Gladding Braided Products has been around forever and ever and ever… well, since it was founded in 1816 by B.F. Gladding with a single horse-powered braiding machine. :P Today, Gladding specializes in a multitude of products that has only continued to grow year by year. Each and every product is U.S. Made in their
valley factory in South Otselic, . They are also a current U.S. Government Contractor,
braiding products specifically for use by the U.S. Department of Defense. New
Straight from their webpage, “…We pride ourselves on our tradition of providing uncompromising attention and dedicated service to each client.” Apparently, when they set out to do something, they set out to do it right. If that hasn’t carried them through nearly two centuries, I don’t know what has! Gladding has a unique dedication to their customers in that they have a communal sense of responsibility to serve with dignity and respect. They continually conform to the changing desires of their individual customers, as well as the entire braiding market! They make use of advanced computer and raw material technologies in order to make advancements in their product line, as well as engineering requested custom prototypes and products.
Gladding’s product line is very similar to E.L. Wood’s. However, Gladding has an extra feather in their cap in that they not only produce fiber braided products, but wire braided ones, as well! The materials that Gladding uses include: Aracon, Bronze, Bare Copper, Tinned-plated Copper, Dacron, Dyneema, Fiberglass, Inconel, Kevlar, Monel, Nextel, Nickel 2000, Nickel-plating, Nomex Yarn, Nylon, Peek, Polyester, Polypropylene, Silver-plated, Spectra, Stainless Steel Wire, Trevira, Vectran Yarns, and a few others that they would happily list if you contact them.
The many products that Gladding manufactures include: grounding straps, tubular braids, flat braids, multi-layer braids, coated braids, buss wire, cable harnesses, over braiding, shielding, double braids, solid braids, diamond braids, twine, 12-strand rope, shock cord, Duravet cord, Gladbrite accessory cord, paraline, 650 Nylon cord, Mil-C-5040 Type III 550 Military-Spec Paracord, Type III 550 Commercial-Spec Paracord, plus all sorts of custom requests and prototypes. Of course, the braid diameters range between products, all being packaged in various lengths and forms.
The History Channel stopped by the Gladding Braided Products facility to film an episode of “Modern Marvels” on Ropes & Chains. Check it out here!
So, suffice to say, these guys are pros when it comes to braiding stuff… maybe not hair, but regardless, they’re pros. In regards to their Type III 550 Commercial Paracord, they have a sizeable collection of colors: 57 different solids, patterns, camos and reflectives. While theirs might not be the most extensive, the vibrancy and uniqueness of the dyes that Gladding uses for their cord certainly shows that more isn’t always better. Gladding’s brand of 550 Paracord is very popular with everyone from part-time crafters to full-time businesses. One size fits all!
One criticism that I would have about Gladding’s 550 Paracord is their inconsistency in a few manufacturing areas. From batch to batch, some of their dyes have changed on occassion without notice, which can be a bit of an annoyance to those who depend upon them to deliver the same product that they purchased a month earlier. Additionally, the outer sheath of some of the more intense colors (red, neon orange, etc.) tends to be flattened and stiff. This can be a positive or negative characteristic, depending on the application used by individuals. Their other colors have a rounded sheath, which lends to its flexibility and uniformity in real-world uses and creating unique crafts.
Overall however, Gladding Braided Products is a fantastic company to work with, with fantastic products to show for it.