Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vanishing Tool Makers: Enderes Tools (Updated)

Above, two "Original Enderes" tools in my shop.  Interesting that the company needed to add the word "original."  It suggests that at some point they had to contend with someone else producing copies and using their name.

Ernst Enderes founded the Enderes Manufacturing Company in Littleport, Iowa in 1896.  The company produced only three tools:  a 14-inch cutting nipper, a staple puller, and a drop-forged cold chisel.  In 1910, they merged with the Albert Lea Machinery Company of Minnesota.  Sales necessitated a larger facility, so the Enderes plant relocated to larger premises in Albert Lea.  The original octagon plant burned down in 1966, and a new factory was built.  The company's product line is restricted to struck hand toolschisels, punches, hitch pins, pry bars, wrecking bars, screwdrivers, drill bits, masonry tools and farrier tools. They claim to rely on "blacksmith" techniques to achieve quality unobtainable using mass production methods.  The company has remained family owned, and they boast that, "You can count on one hand, the tool companies in America that have had that long a life span that are still owned and operated by the same family."  Unfortunately, the company had shrunk from 50 employees to just six by April 2012.  Although their website is still active, a newspaper reports that the plant has closed.  One former employee blamed the closure on inability to compete with foreign imports, and lack of reinvestment in the company.  So, sadly, it looks like another good name in American tools is falling by the wayside.

August 3, 2014 Update:  I recently picked up the Enderes nail clincher (a farrier's tool) below:

I looked the company up again online and was pleasantly surprised by what I found.  The company was recently purchased by a new owner, and operates under the name Northbridge Tool LLC.  The new owner has a commitment to remaining in the Albert Lea, Minnesota area and has hired back most of the former Enderes employees.  They have a very impressive downloadable catalogue.  We wish them much success.

1 comment:

lbgradwell said...

Back in business!