Maine is home of the “toothpick capital of the world.”

Strong, Maine, a town of about 1,250 residents, was one of the world’s largest producers of toothpicks until 2003. The company responsible for this massive industry is Forster Inc., founded in 1887 by Charles Forster of Boston. Before Charles Forster came along, toothpicks were permanent and typically made of substances such as ivory, gold, or silver. Forster was the first to come up with the idea of disposable toothpicks made of wood, and he established his factory in Strong because of the multitude of birch trees in the area. 

In 1995, Forster Inc. was purchased by Diamond Brands, the other large American toothpick manufacturer. Diamond went bankrupt and was bought by another corporation in 2003. A month after the acquisition the company, Jarden Corp., announced that the Forster plant in Strong was to be closed. This ended the historic run of a factory which produced 15.6 million toothpicks in its heyday. 



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