Monday, August 13, 2012

Unusual Tools: Scott & Fetzer crimping tool

According to "Scott Fetzer was founded in a barn in 1914 as The Scott & Fetzer Machine Company, a joint effort of George H. Scott and Carl S. Fetzer, who would go on to produce automotive parts. Together, the men built a machinist shop producing tools and dies that became known for their precision. During World War I, the Cleveland-based Scott & Fetzer manufactured flare pistols. Overseeing that production was a young entrepreneur named Jim Kirby, who showed Scott and Fetzer his designs for a vacuum system. They agreed to manufacture the Kirby Vacuette, a non-electric sweeper. Moreover, their company, then known simply as Scott & Fetzer, became involved in the marketing of the product, pioneering the concept of the door-to-door sales force that provided in-home demonstrations. In 1925, Scott & Fetzer produced for Kirby the Vacuette Electric, which had a removable handle and nozzle attachment. Ten years later, Scott & Fetzer were still working with Kirby and introduced the Kirby Model C vacuum."

The best-known of Scott Fetzer Company's businesses in the mid-1990s included World Book encyclopedias and Kirby vacuum cleaners. 

Vacuum cleaners were the company's mainstay until it went on an acquisition spree in the 1960s and emerged with 31 businesses. A new CEO later trimmed Scott Fetzer back to concentrate on its core products. Conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway acquired the company in 1986, and its earnings have been steady since then.

The Douglas Division began as the Douglas Company in 1902, initially making automotive parts and then, in the 1940's, vacuum cleaners.  It was acquired by Scott Fetzer in 1968.  It is now combined with Quikcut (acquired by Scott & Fetzer in 1964).  Quikut began manufacturing kitchen cutlery in Clyde, OH in 1920 and to this day, those knives are still known as the "Sharpest Knives on the Market." In 1975, they developed the infamous "Ginsu knives"  whose hard-sell marketing techniques pioneered the modern informercial.

All this history in a simple crimping tool!

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