Bristol has a storied history of manufacturing dating back more than 300 years which included everything from distilleries, iron hardware, rifles, rubber shoes and boots, textiles and many others industries related to the marine trades. One of the most prominent firms was the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (HMC). Well known for superb sailing and power vessels, to include eight America's Cup Defenders, the HMC manufactured a wide range of engines, boilers, gauges and other manufactured products. By the beginning of the 20th Century the HMC was one of the most advanced manufacturing firms in America. This tradition continues today with Bristol's small, but innovative and technically impressive manufacturing sector. True to its heritage Bristol has a very capable core of marine trades businesses and related composites manufacturers. Additionally, there are a number of local firms that are exceptionally strong in machining and engineered plastics. This small manufacturing sector employs a skilled workforce, ships product to all corners of the world and contributes greatly to the local economy.