Thorsen Tools - what happened?

Whatever happened to Thorsen Tools? Didn't they used to make pretty good sockets and such back in the day. These were made in USA and
probably comparable to Craftsman.
Seems like more recently I saw some cheapo imports w/ the name on them again. But I don't even see those much.
Did this tool company 'fade away' to to speak? Were they pretty good in their day?
thanks,
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Just for the exercise, I traced them being bought or traded into names like Woods, Olympia Group, and Katy Industries.
Then, they just seem to disappear.
I suspect they are a casualty of MBA management.
Anybody know for sure?
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I remember the name and always considered them to be a second line quility tool, OK for DIY.
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Would that be true back in the era when Thorsen was making tools here in the US from 1920s to early 1970s?
thanks,
On 4 Feb 2004 17:52:56 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@xoxy.net (MaxAluminum) wrote:

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I did some digging too - they currently reside w/ Olympia Group but nary a mention on their web. I guess they own the brand name rights but do not appear to be doing anything w/ it. Maybe what's left is being sold under the Olympia Tools brand name but not sure.
Do a websearch and some kits pop up here and there under either Thorsen or Olympia from various odd online web retailers. Looking at some of the larger photos - the sockets look to be pretty well made. If you dig thru Olympias site (dont' have the URL offhand) they offer sockets individually and 6 and 12 pt sizes all the way up to 3/4 drive.
Call it a pure hunch but I get an impression they are not that bad for quality - not say Craftsman quality but looked to be much better than typical fare from that part of the world. I think they may also be backed up by a warranty but I think you have to mail the item in. Availability looks to be very very spotty however.
Too bad - I think there is a niche for a tool line in the middle. It always seems like most tools are at the upper end from Sears ... up to Snap On and at teh lower end w/ really really poorly made crappy junk from offshore. This may be the an example of a mid-level tool brand. It likely won't meet the standards of most folks in this group but for non auto tech types for the occasional around the house job...?

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| |Call it a pure hunch but I get an impression they are not that bad for |quality - not say Craftsman quality but looked to be much better than |typical fare from that part of the world.
The original Thorsen hand tools were equivalent to Craftsman, at a time when Craftsman was a better tool than now. An excellent tool. I have some Thorsen sockets from the 1970s that are equivalent to Proto, which was their competition at the time. Thorsen came out with a sub-line called Thorsen Allied Tools (TAT) which was a cheapo price line. The stores carrying the first line thought Thorsen was too high so they switchted to TAT, over time. Once they realized they needed good tools for the custoemrs that actually keep their business alive, Thorsen was all but unavailable. They never recovered. Note this was true for Proto too, with their Challenger line and then an even cheaper variant that killed off the brand. Craftsman is going this same route, it appears to me. Rex in Fort Worth
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On Thu, 05 Feb 2004 20:43:50 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@REMOVEtxol.net (Rex B) wrote:
Interesting insights - thanks! I noticed Wright tools has a 2nd line called Cougar - same song 2nd verse?

What's up w/ Craftsman? I have older Craftsman - haven't needed anything significant in 5 or more years now. But I walk the aisles once in a while and look closely - look same or highly similar even if they changed suppliers to my unprofessional eyes. Prices are reasonable and discounts/sales can be had.
thanks,
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Watch out at sears these days, some of the craftsman stuff is made in china these days. (not the 'sears' or 'champion' lines but the actual craftsman line.) I was looking at set of small pliers in the craftsman professional line and they were stamped made-in-china.
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OK thanks for the heads up. I think somewhere in Sears own lit they say something about 'most' tools made in USA now...?
In general the cheapo stuff from asia in parts stores, discount stores etc is REAL bad quality. But is it thoeretically possible that 'decent' tools could also be made in thart part of the world? Maybe not the kind of stuff that professional techs would swear by but decent as in well up to the task of even heavy duty regular weekend warrior projects...
Afterall this is the same part of the world that produces some decent cars (Japan and perhaps Korea).
thanks again,
On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 05:28:27 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Brent P) wrote:

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In theory decent tools can be made anywhere. The odds of any manufacturer making decent tools in china today is low. Basically a company like sears would have to it's engineers watching the chinese supplier constantly. I would suggest nothing short of fully testing samples every week. Two weeks is often too long to detect when the process goes to hell. Good parts get turned out so long as somebody is over there watching. Nobody watching and their management will make the process more profitable, line people have various motivations as well. Product quality is bottom rung. I am sure the group as a whole has heard enough of Daniel's and my stories of product development using manufacturing in China.

As a design engineer I've had to source parts from all over the world. Asia cannot be treated as a block. Japan is very different from korea which in turn is very different from hong kong and taiwan which are all different from mainland china.
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Brent P supposed that Craftsman would have its engineers monitoring the quality. He assumed a couple things that my experience has shown me aren't true. 1. That Craftsman has engineers (or even staff people who actively use Craftsman tools). 2. That Craftsman regularly monitors quality. Why do I think this? In November I was in the local OSH (Orchard Supply, a Sears Company) looking at end wrench sets for presents. The open ends on the Craftsman wrenches had very sharp flash inside at the bottom of the U, enough to cut you. I've never seen such a thing, even on cheap imports. I also noticed that the corners on the handles were quite square - altho they didn't have flash. So I didn't buy them. Instead, I brought the QC problem to the attention of Sears HQ in Illinois. When I called Illinois, I never found an engineer there. In the Craftsman department, there was just marketing people who never answer their phones. My experience voicing my concern with the executive complaint takers in Sear's presidents office was an eye-opener. I figured I would have an easier time explaining the significance of sharp flash on a wrench to a tool user. So I asked if anyone there used Craftsman tools. No one did, so I ended up talking to someone who just had to write down what I told her, word for word. And the junk product is still in the stores, 2-1/2 months later. I think the aforementioned lapse in quality will cost more than a billion dollars in value of the Craftsman name.
Henrey
Brent P wrote:

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I supposed no such thing. I stated what would *HAVE* to be done to get quality out of china.

Sears does have such people, or at least did. How do I know? After I was downsized I sent in a resume for such a job. Wasn't likely to be something I would accept but I figured it wouldn't hurt to find out what they did there. My guess it's mostly boring ODM work, but I was willing to find out more.

Again, didn't say they did. I said to get that theoritical quality of china they would have too.
<crappy made in china sears product description>

Try motorola, GE, or any other big company. The odds of reaching an engineer in the trenches are approximately ZERO. The companies don't want customers talking to engineers, because if you get the wrong (in the company's view) one he will tell you the truth about the product good or bad.
<snip>

Do you think the MBA's and finance types running the show care? They are there to get their money for as long as it lasts. They don't care about the long term, they don't care about the product either. They care about their next bonus. Their next bonus is bigger if they source in china.
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|Brent P supposed that Craftsman would have its engineers monitoring the |quality. He assumed a couple things that my experience has shown me |aren't true. 1. That Craftsman has engineers (or even staff people who |actively use Craftsman tools). 2. That Craftsman regularly monitors |quality. |Why do I think this? In November I was in the local OSH (Orchard |Supply, a Sears Company) looking at end wrench sets for presents. The |open ends on the Craftsman wrenches had very sharp flash inside at the |bottom of the U, enough to cut you. I've never seen such a thing, even |on cheap imports. I also noticed that the corners on the handles were |quite square - altho they didn't have flash. So I didn't buy them. |Instead, I brought the QC problem to the attention of Sears HQ in |Illinois. When I called Illinois, I never found an engineer there. In |the Craftsman department, there was just marketing people who never |answer their phones. My experience voicing my concern with the |executive complaint takers in Sear's presidents office was an |eye-opener. I figured I would have an easier time explaining the |significance of sharp flash on a wrench to a tool user. So I asked if |anyone there used Craftsman tools. No one did, so I ended up talking to |someone who just had to write down what I told her, word for word. And |the junk product is still in the stores, 2-1/2 months later. I think |the aforementioned lapse in quality will cost more than a billion |dollars in value of the Craftsman name.
Sears owns (at least until recently) the NTB chain. I had a problem with a broken wheel cap after having some tires installed, manager would not take responsibility. I never was able to find ANY way to contact higher management - no website, no addresses posted anywhere in the stores. I also looked for Sears sites, thinking I'd find some corporate contact there, to no avail. I even asked another manager, and he deflected that inquiry by resolving the issue himself, to my satisfaction. But I did determine that Sears & NTB were not interested in customer input. So I spend little of my money at Sears, and absolutely zero at NTB. Rex in Fort Worth
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NTB was a great company many years ago before Sears bought them. Immediate decline in quality of employees. Discount Tire is the place for tires now.
wrote:

management -

Sears
even
issue
input.
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replying to Henry, Phill wrote: always amazes me that they walked away from a brand akin to Ford or Chevrolet. MBA logic I guess. Hanging on to my OLD Craftsman as long as I can.
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On Sunday, January 6, 2019 at 6:18:02 PM UTC-5, Phill wrote:

Nothing like answering a post that is 15 years old. :)
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replying to pgtr, Charlie Daubitz wrote: In the late 70's they switched to China, When they added the Allied name, they lost all of their gouv. contracts. They had a Mfg. plant in Dallas, on Willowbrook, it closed. Montgomery Wards, JC pennys, Western auto were big distributors
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