Friday Five: Top Five Things You Didn’t Know Are Made in Chattanooga

By Austin Anthony

It's not so common that you hear Chattanooga referred to as the Dynamo of Dixie - a nickname that once reflected the city's wide-ranging foundries and factories.

Many of those early companies continued to grow and prosper, providing employment to many Chattanoogans throughout the 20th century and generating wealth that would enhance education, philanthropy and civic life in our city.

Of course, that sector of our economy was not without its share of problems - most notably the resulted air pollution that undermined the area's name.

As the #1 polluted city, Chattanooga put a plan in place to tackle the scourge for which it had become known.

But, despite the smog, the booming manufacturing economy also supported tens of thousands of families in the area with comparatively high wages.

Nevertheless, over time the industrial sector minimized - with significant economic pain - and Chattanooga rebranded itself from the Dynamo of Dixie to the Scenic City of the South, or just the Scenic City.

Undoubtedly, Chattanoogans are justifiably proud that so many tourists and residents enjoy the lovely scenery here. It now represents the core of Chattanooga's appeal.

Fortunately, however, the city hasn't entirely lost its industrial dynamo moxie - not by a long shot.

Contrary to popular belief, this resurgence of manufacturing in the area can't only be attributed to Volkswagen. Thankful as we are to have the expansive VW plant at Enterprise South industrial park, local companies are expanding in the region, including Nichols Fleet and Mueller Water Products. This investment in the Greater Chattanooga Region bolsters the area’s strong growth trajectory and solidifies the region as a prime location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.

In today’s economy, global businesses can choose to grow or expand anywhere in the world.

But, more and more major companies are deciding to invest and create jobs in the Greater Chattanooga Region because of an unbeatable economic environment, a centralized, accessible location and incredibly low tax burdens.

Manufacturing in the city also is a vastly cleaner process than it once was. Downtown businessmen no longer need to change their blackened shirts at midday, and the image of Chattanooga as a pollution-ridden dystopia has sharply and deservedly vanished.

If this continues, the Dynamo of Dixie may well be firing on all cylinders once again before too long.

Perhaps, it already is.

Our digital prowess has given us a calling card with entrepreneurs as it positions our city as one where innovation and risk-taking are valued. But, let us not forget the legacy of manufacturing in this dynamic city. 

Local manufacturing is kickstarting a new wave of economic growth and sustainability in the region. To show tribute to our often overlooked local manufacturing companies, we've compiled a list of our top five things you probably didn't know are made in Chattanooga.

Fillauer Prosthetics

The prosthetics industry is rapidly growing, allowing patients to better customize their devices, control them using their nervous system, and even regain a sense of touch. These cutting-edge wonders are being made right here in Chattanooga at Fillauer LLC. Fillauer LLC employs over 100 people, and they design, manufacture and customize quality products to serve their local and international costomer base. The company manufactures more than 3,200 orthotic and prosthetic products with a wide range from pediatric to adult components. Offering more than a dozen styles, Fillauer LLC is best known for their Prosthetic Suspension Lock Systems. Fillauer LLC continually strengthens a tradition that began more than 90 years ago as an innovator in the design and development of high quality products. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

AdTech Ceramics

The global advanced ceramics market is expected to reach USD 134.58 billion by 2024. Riding the wave of this exponential growth is local industrial ceramics manufacturer AdTech Ceramics. Originally established over 100 years ago in Chattanooga, AdTech has built on its rich history with substantial investments in HTCC Al2O3 and multilayer AIN electronic packaging product lines. In addition, the company's ceramic injection molding capability provides for the manufacture of complex ceramic components available metallized and plated, as part of a brazed assembly or unmetallized. Also, to impress your friends of your newfound ceramic knowledge, co-fired ceramic technology was first invented in Chattanooga at AdTech Ceramics. Yet another point we can add to our bragging list. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page

Davron Technologies

Virtually every manufactured product requires the introduction of heat at some point during the production process. Purchasing the proper piece of thermal processing equipment (industrial ovens) is rarely a casual or easy consideration. Davron Technologies, Inc. custom fabricates industrial ovens, providing turnkey design and system integration services to develop thermal processing solutions. Davron is a total industrial oven manufacturer, creating custom industrial ovens and precision process equipment for every industry that requires thermal processing. The company takes a personal approach to each oven design and customers appreciate the extra attention devoted to making each oven more suitable to their specific applications. As the Provider of Industrial Oven Solutions, Davron offers one of the largest selections of in-house and on-site industrial oven services in the world. For further information, visit their website or their Facebook page.

Newcomb Spring Corp

Leading the industrial pack in metal form and spring manufacturing for over a century, Newcomb Spring emanates quality expertise combined with an intimate, family operated atmosphere. The unrivaled staff at Newcomb Spring custom manufacturers stampings, springs and wire forms for customers across the globe. For their dedicated and persevering spirit, Newcomb Spring is known as the “Kan-Do” company (a play on their Kando Tech Center), a name that compliments the entrepreneurial environment of Chattanooga. Newcomb Spring also focuses on innovation in its plants, adding proprietary and purchased technologies. Recently, Newcomb Spring added robotic automation to its operations as part of the company’s continued effort to improve efficiency and quality. Talk about futuristic technology. For further information, check out their website or their Facebook page.

Aegle Gear

With their intricate and modern design, Aegle Gear uniforms effortlessly elicit the attention of a hospital ward. But, these uniforms are more than ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing. They are “super” uniforms. Aegle Gear approaches clothing design and technology like an athletic gear company but modifies it specifically to the needs and demands of health care professionals. Not only are Aegle Gear’s uniforms comfortable, attractive and tough, they’re also fluid-resistant and treated with antimicrobial technology that eliminates infectious germs. The goal is to make employees happier, reduce hospital-associated infections and give hospitals a visibility augmentation through a sleek, branded look. The work of health care providers is relentlessly challenging. Rapid technological advancements, chaotic environments, higher patient acuity and a plethora of other factors place enormous pressures on health care workers every day. Aegle Gear understands the complex responsibilities of the health care worker. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.

As we look forward to the promising future of Chattanooga, let us remember that this current generation of manufacturing experts hold the promise of innovation, success and progress in their callused hands. With the unwavering support from our community, they are poised to carry on the Dynamo of Dixie legacy for centuries to come.