Top 16 "coolest products" made in Illinois announced

Published: Mar. 10, 2020 at 3:52 PM CDT
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What does Illinois make that's really cool? That's what a state manufacturing group asked and with nearly 100,000 votes cast, the field of contenders has been narrowed to 16.

It's part of the new, "Makers Madness" contest hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers' Association.

The bracket-style tournament showcases the many products made by companies across Illinois along with the range of career opportunities.

Over the course of three weeks, voters whittled the field down from about 260 nominated products. Among the top contenders, the Ford Mustang headlight produced by North American Lighting in Paris; MasterPrint from Ingersoll Machine Tools in Rockford; and The Clipper made by Wahl Clipper in Sterling.

The finalists demonstrates the diversity of the industry, which contributes more than $304 billion to the state's economy each year. The contest was also created to increase interest in careers in manufacturing as some 300,000 baby boomer workers get ready to retire.

An awards ceremony will be held at the Governor's Mansion on April 1.d. Voting is now open at and will run through March 15.

Here are the finalists:

Bracket A:

(1) MasterPrint (Ingersoll Machine Tools, Rockford) v. STEAM Primer (Lux Blox, Galesburg)

(2) Orion Spacecraft Command Module Control Switches (Otto Engineering Inc., Carpentersville) v. The Clipper (Wahl Clipper Corporation, Sterling)

Bracket B:

(1) Sloan Flushometer (Sloan Valve Company, Franklin Park) v. (4) BEER NUTS Bar Mix (BEER NUTS, Bloomington)

(2) Suncast Storage Shed (Suncast Corporation, Batavia) v. (3) Komatsu 980E-5 Electric Drive Truck (Komatsu America Corp., Peoria)

Bracket C:

(1) Functional Hand (Thera-Solutions, LLC., Elmhurst) v. (4) CERV2 Smart Ventilation System (Build Equinox, Urbana)

(2) Fla-Vor-Ice (Jel Sert Company, West Chicago) v. (3) Tripsaver II Cutout-Mounted Recloser (S&C Electric Co., Chicago)

Bracket D:

(1) Ford Mustang Headlight (North American Lighting, Paris) v. (4) Fisher Oven Roasted Never Fried Mixed Nuts (John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., Elgin)

(2) Caterpillar 797F Large Mining Truck (Caterpillar, Decatur) v. (3) Plochman's Craft Beer Blended Mustard (Plochman Inc., Manteno)