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?
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?
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
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...?
|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
On Thu, 05 Feb 2004 20:43:50 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@REMOVEtxol.net (Rex B)
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.
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.
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
Afterall this is the same part of the world that produces some decent
cars (Japan and perhaps Korea).
On Sat, 07 Feb 2004 05:28:27 GMT, email@example.com
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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
|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
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