The best tools made. Mostly general-purpose mechanical tools for your auto shop, not so much woodworking. Not power tools.

There's not much to say about Snap-on Tools except, again, they are the best. They used to be only available from the Snap-on tool truck but they have stores now, too.

They're probably most famous for their absolute lifetime guarantee - if a tool with the Snap-on name on it ever breaks, they'll fix it or replace it. For free. Forever. If I found a broken Snap-on metric tap & die set lying in the gutter, I could bring it to a Snap-on dealer and they'd give me a new one, or fix the old one. No questions asked.

Snap-on Tools are pretty expensive. Even more than Sears Craftsman tools, which are also pretty good.

Snap-on began in 1920 when Joseph Johnson and William Seidemann formed the Snap-on Wrench Company. They enlisted Stanton Palmer to be a direct seller, who in turn brought in Newton Tarble when the workload got to be too much. Together, these four are credited with founding the $2+ Billion S&P 500 Company we know today.

Headquartered in Kenosha, Wisconsin, they began with four employees, one set of tools and a novel approach to doing business. Their first product was a set of 10 sockets that would "snap on" to five interchangeable handles. Rather than open a store and wait for customers to find them, they carried their product to all sorts of shops where they could demonstrate the functionality directly. This approach took the leap to walk-in vans in the 1950s, a sight now familiar around the world.

In the 1930s Snap-on did two things which would make it the company we know today. In 1931 they went international. As well, during the 1930s they began offering credit to their customers, the first in the industry to do so. Today they are conceptually organized into four business segments with more than 12,000 employees worldwide.

  • Snap-on Dealer Group - Business operations servicing the franchised dealer vans.
  • Commercial and Industrial Group - Business operations providing tools and equipment to commercial and industrial concerns through non-franchised distribution channels including direct sales and distributor (store) sales.
  • Diagnostics and Information Group - Business operations for the vehicle service and repair market. Services include diagnostic equipment, equipment repair and business management services.
  • Financial Services - Includes the business operations of Snap-on Credit, a 50% owned joint consideration between Snap-on and CIT. (DunnSolutionsGroup recently consolidated and optimized the performance of this $1 Billion venture.)

Some Trivia

Snap-on's product line has grown to just under 14,000 products and now includes hand tools, power tools, automotive diagnostic equipment, automotive shop equipment and diagnostic software.

Snap-on has a 70 year history with the automotive racing industry. This, coupled with excellent word-of-mouth sales has helped to drive their growth.

Snap-on had their own version of the Monopoly board game.

All of their products are made in the United States.

As part of The Discovery Channel's "American Chopper" series, Orange County Choppers designed and built the Snap-on Tools Bike, a custom Harley-Davidson. Valued at more than $180,000 it was designed in the summer of 2003 and delivered to the company on August 29th.

They can be reached at: Snap-on Incorporated, PO Box 1410, Kenosha, Wisconsin 53141-1410. Phone: 262-656-5200

Sources include:

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