Manufacturer Profile – Craftsman

July 19th, 2010 by Jim German Leave a reply »

Craftsman was originally introduced in 1927 as the tool brand of the Sears and Roebuck.  Since then the line has continually grown, and now makes tools, lawn and garden products.  They produce both hand tools and power tools.  Originally sold exclusively at Sears stores and catalogs, they are now available at a number of different outlets including Kmart, Fastenal and Ace Hardware.

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History

In 1927, the head of the Sears and Roebuck hardware department bought the rights to the name Craftsman from the Marion-Craftsman Tool Company.   in 1929 the first Craftsman power tools, electric drills, showed up in the company’s catalog.  Craftsman started making tools primarily to sell to its biggest market, that of rural farmers.   The tools therefore were generally big, heavy and ugly.

That changed a few years later when the Craftsman tool manager Tom Dunlap decided that all Craftsman hand tools should be chrome plated.  The change was due to the change in the primary customers for Sears.  America had entered the automotive age, and with that came the auto mechanic.  Good tools are a mechanics best friend, and good mechanics take pride in their tools.   The Craftsman line was overhauled and began including high quality, well made tools to appeal to both professional and DIY mechanics.

Sears lawn and garden tools also were branded as Craftsman, and in 1961 the y introduced the modern push lawnmower, which looks pretty much the same as it does today.  Craftsman continued to innovate, and in 1966 they released a quick-release ratchet wrench which has become one of the most popular tools in the industry.

With the recent shake up of the Sears corporation,  Craftsman is now available at Kmart stores, as well as Fastenal and Ace Hardware.  It is speculated that Craftsman will eventually be spun-off completely from what is now the Sears Holding Company.

Sub-Brands

Craftsman has always had multiple lines of tools.  Originally the Companion brand was the low end tools, however in 1941 the line was replaced with the Dunlap brand.  This line slowly faded away and was replaced in 1998 once again with the Companion brand.  This was however short lived as the Evolv brand is now the low end tool at Sears.  In addition the higher end tools are now branded Craftsman Professional.

Production

Craftsman tools are generally made by third parties for Craftsman.  The manufacturer of the tool can frequently be determined by the first three digits of the model number.  The hand tools are also made by a variety of manufacturers including SK Tools, Stanley, and Western Forge.  The majority of these are made in the US, however not all are.

Source: Old Wood Working Machines, Craftsman, Rose Antique Tools

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1 comment

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