Sunday, December 08, 2013

who actually made the tools labeled Sears Craftsman? About a 100 companies

General Tools and Instruments was founded in New York City in 1922 as the General Hardware Manufacturing Company. Abe and Lilian Rosenberg were the founders, and Abe came up with his own tool ideas which he had made by various machine shops. In 1937, they began to offer tools under their own company name and they were among the first to manufacture die-cast tools. Their success ultimately led them to make tools for Sears, where in 1946 they became charter members of the Sears 100 Club of Craftsman tool suppliers.

For more about tool company brands that were bought and sold, had one name but were made by another:

Easco began in 1900 as the Moore Drop Forging Company in Springfield, Illinois. Beginning in 1938, they were awarded a contract to make tools for Sears. In the 1940's, they produced the Craftsman "V" series tools.

 In 1967, they were acquired by the Eastern Stainless Steel Corporation, a manufacturer of stainless and specialty steels. They were restructured as the Easco Corporation in 1969, offering a line of tools under their own name.

 In 1985, Easco was acquired by Steven and Mitchell Rales, "raiders in short pants," who took the company public in 1987. In 1990, they folded it into their Danaher Corporation, named for a fishing stream off the Flathead River in Montana. It became Danaher's largest tool division, and was selected by Sears as the sole manufacdturer of Craftsman tools.

 Danaher, of course, went on to gobble up Delta and Armstrong Brothers, and then combined with Cooper Tools to form the the immense Apex Tool Group. In February 2013, Apex was sold to Bain Capital, a private equity firm once run by presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Under the new ownership, the former Easco plant in Gastonia, North Carolina will be closed, with the loss of over 200 jobs.

As for Sears, I believe that all of their Craftsman hand and power tools are now made off-shore. According to Bernie Marcus & Arthur Blank with Bob Andelman, Built from Scratch ("How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion") (Times Business/Random House, 1999), for 40 years Craftsman power tools were made by the Emerson Tool Company, but Sears dropped them abruptly in favor of overseas production in 1997.

 This would have meant the closure of Emerson's plant in Tennessee, except that Home Depot stepped in and signed a contract to continue production for their own store. In return, Emerson offered them the use of the Ridgid brand name. For the full story, .

All info from

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