A Place for Packaging Innovators

The long term success of a company has much to do with hard work, staying ahead of the industry curve, treating people well and truly caring about what you and your organization do. Pride of ownership can pervade, positively, as can innovation and rewarding the people and processes that take you forward. Attention to these details, along with an unabating thirst to be the best across multiple generations, has been the recipe for Portco Packaging and why we will be celebrating our 85th year of healthy existence in 2019. We are extremely grateful.


Howard Milton Wall began his entrepreneurial pursuit during the Great Depression by selling low-cost ping pong tables he built by hand out of reclaimed plywood. The first version of the soldier logo, The Major, was born at this time and followed Howard over to Portco when he later launched the company.

From very humble beginnings that harken the American dream, from a time when times were tough indeed (The Great Depression), the entrepreneurial start of Portco, and its celebrated soldier icon, began of all things as a ping pong table making business. Yes, Howard Milton Wall started things off, taking a risk, when the country was down. 1934 to be exact, just five years after Black Tuesday. Well, I could tell it all here, but let’s take a moment to read what has been written about this great story, and how it all fed into what Portco Packaging represents today. Following this, we’ll take a look at the Portco soldier and how this classic icon has morphed over the decades into the soldier of today.

The Long Dangerous Life of the Portco Soldier:

The Portco Soldier’s birth pre-dates my father, Howard Milton Wall’s ownership of Portco. When Howard was in his early twenties, the depression was in full swing. When he had to drop out of college, jobs were scarce. So, he had the idea of using reject plywood, in those days just few knots meant rejection, to make ping pong tables, as table tennis was cheap, and therefore popular. He named his start up, Major Manufacturing. His logo was a wooden toy soldier a “major”, really a woodcut that could be stamped on his ping pong tables, stamped on his home made business cards and his home made stationary. He finally got a job as a salesman for Perfection Twine Company. In 1934 he and my uncle purchased the company and renamed it Portco. He brought his “major” with him and began using it for Portco’s logo, for no other reason than that he liked the little fellow.

As you know, the “soldier” has changed greatly over the years and along the way lost his rank. Starting as a Major then becoming a “Sentry” and then a lowly “Guard.” Products were named after him, Lumber Guard and Beam Guard and he felt proud. But there was a conspiracy in the 1980s to kill him, he was thought to be too old fashioned. But he is a tough old boy and still guards the Portco Community and all our products as a symbol of safety, longevity and quality. – Macy Wall, Chairman of the Board


Here Portco Packaging is shown in its SW Washington locations over the last 85 years. A second location opened in Toppenish, Wa. in 2013. You can see the soldier logo in the form it was for each year. Click Picture to Enlarge. Image Courtesy: Portco Packaging

And now for a version of Portco’s overall story from some of the family at Portco today:

Here the history of Portco is told by members of the Portco family. Click Picture to Enlarge. Image Courtesy: Portco Packaging


Flexible Packaging Full Circle

Needless to say, we here at Portco are extremely thankful for all of our wonderful employees and our quality, loyal customers. The relationships we’ve built both inside the organization and up and down our supply chain have been the difference maker on so many occasions. The family run atmosphere at Portco has allowed us to flourish by allowing new ideas, innovation and energy to feed our business and help us to maintain our strict adherence to safety and quality. We’ve made it this far because we truly care. In the end, Portco is and has always been a great place to work. A place where pride is felt throughout. So, as the holidays come and go and we ring in the New Year, our birthday will approach and we will have much to celebrate. Let’s keep doing great things together!

AUTHOR: Dan Meyers