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A Tool Industry Timeline

This page will look at some of the events that have shaped the tool industry over the last 100+ years, with a focus on company foundings, patents, and trademarks.

Table of Contents


The tool industry has been shaped by numerous events, notably the founding of companies, the development of patents and innovations, and the establishment of trademarked brands. In an effort to better understand these factors, the following table summarizes the more important tool industry events.

The events in the table have been grouped into three categories: company events, patents, and trademarks. These are indicated in the "Type" column by the letters "C", "P", and "T" respectively.

In addition to the categories, each event has an associated priority or importance level, which can be selected using the radio buttons.

Timeline Table

Event Priority: (Higher) 0 1 2 (Lower)
Decade Date Event C T P Description
1850 01/01/1856 Mayhew Tools Founded X Mayhew Tools founded in Shelburne Falls, MA
1860 01/01/1869 Lowell Wrench Founded X Lowell Wrench Co. founded in Worcester, MA
1870 01/01/1873 Billings & Spencer Founded X Billings & Spencer Co. founded in Hartford, CT
01/01/1877 Bonney Founded X Bonney Vise & Tool Works founded
01/01/1879 Champion Bolt Clipper Founded X Champion Bolt Clipper Co. founded by George DeArment
1880 01/01/1881 Herbrand Founded X Herbrand Co. founded in Fremont, OH
01/01/1884 Williams Founded X J.H. Williams & Co. founded in Brooklyn, NY
01/01/1887 New Britain Founded X New Britain Machine Co. founded in New Britain, CT [date from 1941 catalog]
1890 01/01/1893 Armstrong Founded X Armstrong Bros. founded in Chicago, IL
01/01/1895 Vlchek Founded X Vlchek Tool Co. founded in Cleveland, OH
01/01/1895 Utica Founded X Utica Drop Forge & Tool founded
01/01/1896 Barcalo Founded X Barcalo Mfg. Co. founded in Buffalo, NY [date from catalog]
01/01/1899 Mossberg Founded X Frank Mossberg Co. founded in Attleboro, MA
1900 01/01/1905 Moore Founded X Moore Drop Forging Co. formed in Springfield, MA
01/01/1906 Walden Founded X Walden Mfg. Co. founded in Worcester, MA
01/01/1907 Plomb Founded X Plomb Tool Co. founded in Los Angeles, CA
07/23/1907 Crescent Tool Incorporated X Crescent Tool Co. incorporated in Jamestown, NY
1910 01/01/1910 American Grinder Founded X American Grinder Mfg. Co. founded in Milwaukee, WI
01/01/1916 Duro Metal Founded X Duro Metal Products founded in Chicago, IL
01/01/1918 Sherman-Klove Founded X Sherman-Klove founded in Chicago, IL
01/01/1919 Blackhawk Founded X Blackhawk Mfg. Co. founded in Milwaukee, WI [division of American Grinder]
01/01/1919 Cornwell Founded X Cornwell Tools founded in Ohio
1920 05/20/1920 Snap-On Founded X Snap-On Wrench Co. founded in Milwaukee, WI
06/13/1922 "Indestro" Registered X Indestro Mfg. registers "Indestro" trademark, first use in commerce
09/15/1923 "Blue Point" Registered X "Blue Point" registered by Snap-On
01/01/1924 "Husky" Registered X "Husky" trademark registered for Husky Wrench Company
09/01/1925 OTC Founded X Owatonna Tool Co. founded in Owatonna, MN
01/16/1926 P & C Founded X P & C Hand Forged Tool Co. founded near Portland, OR
01/01/1927 Wright Tool Founded X Wright Tool founded in Barberton, OH
05/20/1927 "Craftsman" Registered X First "Craftsman" trademark registered by Sears, Roebuck
1930 04/19/1932 Hummel 1,854,413 X Hummel patent for reversible ratchet, used by Snap-On
03/06/1934 Manning 1,950,362 X Manning patent for Champion De Arment [Channellock pliers]
05/08/1934 Kress 1,957,462 X Kress patent for reversible ratchet, used for Williams S-51
11/20/1934 Rueb 1,981,526 X Rueb patent for S-K, first fine-tooth ratchet design
01/14/1936 McNaught 2,027,982 X Patent for Duro Metal hot-broach method of making sockets
07/07/1936 Phillips 2,046,840 X Phillips patent for cross-point screws and screwdriver
01/01/1938 Moore Craftsman Contract X Moore Drop Forging Co. gets Sears Craftsman contract
07/11/1938 Mechanics Tool Founded X Mechanics Tool and Forge Co. (later Mac Tools) founded in Ohio
1940 01/01/1941 P & C Acquired X P & C Hand Forged Tool Co. acquired by Plomb Tool Co.
01/01/1942 Penens Acquired X Penens Corp. acquired by Plomb Tool Co.
01/01/1946 Mac Allied Tools Founded X Mac Allied Tools founded as an associate of Mac Tools
01/23/1948 Proto Registered X Plomb Tool Co. registers "Proto" and begins using on tools
1950 03/25/1950 Last Date for "Plomb" mark X Final date for use of "Plomb" name on tools
01/01/1956 Utica Acquired X Utica Tool acquired by Kelsey-Hayes [info from Utica catalog]
12/04/1956 Johnson 2,772,763 X Johnson patent for dual-pawl fine-tooth ratchet, used for Williams S-52
1960 01/01/1961 Herbrand Acquired X Herbrand acquired by Utica Tool [info from Utica catalog]
04/25/1961 Kilness 2,981,389 X Kilness patent for high-strength fine-tooth ratchet, used by New Britain
01/01/1962 S-K Tools Acquired X S-K Tools acquired by Symington-Wayne Corp.
01/01/1962 Lectrolite Acquired X Lectrolite Corp. acquired by Symington-Wayne Corp.
01/01/1964 Bonney Acquired X Bonney Tool acquired by Utica [info from Utica catalog]
01/24/1964 SK Wayne Registered X Symington-Wayne registers "SK Wayne" trademark
02/01/1964 Proto Acquired X Proto Tools acquired by Ingersoll-Rand
01/01/1967 Triangle Tool Formed X Triangle Tool Group formed, acquires Utica from Kelsey-Hayes
1970 01/01/1979 Matco Formed X Matco formed when Mac and Mac Allied Tools split
1980 01/01/1984 Proto Acquired X Proto Tools Division of Ingersoll-Rand acquired by The Stanley Works
1990 01/01/1990 Easco Acquired X Easco acquired by Danaher Group
01/01/1993 Williams Acquired X J.H. Williams acquired by Snap-On
12/01/1994 Armstrong Acquired X Armstrong Bros. acquired by Danaher Group

References and Resources

The events in the timeline table were obtained from a number of sources, including patent and trademark records maintained by the USPTO, newspaper reports or other public sources, company catalogs, and company or third-party web sites. Some of the dates may be inaccurate, as sources sometimes disagree and older dates are often available only by year.


If any readers have additional information on notable events for the tool industry, please let us know via the "Contact Us" link on the home page. Your comments and suggestions are welcome as well.

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