed to provide a handy tool for developers, businessmen, development agencies and others needing information about the location of manufacturing in Kansas. On one page it shows not only the geographic distribution of various types of manufacturing plants but also the approximate number of total employees in each location (by circle size) and the number of plants involved (by inset number)."  

The Appendices, starting on page 45 (page 52 of the PDF) are cool because you get employment statistics for the state as a whole.  For example, the biggest manufacturing employers in Kansas at that time were those who produced transportation equipment... 40,532 employed, followed by Food & Kindred Products, Non-Electrical Machinery, Fabricated Metal, etc.  Average weekly earnings by industry and other statistics are also included.

The thing that caught my eye was on the final three pages... a list of the largest manufacturing employers in the state, giving county locations plus employment number codes (at the bottom of each page).  The lists were divided by manufacturing companies employing more than 500 employees and manufacturing companies employing more than 1,000 employees.  A map is also provided showing which counties had larger manufacturing establishments.

An interesting bit of trivia on what was, as well as a useful tool for those researching changes in industrial change during the past several decades in Kansas.

The book is available at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library here: