THE DRIVING ENGINE
Texas manufacturing is one of the primary engines driving the state’s economy. Today, Texas is a national leader in the manufacturing of computers and electronic equipment, chemicals and machinery, and food and beverages such as soft drinks and beer. Not surprisingly, some of the first products manufactured by Texans utilized the raw materials and agricultural resources available locally and throughout the state. Lumber, stone, brick, flour, corn meal, and leather goods such as saddlery were some of the original “made in Texas” items to enter the marketplace. Although temporary industries arose to service the missions during Spanish colonization, Texas didn’t establishing its first permanent industry until after Anglo-American colonization, building a sawmill near San Augustine in 1825. Lumber milling was perhaps the first industry in Texas to reach any kind of large-scale commercial production, a heritage that can be thoroughly explored at Lufkin’s Texas Forestry Museum. Today, large-scale manufacturing dominates the state but it’s the small-scale manufacturers that produce some of the most unique and unusual items like custom-made cowboy boots, freshwater fishing lures, and tasty-pink peanut-filled candies.