Dunlop Manufacturing is almost the perfect embodiment of the American entrepreneurial dream. Founded in 1965 as a part-time home business by Jim Dunlop, Sr., a Scottish immigrant and chemical engineer, Dunlop's first product was a small tuner that used sympathetic vibration of reeds to determine tuning. While going from store to store in hopes of selling his product, Dunlop was told that what was really needed was a good capo that could securely clamp on any guitar neck—even a 12-string. From this encounter, Dunlop developed the toggle capo, which was successful enough for the company to move out of his living room and into a separate location.
Dunlop's experience as a chemical engineer also came in handy when the company moved into the business of making picks. By paying close attention to comments from musicians in magazines like Guitar Player, Dunlop developed a profile of what players liked and disliked about current picks. Choosing nylon, and later Delrin, as pick materials instead of the commonly used celluloid, Dunlop was able to develop a line of picks with what many players felt was better feel and consistency, as well as a longer life.
Over the decades since, Dunlop has carefully developed new products and acquired other brands to build a company that provides a full range of guitar accessories, from the original capos (still in production, as the 1100 series), picks and slides to the Cry Baby wah-wahs, the line of MXR pedals and the 2008 addition of Way Huge Electronics, along with its founder Jeorge Tripps, to develop new pedals and oversee the renewal of Way Huge's popular line of boutique effects pedals.