The History of the Craftsman Tool Company

Craftsman is a line of tools that includes hand tools, power tools, tool boxes, lawn and garden equipment and many other items that you would find in a garage or work building. These tools have been sold by Sears since 1927.

A man by the name of Arthur Barrows was hired by Sears in 1927 to be the head of their hardware department. Arthur came up with the idea of creating a brand name for Sears that would set it apart from other manufactures. The name “Craftsman” was being used by Marion-Craftsman Tool Company. Arthur liked this name and offered to pay Marion-Craftsman Tool Company for rights to use the name. In order for a tool to be marked with the Craftsman brand, the tool would have to pass a very rigorous set of standards. The Craftsman brand was first used on a line of saws.

The Craftsman tools were first designed to accommodate farmers and were made out of cast iron and not hardened. They were ugly and would lose their shape fairly easy, but the design was perfect to fit a farmer’s budget. Arthur Barrows moved to be the West Coast Manger for Sears and hired Tim Dunlap to fulfill his position. At that time, America was starting to move into the automobile age and Dunlap saw the need to create tools designed to accommodate auto mechanics. He upgraded the quality of the Craftsman tools and added chrome plating to help improve the appearance of the tools as well as make it easier for mechanics to clean them.

The first Craftsman power tools were featured in the 1929 Sears catalog. These power tools were recognized in 1938 for helping to build the largest adobe building which was the Rocky Mountain offices of the U.S. Forestry Service. After this, the Chief Forestry Engineer declared Craftsman tools as a permanent part of the Service’s shop equipment.

Craftsman lawnmowers were first introduced in 1934. The Sears fall catalog introduced the Craftsman lawn and garden equipment that includes the new rotary power mower in 1948. In 1953, Sears introduced the first Craftsman riding lawn mower.

A trademark associated with Sears Craftsman hand tools is that they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The warranty states “If this Craftsman hand tool ever fails to give complete satisfaction, return it to any Sears store or other Craftsman outlet in the United States for free repair or replacement. This warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may have other rights, which vary, from state to state”. This warranty program does not require a receipt or a dated proof of purchase. In other words, Craftsman tools are guaranteed forever.

Because of the incredibly high reliability of these tools, Craftsman is the official tool used by NASCAR. Also, consumers have ranked the Craftsman brand as second in quality with the first being the Waterford brand of crystal. Since its beginnings in 1927, Craftsman has sold more hammers and other striking tools than any other brand.

Now, Craftsman tools are also sold by K-Mart and Orchard Supply Company who are also owned by Sears Holdings Corporation. Fastenal and US military Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores also sale Craftsman tools.