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The books were first published in 1898 by Harvey Mark Thomas as Hardware and Kindred Trades. In their heyday, Thomas Register of American Manufacturers was a 36-volume, 3 section buying guide offering sourcing information on industrial products and services, along with comprehensive specifications and detailed product information from thousands of manufacturers.

The Thomas Regional Directory Company began as a division of Thomas Publishing in 1976. Thomas Regional Regional Industrial Buying Guides provided information in print and on CD-ROM, on local OEMs, distributors, MRO services and other custom manufacturing services in 19 regional editions covering much of the United States. Thomas Register and Thomas Regional were available online from the mid 1990s. The company stopped publishing its print products in 2006.

Thomasized was created in 2002 by former Thomas Register now know as Thomasnet reps encountered many manufacturers who did not believe that Google was taking over the users of the print publication of Thomas Register. These manufacturers did not believe search engines would survive and would not consider online presence of their company. Even though Thomasnet had published that “All of our users are online” in 2003, these manufacturers continued to buy print advertising.

It was not until May of 2005 that Thomas Register announced that it would only be online after the 2006 print publication:

“Following the 2006 edition of the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers, Thomas Industrial Network will cease publication of this print directory, familiarly known to industry as the "Big Green Books." The Thomas Register Regional Buying Guides will be discontinued as well. The full information from these publications, and much more, will continue to be available free-of-charge at”

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