Two years ago, we picked up on a story that Apex Tool Group was closing Armstrong and Allen tool brands. Despite this, they kept the website up, giving me the impression (and hope) that the brand name would live on in some manner.
Today, I received a message asking for help with an Armstrong torque wrench service request. I looked at Armstrong’s website, and what I found was a single page directing customers to other Apex Tool Group brands – Gearwrench and Crescent for most tool categories, and Campbell for eye bolts.
I’m sure that Armstrong tool warranties will still be honored, and that Apex Tool Group will continue to service the tools.
Here’s what they say:
Thank you for visiting the Armstrong® Industrial Hand Tools website.
Three other Apex Tool Group brands offer the same quality, strength, and durability you’ve come to expect from Armstrong.
Below, please select the product category you are looking for to view equivalent products from GEARWRENCH®, Crescent®, and Campbell®. Thank you for your trust in Armstrong.
I’m not happy about Armstrong’s closure. There are limited choices when it comes to USA-made hand tools, and Armstrong was a strong brand. Granted, I only own a handful of Armstrong tools, but a fair number of my USA-made Craftsman and Craftsman Professional hand tools are widely believed to have come from the same factory.
Could the brand have been saved? Possibly. Or maybe not. There are too many factors to know for sure.
Gearwrench is a great brand, and Crescent has some good tools as well.
Armstrong will be missed, but I find myself wondering – is it hypocritical for me to be unhappy about this development even though it’s been years since I’ve bought any new Armstrong tools? I understand that I’m not part of their target audience, which I’d guess includes government, aerospace, and industrial customers.
We’ve known about the brand closure for two years, and so the updated website shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nothing has really changed, aside from the sense of finalization. Still, I can’t help but feel disappointed.
From Apex Tool Group’s brand portfolio:
It’s not just STRONG. It’s ARMSTRONG®. That’s the credo we live by for Armstrong® Industrial Tools. The demanding industrial and commercial environments of today call for the highest quality, durable, and strongest tools we can provide. Whether managing a maintenance tool crib, or constructing the towers and transmission lines that keep us all connected, or responsibly mining or harnessing the natural resources of the earth, sea, wind, or sun, we manufacture Armstrong® tools with your specific needs in mind.
The Armstrong® product line now includes more than 4,000 items, including hand sockets and drive tools, wrenches, striking wrenches, torque wrenches, impact sockets, C-clamps, screwdrivers, pliers, punches and chisels, tool storage, and related industrial products.
Goodbye Armstrong Tools.
If they catered to the trades I’m wondering about their past distribution. Was it speciality industrial dealers and maybe national dealers like Grainger/Zoro?
Not counting the likely and now long gone (thanks Eddie) Craftsman branded items.
Where would they be sold where anyone would actually care that they were U. S. made? Isn’t this the heart of the matter for all U. S. made (not designed) tools for those who actually care going forward?
Asking for a country.
They were sold mainly at industrial suppliers and independent stores.
It’s not the type of brand you’d find at Home Depot stores, although some of their designs were believed to be rebranded under Sears Craftsman Pro.
Yes, they were (and apparently still are) sold at Zoro.
What’s interesting is that the Armstrong + Pelican tool kit is now replaced by a Gearwrench + Pelican kit. But will the DoD see that as a replacement, or look towards other USA brands? AND it’s more expensive than the Armstrong kit was a few years ago. https://toolguyd.com/pelican-0450-mobile-tool-chest/ (towards the bottom).
That Pelican Case must be nearly unmanageable weightwise. That resin is darned heavy. Good protection but the weight!
Even Anvils seem light in comparison.
And of course US made Zero Halliburton custom aluminum cases are long gone.
We have an extensive line of Armstrong hand wrenches at my facility. Mostly quite large open end wrenches and larger sized sockets and drivers. We use them in our Emergency Response dept. and throughout the plant as well. The maintenance guys will be sorely disappointed to learn I cannot order replacements any longer. Luckily we have switched to using Proto for the most part and the quality is (in my opinion) a bit better anyway. Also a much larger selection in Proto. We are in a facility that produces / processes ethylene oxide as well as propylene oxide, and we need the durability that comes with these hardcore industrial tool brands. Something like craftsman or crescent just won’t cut it.
I know this thread is two years old but it is very sad Indeed that Made in USA High Quality Tools are going the way of The Dinosaurs … Perhaps even sadder yet is the fact that every year that goes by … even fewer American People actually know how to use these same tools !
Quality and Brand pride is a great thing but when nobody knows how to fix or repair anything mechanical at all … then what does it matter how good your tools are. RIP American Industry !
The only Gearwrench tools I’ve ever owned have been Gearwrenches. The actual ratcheting wrenches. Gearwrench is kind of bad name for unrelated tools. Kind of like having Kleenex toilet paper.
I kind of agree with this.
Apex insisted on making it their flagship brand for almost all their mechanic’s tools, though.
My guess is their long-term strategy was to buy the Craftsman name from Sears for cheap, but that fell through when SBD bid high and got it for a lot more than Apex could pay.
I do think Kleenex toliet paper would sell pretty well, though.
I sold my second to last Armstrong 1/2″ Drive Hex Bit socket set in blow mold case today. I was looking at the items and noticed they still used set screw to hold bit in place rather than a one piece or pressed. You could replace bit without needing a whole new socket. Sad day indeed.
I don’t know how to feel about this… I consider both Gearwrench AND Crescent to be extremely reliable brands… I often find myself saying “Hey Doofus, you bought Stanley Wrenches and Ratchets, on sale no less. Gearwrench and Crescent don’t offer this kind of deal, they’re too good for you.”
So, I have to ask… Are we ACTUALLY losing Armstrong? Or, are their assets and such just being divvied up among Gearwrench and Crescent? Are we losing Cadillac, only to have it made by Bentley or Rolls Royce? Obviously not to THAT extreme, but… If Armstrong was such a great brand, are Gearwrench and Crescent… idaknow… UNWORTHY? I see these brands as extremely good brands, putting out products of much higher quality (and price to go with them) than I typically have bought in the past. Isn’t Armstrong kinda… Still alive under their operation? I know it won’t literally be stamped Armstrong, but doesn’t it bode well for Armstrong users that their assets might be taken over by Gearwrench and Crescent? They seem on-par with quality to me… Maybe the Gearwrench and Crescent factories overseas will take over the Armstrong USA plants in the deal?
What am I missing that is so tragic about this, other than blind sentiment?
Armstrong: top price point brand of USA-made tools.
Gearwrench: mid-price point tools, good quality, great value.
Crescent: low-to-mid price-point tools, reasonable quality.
The Crescent of 2019 also includes other Apex Tool Group brands, such as Wiss, which could change how the brand is marketed and perceived.
Stuart already stated it pretty well already… but, we absolutely lost Armstrong. It was high end industrial tools licensed to be sold in military tool kits. They bought it to shutter it, and get it out of Proto’s way.
So… what they bought was the market share in military tool contracts (GMTK system…). They bought their biggest competitor in that VERY lucrative market.
No, because Proto is a Stanley Black & Decker brand.
ATG didn’t buy anything, they lost. If government procurement officials decide they want to stick with USA-made tool kits, Gearwrench will be out, and thus ATG will likely lose out on the contracts.
It’s kind of below the level I operate in the procurement system but I believe that if there is a US made options that meets requirements, they have to choose it over the foreign made counterparts.
The plants were shut down and the brand discontinued. ATG has spent millions overseas while neglecting their USA manufacturing plants. Bain capital owns ATG and came in streamlined their products intent on making everything they can in china and Taiwan. It’s sad to see companies that have been around for over 100 yrs just decimated.
quality. we have Armstrong tools in my plant that are older than I am and they are used daily. If you try to put crescent up against that kind of everyday demand it would not last half as long. I’m talking about wrenches and sockets larger than 1″.
I would rather pay more for a tool that I know will outlast me than half the price for something that might not last a few years in this environment. When my grandfather passed away, it wasn’t the crescent tools I was given, rather a giant box of Armstrong, Proto, Snap-on etc… These brands aren’t about how cheap you can get one, rather how long can they last? My grandfather’s tools will last long enough to be given to my children and still work flawlessly, can the same be said about all these tool brands today? I seriously doubt it. Today tools are marketed to be flashy and inexpensive. Kind of reminds me of fishing lures…
I think the lesson I need to take away from this is pretty simple: “You’re Canadian. Shut up before you embarrass yourself.”
Sorry guys. I didn’t mean any offense. I don’t put as much stock in “USA Made” as you do, as no one cares about Made in Canada products. We make Veritas and several other brands as well, and no one is fighting for our products. Yet, to import USA-Made tools up here, we pay a major premium to own them. As such, your brands don’t have as much clout up here, and end up being lumped together with luxury items. Often that means we’ve never had your best tools up here, just cast aways, and cheap lines.
To CANADIANS… All of your brands are double in price point, without doubling in worth… so we often see many of your brands as…well… Too expensive to afford regularly, therefore, too rich for our blood. They’re all expensive, therefore, what does it harm other expensive tool companies eating up another expensive tool company?
You taught me a lesson though. I’m Canadian and can’t see what you see. I should really just shut up about these things. I’ll never afford them anyways, so I should butt out.
Sorry for your loss guys. I wasn’t aware Armstrong was THAT level of importance. My Bad.
Maybe a brain anyone who’s spent a good amount of time working and fixing things knows tools made in China aren’t as good as USA, the only people who think different are either cheap skates and probably lazy or the only tools they’ve ever used were from Walmart or harbor freight
I recall old tool display boards at commercial hardware stores. Some sold Armstrong ( I think a blue color scheme board) – some sold J H Williams or Proto (red color scheme). One local dealer featured Wright Tools – while another had Fairmount-Martin. It was a similar story among competing auto parts stores. Tool boards behind their counters might be SK-Wayne or Blackhawk – but a few sold Bonney Forge – and the cheapie places carried Thorsen. Some had Herbrand and others carried Husky (before HD was even a glimmer)
The closure of Armstrong wasn’t just the death of that brand, it was also the end of many US made hardline wrenches, ratchets and sockets sold on a MATCO truck, NAPA professional mechanics tools and others. I have to admit that there were only a few Armstrong tools that i purchased and liked. Their Maxx series of ratchets too include their locking flex head versions, pinless impact swivel sockets, and their locking extensions in chrome and impact versions. I didn’t care for their chrome sockets as they shared that funky double detent retension on the female square drive end with Craftsman sockets of the same era. I don’t see Gearwrench as being able to fill Armstrong’s shoes. they might come close with their Taiwan made stuff but, the PRC made Gearwrench isn’t as good. Time will tell. It is my understanding that the Armstrong factories are no more. Shuttered and some tooling sent overseas and a little of it moving to an Apex plant in South Carolina.
I am sorry to see Armstrong go. I remember them from way back. That muscle bound arm with a hand holding a spanner has stuck in my memory for very many decades.
We can still buy Elora, Hazet and Stahl Wille which are still making good quality tools….if you don’t mind O/S brands….their all German. Or KTC if you don’t mind Japanese.
I never bought any Armstrong branded tools, but I have hundreds if not thousands of Craftsman branded tools that came out of the Armstrong factory.
It seemed to me that Armstrong was marketed more to industrial/commercial users, and the tools they made in the same factories but under other brand names were more of the consumer variety. That was ok by me.
I’m still furious over what happened to Armstrong and, in the larger picture, Danaher and of course Sears.
I’m angry, not just because I can’t buy the tools anymore, but because all those people who worked in those factories and at those companies lost their jobs, just so some already obscenely wealthy people could plunder the company and the brand and make a few more dollars from it, sending production overseas where wages are lower, so profits will be higher.
I’m angry because this wasn’t due to poor management or someone’s mistake or some accident. It was calculated, premeditated, deliberate destruction for no other reason than greed, and it’s likely there will be no consequences for the people involved in it.
It’s infuriating when people just blow this stuff off, shrug and say it’s just how it is or that’s business. I realize most of us don’t really have the power to do anything about it, other than refuse to do business with companies who operate this way, but it’s also infuriating that the people who DO have incredible power to actually do something about it, also do absolutely nothing.
It’s pathetic that this is the state of the tool biz and U.S. manufacturing in 2019, but that’s what happens when the corporations run the show and just divide everything up amongst themselves, and individual people just stand by and watch.
The lone hope is that SBD, another corporation, will do the right thing and bring U.S. manufacturing of tools back with the new line of Craftsman tools, but even then, it sounds like they’re starting from scratch and not bringing back the Armstrong-made tools or anything close.
I’d hope that someone eventually re-opens the Armstrong factories or revives the brand, but it’s likely that the tooling was all sent overseas already, and the factories are likely to be repurposed or even just destroyed and replaced with something else. Oh well.
But we can not lay the blame completely at the feet of corporate executives – many of whom do indeed have huge salaries – many multiples of what they pay their workers. In the USA – most of these folks work for publicly-traded companies where stockholders and Wall Street analysts look for ever-increasing profits. That may be good for the S&P500 and DJI – and even for those of us who have profited from the run up in the stock market – but the worker that is caught in the middle does not fare very well. Compare this to many German companies that are still family-owned or privately-held and we see a difference.
My partners and I were tempted to take our metal and pipe fabrication business public – when we thought to expand and were pressed to raise capital. I thank my lucky stars that we decided against it – and never became beholden to stockholders and/or stock analysts. Maybe we lost out on becoming super-wealthy – but we slept well at night.
Another factor to remember is that people vote with their wallets and purchasing decisions.
WalMart did not become the biggest retailer without customers wanting cheap goods and low prices.
The Internet also “helped” – providing a facility to price shop and obsess about buying at the lowest possible price. Not that any of us are guilty about buying tools (or other goods) that we really don’t need because that are on sale at what we think is a bargain price.
But I do think there is a change happening in this middle generation (younger Gen-Xers – myself included) who see value in paying for quality instead of buying low-priced low-quality. The internet has removed some of the costs of distribution and marketing where manufacturers sell direct or indirect and drop ship. It may be a shift lost on the millennials – but honestly are any millennials buying tools, especially industrial tools?
People can vote with their wallets, but they are limited by what’s on the ballot.
It’s not always the case that the consumer gets to choose between several high quality USA-made brands and lots of other cheaper brands. Sometimes there isn’t even a choice, sometimes the USA-made brand is intentionally priced out of reach, sometimes you can only special order it or have it shipped and wait who knows how long for it.
I went to Walmart/Lowe’s/etc. today for a drain auger/snake. Only ONE brand available all over the place. Made in Taiwan.
Waiting for a USA-made one to ship from somewhere, if I can even find one, really isn’t an option.
Stuff like this is what drives sales.
If there were several USA-made choices and then the cheap China/Taiwan choices on the shelf, things might be different. Plenty of people are cheap and still choose the lowest priced item no matter what.
A few years ago, when I was buying more tools in person and frequently checked out the selection at a large Sears, there was a set of USA-made Craftsman ratcheting wrenches. The same set sat on the shelf, collecting dust over weeks and then months after I first noticed it. I don’t think they ever sold it.
Meanwhile, Gearwrench sets flew off the shelves, especially when steeply discounted. The basic Craftsman wrenches seemed to sell well too.
But those USA-made ratcheting wrenches? Nope.
Eventually, Craftsman stopped selling them, or trying to sell them.
Personally, I favor USA-made tools. As a business, ToolGuyd chooses USA-made options if and when possible and affordable.
Armstrong is a tough brand to talk about since they were never targeted to consumers. Craftsman tools, however, were, and I think that they sold a huge volume of tools under Craftsman branding. Sears shifted focus a few years ago, and I believe it was their moving away from USA-made hand tools that helped or even largely contributed to Armstrong’s fate.
Quite frankly, the situation sucks. Without knowing more details, it’s impossible to know who to blame. Apex Tool Group? Sears? Customers (in Armstrong’s case being industrial or government buyers)?
I’ll admit, I was one of those people who let those USA-made ratcheting wrenches (the full polish flat ones, at least) stay on the hooks while I bought Gearwrench stuff when it was 50% off.
Part of the reason for that was that I knew the ratcheting mechanism was still made by Gearwrench in Taiwan/China and only the wrench body was made in the USA. I also was avoiding buying any more flat ratcheting wrenches, in favor of flex-head wrenches, and waiting for double-box options that never appeared.
I did, however, frequently buy the core Craftsman / Craftsman Professional tools, and would have continued doing so. In a lot of ways, Sears went down because they went cheap rather than high end. That has a lot to do with Eddie and Kmart, although they had problems way before that, which snowballed until they had to get bailed out.
If someone who actually wanted the business to succeed had bought it, they would have continued to offer the USA-made core tools, mark them up where they needed to be for a decent profit at the “sale” prices, and trimmed the fat on the frivolous gimmicky stuff.
In the case of Armstrong/Apex and even Danaher, the blame is on Bain Capital, a vulture capitalist firm that is well known for it’s practice of stripping a company down and selling off everything, then tossing away whatever might be left.
Blaming Bain Capital is easy, but changes to Craftsman/Craftsman Pro started happening well before they were even in the picture. Unless all that was negligible to Armstrong operations, but I don’t think it was, based on the eventuality. Maybe there were other factors, but if so, they’re not at all obvious.
Noticed many of the remaining US made tool companies are family owned not large corporations run by hedge fun management groups like APEX. Family run businesses tend to remember the three Ps of business. Processes, products and most importantly: People. And as far as my wallet goes, Channellock is just as affordable and far more reliable as any Chinese plier. SBD and APEX shut down US production to exploit cheap labor not to help us and our pocket books.
Channellock is still pretty dang big, and they’ve sold out their name on cheap tools and sets.
But the small companies are sometimes the silver lining when bigger brands go away.
It’s pretty much a cycle, though, since, like their predecessors, those small companies get bigger the more customers they get, the more diverse their products become, then before you know it they’re bought up by a major corporation and it’s the same mess all over again, with production sent oversears to maximize profits and everything that was worked for is squandered, just the brand name is what’s left.
Channellock may well be a rare exception to the rule that family businesses seldom survive beyond the third generation. There have been many business case studies on this topic – but it often relates to loss of focus, creeping disinterest in the business or having too many family members wanting to share in the pie.
It is tough to stick to your knitting – when the siren song of a quick profit is being heard. Trying new things – like fostering a new second tier line of foreign-made tools – may have appealed to them – if sales were slipping. The vaunted SnapOn does it with Blue Point – so why not? Your comment about “sold out their name” is why not – and its not easy to get a good name back once its tarnished. I would guess that companies like Channellock are at the mercy of buyers from Home Depot, Lowes and other distribution channels – rather more than from end users. And these merchandisers – may be the ones pushing for the offshore second-line stuff.
Mike (the other one)
Apex has too many brands, with a lot of overlap. Gearwrench and Crescent or more widely know than Armstrong and Allen, and they can make the tools in Taiwan and China, maximizing the profits. Average customers will never know the difference.
I hope someone buys the shuttered Armstrong factory and starts making tools here. SBD would be smart to star making Craftsman tools there. It would be great to see USA-made Craftsman wrenches again.
Replacing the good with crap, should be the Apex tool groups new slogan.
One could just as easily say nobody’s paid enough to support another tool company either. How far do you want to go.
For those of us 40 or younger we don’t know who armstrong is – if that was a name on a shelf at lowes, HD, Autozone,Napa, etc. And for guys coming out of trade schools if it doesn’t say Snap-ON, MAC, or Cromwell it’s garbage. Or for a few if it’s not Wera, PB swiss,Stahlwille it’s garbage. We have one guy that came here from Singapore and he’s got those japanese branded tools (Nikko I think).
Point is – They died out of the mainstream some time ago. While slightly facetious is saying I don’t know who they are – I have some armstrong branded stuff – before it all became GearWrench. But most DIY and a few autoshop guys only know GearWrench. And made in Taiwan – ironic there is a movement of If it’s brand X but not made in taiwan or singapore it’s junk. I do find that funny.
While sad to see another US company go it’s not surprising and maybe for the best. Perhaps some of us can be pointing the kids to the US companies that still make good stuff today. I point anyone I can to SK sockets and ratchets for example
I’m 27 and I know who they are, I’ve always dreamed of building a set with their tools since I was a teenager.
The main stream, snap-on,mac,and Matco seem to pricey for the quality.
I never owned any Armstrong tools but did work on their factory back in the 80s. Sad to see a company producing quality products here in the USA close another factory.
Always sucks losing American.made tool companies.. hopefully people will buy American made tools . I preach it everywhere I go.
..I Know my kids and grandkids will inherit my quality American made tools and not have to buy Chinese or Taiwan crap…
…SK,Wright,Snap On, Trusty Crook, Proto,and many more..buy American support your country…
From about 1990 to 2007 most Ratchets/Sockets/Wrenches under the Craftsman and Armstrong labels were manufactured by Danaher (who acquired Easco in 1990). In 2012, Danaher and CooperTools created the Apex Tool Group which also owned/started Gearwrench. This and the fact that Apex handled the sourcing for non-USA Craftsman tools (until the SBD purchase) is why many regard Apex to be the manufacturer of Craftsman, although it was Danaher.
I hate that Armstrong and Craftsman are not Made In USA, I hate Danaher sold Matco to Fortive, I hate SBD bought Craftsman instead of Apex, I hate Apex concentrated on Gearwrench instead of Armstrong/Craftsman, I hate . . .
Note: During this time Western Forge (Ideal) manufactured Pliers and Screwdrivers for Craftsman and SK. Pratt read made some screwdrivers from 2007-2008.
Gearwrench was a Danaher brand before the Apex Tool Group collaboration and spinoff.
While true that Danaher was the OEM source for many Craftsman mechanics hand tools, that entire part of Danaher’s business was folded into Apex Tool Group during the joint venture and subsequent separation.
The introduction of made-in-China tools came well before Apex Tool Group was spun off from Danaher and Cooper. My first review of such tools came in July 2010. https://toolguyd.com/craftsman-ratcheting-elbow-wrenches-hands-on-review/
Other introductions followed, with all this happening under Danaher ownership:
Danaher didn’t sell Matco to Fortive, they spun it off along with several other brands.
Sears discontinued the entire USA-made Craftsman Professional tool lineup BEFORE Apex Tool Group was separated from Danaher and Cooper. That was the beginning of the end of their USA-made tools.
The Emerson-Ridgid-Home Depot-TTI story also traces its roots back back to Sears.
Fueled by the post-WWI DIY – Sears became a leader in selling stationary and benchtop power tools. At one time you might walk into a Sears store and see several different craftsman Radial Arm Saws, table saws, band saws and drill presses on display. Even more were listed in the regular editions of the Craftsman Tool Catalogs. Emerson was once the OEM for many of these Craftsman power tools – having taken over (1950’s ??) on table saws where King-Seeley had left off. But then Sears was apparently looking at Taiwan OEM’s for a more profitable source – and Emerson was thrown over. At that time Home Depot was starting their ascent – and Emerson apparently cut a deal with them to replace some or all of what they had lost when their relationship with Sears had soured.
Just a note to add that Danaher was (is?) well known for “financial engineering”, so it’s not a surprise that these moves started before the PE buyout.
I’m more knowledgeable about the industrial side – for example, Danaher bought IDC for its electric actuators, and dumped the rest of its products (so too bad if you were using one of those products). They also screwed up the MEI motion controller acquisition. OTOH, Danaher has done a good job with Kollmorgen.
Perhaps if Armstrong had stuck with making cutting tool holders for lathes, which they revolutionized into what every machinist in the world uses today and is what made them successful prior to any wrench being made by them, along with their other machinist tools, they would likely still be in business. There’s thousands of companies that make wrenches. There’s a lot less companies that make a quality cutting tool holder and other machinists tools. The tool holders I use are Armstrong that belonged to my great grandfather which he bought from them before they were known outside of Chicago back at the turn of the century. Sad to see that a company that has been around for as long as they have go out of business.
Gearwrench is OK, but a poor substitute for Armstrong.
I sold Armstrong Tools for many years. The by word on their warranty by many end users was “….they have a life time warranty but you rarely need to use it!” It the same old story, staying in line with the ‘built in obsolescence’ idea big industry devised. Why sell something that may never need replacing? Sell something that will have to be replaced!That’s the bottom line…
Where can you get repair parts for Armstrong Tools?
On their page it says:
Being former dealer and user of Armstrong tools, It saddens me to see the loss of another American brand. Yes, Danaher/Apex has made the Craftsman, Napa and several other private labels. I learned of the shutting down of the Armstrong brand earlier this year when i was looking to purchase more tools for my collection. I loved the fact Armstrong tools were made in the USA. By the way they were on average 30% cheaper than Snap-On and just as good if not better. My 3/8 drive racthet is smoother than my Snap-On 1/4 and 1/2 ratchets from Snap-On. I prefer it even over the Wright cushion grip ratchets, which I have had even longer and still love to use. I know Apex shut the line down after they moved it from Texas to the East due to quality issues. But, that in my book is still no excuse for discontinuing a line with such a long history of producing quality tools. Yes, I want to buy American Made, but don’t want to pay the fortune Snap-On or the others want to charge. And Yes I have been a distributor for both, which is why I have both in my tool box. In my 35+ years of selling and actually using tools in industrial and automotive and marine environments. I prefer Armstrong. I mean come on they were 1 of the only brands I know of that were Nuclear and Aerospace rated. Snap-On can’t make that claim unless it has happened in the last 6 years. That being said Apex man up and bring the brand back as it was and stop being a copy cat producing tools from Taiwan and China. Granted I know they have there place, but the public still needs a US made competitor in the industrial field. Sorry for the novel, but, I could go on for a lot more.
I know this is a 2 year old comment. But just want to point out snap on tools are in use on the international space station, and a plethora of nuclear plants and powered ships. They absolutely are (and have been for a good long while. Longer than 8 years fwiw). Hope that helps.
Stanley Black and Decker is not going to bring Armstrong back to US manufacture! Back in 1996 Stanley wanted to take Chinese steel. Forge tools in Taiwan. Send them to the US to be stamped, hardened, and chromed. Then call them “Made in America”. Richard(?) Wright the CEO of Wright Tools sued. He was going to drop his suit because he couldn’t afford the lawyers anymore. It was a David against Goliath fight. And David was losing. Thankfully Snapon and Danaher stepped in and said they would pay for the lawyers. So in 1998 the Federal Trade Commission ruled that in order for a product to say “Made in America”. It and 95% of it’s components must must come from the USA. That is why things now have labels that say “ Assembled in America from US and Global Components”. I’m a little disappointed with Danaher for selling their tool division. But I suspect the CEO now is not the same person who was there back in 1997.
I don’t care what Apex Tools says about using one of their other line of tools in place of Armstrong. That is like comparing a Kia to a Cadillac. Quality USA made tool for their Chinese junk. All Apex is known for in my eyes is buying up and destroying good tool companies. It was unheard of for Matco to have such garbage on their trucks. You might as well call them Gearwrenchco. KD Tools, Allen, and Armstrong, all ruined. KD sold lots of good American made tools as did Allen. KD doesn’t exist anymore and is rebranded Chinese made Gearwrench and Allen is all Chinese made and I believe on its way to extinction. If Apex believed that all their focus needed to be in Gearwrench and that they make tools for the professional, they have lost their mind and deserve to be next on the chopping block. Pure garbage compared to what was right in front of them.
I agree 100%. What were they thinking?
Question: What are they going to do about Warranty work ? ? ?
I have a 3/8 AND 1/2 ratchets that need to be repaired or replaced.
They were good stuff when they were newer.
Thanks, Mike N
I could speculate, but you’d be better off contacting Gearwrench and see what they can do for you.
I’m sorry I couldn’t help more. They *might* have a stock of rebuild kits, and if not, they *might* offer premium Gearwrench ratchets as replacements. But I simply don’t know. Good luck, and if you can please let me know how it turns out!
I’ll do that Stuart….