When Lee Breton got a job working in the factory of American Saw/Lenox right out of high school, he thought he would just stay with the company for a few years to save up money for college. But now, after 44 years with the company, he is the company's most recognizable employee.
Breton, also known as Hackman, cut his first car in half for Lenox, East Longmeadow, Mass., in 1981. Ever since, he has traveled around the world cutting cars, houses, trains, buses, boxcars and airplanes in demonstrations for tool distributors, on construction job sites and at trade shows.
Today, after a quarter-century of dramatic cutting, more than 500 cars have been split in half thanks to the efforts of Hackman. The purpose of the cuttings is to show off the extreme power of Lenox products, specifically power tool accessories and hand tools.
Although Breton is 62 years old, he shows no signs of putting his saw away anytime soon. To celebrate 25 years of cuttings, Breton is going on a nationwide VIP tour with Lenox, visiting 30 cities by the end of 2006. In addition, Lenox hopes to double the number of car cuttings performed by the end of 2006 with the help of Team Hackman, which now consists of 15 cutters. The goal of Team Hackman is to demonstrate the Lenox Gold reciprocating saw blade.
As a part of the tour, customers can enter the Lenox Hackman Chopper Sweepstakes to win the grand prize — an American IronHorse Chopper, which showcases Lenox products with a custom design and build. Other prizes include 25 winners of $1,000 and 2,500 recipients of a 25-pack of Lenox Gold reciprocating saw blades. The sweepstakes continues through Dec. 31. Customers can enter the sweepstakes at participating dealers.
Breton admits his most difficult challenge over the years was cutting a railroad boxcar in half, and says his three greatest honors with the company were being asked to perform the original car cutting and being named Hackman, the creation of Team Hackman in 2004, and the promotion surrounding his 25th anniversary. Breton's daughter is currently a member of Team Hackman, and as such, she is carrying a very “cutting” tradition onto the next generation.