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HON is headquartered in Muscatine, IA

Muscatine, Iowa, home of HON headquarters – what’s it all about?

Honestly, much more than what meets the eye. While Muscatine is a town of only 22,000 people, it has a rich history and an intriguing economic background which it still maintains today. Muscatine is home to headquarters and manufacturing facilities of companies, such as HNI Corporation, HON, Allsteel, Heinz, Monsanto, Bridgestone, and Musco Lighting. These industry titans contribute to employment opportunities and economic growth today; however, it was something quite different that put Muscatine on the map many years ago…

“The Pearl of the Mississippi” was the nickname given to Muscatine in the late 1800’s when the McKee Button Factory, locally operated out of Muscatine (and producer of our Abound® Plains Tiles!), was a national leader in the production and supply of decorative pearl buttons. These buttons were harvested out of the Mississippi River. As success ensued in the early 1900’s, Muscatine was dubbed the “Pearl Button Capital of the World”. Interestingly, one of the old button manufacturing buildings has been repurposed and renovated as part of HON Headquarters.

In addition to the well-known companies, some notable figures also have roots deep in Muscatine, including Max Allen Collins, author of graphic novel Road to Perdition. You may have heard of a gentleman by the name of Mark Twain, who spent a stint of his writing career in Muscatine and had this to say about the scenery:

“And I remember Muscatine—still more pleasantly—for its summer sunsets. I have never seen any, on either side of the ocean that equaled them.”

What are some things you love about your company’s hometown?

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We love our Abound® Workstations for many reasons. Abound is quick to install, easy to reconfigure to fit any workspace, and supports a wide range of material options for a stunning aesthetic (just to name a few). But, beyond how it works, we also love the story behind how Abound is made.

The beautiful Abound Plains tiles, like the ones you see below, are created just down the street from HON HQ by one of only 4 remaining button manufacturers in the United States. Family-owned McKee Button Company was started back in 1895 when Muscatine, IA was considered to be the Pearl Button Capital of the World. Today, they continue to produce buttons and specialize in custom solid surface materials that can be used for almost any application from home to commercial to retail.

HON Abound Plains Tiles

A few HON members had the privilege of touring the McKee Button Company and were amazed by the unique, labor-intensive process behind the creation of a Plains tile. They wanted to share a few pictures to show you just how unique it is!

McKee Button Company in Muscatine, IA

The process starts with a liquid resin which is colored and then mixed with a hardening agent.

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The resulting mixture is poured into a spinning drum until it reaches the perfect consistency.

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When ready, the hardened sheet is peeled out of the spinning drum and cured between heated platens.

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The final product is a beautiful Plains tile!

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Have you ever thought about how your office furniture is made? If you don’t work in this industry, you probably haven’t! We all know what it’s like to get so caught up with work that we take for granted the tools that help support us throughout the workday. So, next time you stop to admire your workspace, remember that behind every beautiful HON product is a beautiful story.

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