Welcome back to the final edition of the 100 years series! So far we’ve visited Steelcase, Girl Scouts and Oreos – all national organizations with rich histories and a determination to stay relevant and beneficial for another 100 years…and then some. Today’s organization fits right in to this category…literally.




L.L. Bean is a well known shoe and clothing line for the outdoorsy type. However, this should not deter you from checking out some amazing products that have been providing warmth and protection from the elements to its owners since 1912. It originally started with the Maine boot that Leon Leonwood Bean invented in 1911. In 1912, L.L. Bean launched by sending a mailer out for “novel hunting shoes” – this led to their first 100 orders. Within 5 years they branched out into clothing – a hunting jacket to go with the hunting boot – and their mail order company began to thrive!


Some other notable events:

  • They patented the Maine Hunting Shoe in 1921 after modifications by Winfield A Given were made
  • In 1928, Ernest Hemingway recommended L.L. Bean hunting boots in a letter to a friend
  • In 1960, Ted Williams (baseball legend) sends L.L. Bean a letter offering to buy the company. L.L. declined the offer.
  • The Coty Award – “fashion’s oscar” (1975) goes to the Allagash Hat (amongst other items).
  • 1976, L.L. Bean got it’s own zip code
  • In 1995, llbean.com launched
  • In 2010, online orders eclipsed catalog orders for the first time.

To find out more information on L.L. Bean’s history (or to go shopping for some boots!), click here!


I hope you’ve enjoyed the heritage and history of some great American organizations. Though there are quite a few others that have turned 100, as well (check out wiki for a bigger list), we wanted to share in the celebration we’re having with Steelcase with a few favorites. Did we miss one you really liked? Leave a comment and I’ll try to do a history check for next week.

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