A natural history.
From a bluff high above the Mississippi River in Winona, Minnesota comes the purity of Watkins. Our tried-and-true products have been good and natural through and through since 1868. We've made our products in the same factory for over 152 years.
Dr. Richard Ward sells the rights to Dr. Ward’s Celebrated Liniment to J. R. Watkins for $100.00. J. R. begins manufacturing liniment in the kitchen of his home in Plainview, MN.
J. R. officially files the copyright and patent for Dr. Ward’s Celebrated Liniment.
J. R. adds Egyptian Stick Salve and Fine Flavoring Extracts and Essences to the product line.
Emmett Carrell is one of J.R.’s earliest agents sold Dr. Ward’s products in SE Minnesota and NE Iowa.
J.R. relocates his family and company from Plainview to Winona. At the time Winona was Minnesota’s third largest city and enjoyed a thriving lumber and flour milling industries.
J. R. has 150 agents selling Dr. Ward’s products all over the mid-west and parts of Canada.
J.R. Watkins hosts the 2nd annual meeting of all his sales agents.
25th Anniversary of the start of the business.
J.R. discontinues the Dr. Ward’s name and incorporates his business as The J. R. Watkins Medical Company.
Watkins introduces Vanilla Extract, Black Pepper & Cinnamon.
Watkins publishes the first Watkins Almanac.
The Watkins Shipping Department begins using the recently invented electric truck to move finished products.
The Watkins manufacturing plant has expanded to covering an entire city block with over 5 acres of floor space.
J. R. Watkins dies at age 71.
The new Watkins Administration Building is completed.
The company Celebrates its 50th Anniversary and changes the company name to The J. R. Watkins Company.
Watkins now offers over 120 products.
Watkins Vanilla & Spices win the Gold Medal for highest quality at the 1928 Paris International Exposition in Paris, France.
Watkins opens its first overseas branch in Australia.
The first Watkins Cook Book by Elaine Allen published.
Watkins begins offering tours of the Watkins Headquarters, plant and research farm. Up to 250,000 people a year would visit Watkins.
The United States Enters World War II.
Watkins celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
90% of Watkins production goes towards the war effort.
Watkins opens a new branch of the company in South Africa.
Watkins has 15,000 sales people and sales over $40,000,000.
Watkins launches a new program to recruit more women into its sales force.
The number of Watkins salesmen begins to decline as American change their shopping habits away from direct selling.
Watkins introduces its first modern catalog that features product description, an illustration and price for each item.
The company changes its name and is now known as Watkins Products, Inc.
As part of the ongoing National Advertising Campaign Watkins sponsors Dave Garroway’s Today Show on NBC.
James Doyle becomes the first non-family member to be President of Watkins Products Inc.
Watkins has a booth at the New York World’s Fair.
Watkins celebrates its Centennial Year.
Watkins introduces new 2 oz. Cruet extract bottle.
Watkins introduces new line of gourmet food products under the J. Zachary label.
Watkins is sold to Minnesota businessman Irwin L. Jacobs ending 110 years of Watkins family ownership.
Irwin Jacobs begins rebuilding the independent dealers sales force by offering new business opportunities and a better compensation plan.
Watkins has over 20,000 independent dealers fueling the company growth during the 1980’s.
By the end of the decade Watkins has recovered from the decline it experienced during the 1960’s and 70’s
Watkins Celebrates its 125th Anniversary.
Mark E. Jacobs becomes President of Watkins Inc.
Watkins begins to focus on products around healthy living.
The Watkins Administration Building and manufacturing plant are placed on The National Registry of Historic Places.
Watkins introduces organic spices continuing its commitment to offering healthier and sustainable products.
Watkins switches from glass to plastic bottles for most products.
Mark Jacobs becomes CEO (left), and J.R. Rigley becomes President (right).
Launch of Artificial Dye-Free Food Coloring.
The Watkins Company Celebrates its 150th Anniversary with a Guinness World Record title holding cake.
A new line Organic Spice line is launched.
A new line of Artificial Dye Free Baking Decorations is launched.
Watkins 1868 Organic Grilling, a line of seasonings, rubs, and marinades, are launched in the spring of 2021.
Watkins Aromatic and Orange Bitters are launched in the fall of 2021.