Mostly by hand. Surprised? You can visit Ohio’s Airstream factory every week day at 2pm for a tour and see how the factory operates and how the 1,000 employees pump out 100 campers a week. Located in Jackson Center, OH, the factory has been so busy over the last few years that it has announced plans to triple the space in the west-central Ohio town (which only has a population of 1,456). This is the one and the only airstream factory and brings in tourists because of the factory tour which brought in over 10,000 visitors last year alone.
Airstream was started in 1931 and was actually closed in the late 1970’s during the recession. Fortunately, Thor Industries saw the value of the unique and eclectic RV’s and purchased the company in 1980. They still own it today. The RV’s cost a pretty penny, $36,000 – $160,000 and some proud owners will travel to the factory to watch their’s under construction. Because the RV’s are built, when they are ordered, their could be as many as 6 different models under construction at one time.
So how are these trailers built? You won’t see any robots on the tour. Airstreams are built by hand, by people. Employees methodically install up to 4,000 rivets per RV. They also make the furniture and windows.
Airstream owners are a bit of a cult. They refer to the company headquarters as the “mothership” and make trip there for tours service and events such as the annual Alumapalooza festival every spring that includes workshops, tours, parties and more.
For more information visit www.cleveland.com