Awhile back, Klein Tools, Lincolnshire, Ill., set out to find the world’s oldest pair of Klein side-cutting pliers. They found them at a swap meet at the Sky Village Meet in Yucca Valley, Calif., on sale for only $10.
Dan Schmidt was the winner of a Klein Tools promotion that started in March. His pair of 1904 pliers won him $5,000 and the utmost envy from treasure hunters, pickers and Antiques Roadshow fans everywhere.
Dan’s pliers originally sold for $3.60 in 1904. The pliers included a special factory nickel plating which cost an additional 30 cents. True to Klein’s aspirations, these pliers were still in good working condition.
“We were overwhelmed with the inquiries and heart-warming stories of Klein tools being handed down from one generation to another,” said Thomas Barton, product marketing manager. “Stories such as our second oldest pair from Robert Armstrong, Jr., really exemplify what the Klein Tools’ brand is all about. His pair of 1906 pliers were handed down to his father in 1941 while on the job as a line foreman in Dyersburg, Tenn., and then handed down to Robert.”
The oldest ‘original’ customer was Gerald Schumacher, 89 years old, who entered a 1956 9” pliers which he purchased in Colorado. It lasted for over 30 years on the job.
The youngest customer was Brody Tonelotti, 13 years old, who loves tools and searches yard sales for old tool boxes. In one container, he found a pair of 1952 pliers in good condition and thought it would last for a couple more generations of use.
“The value placed on our products is exceptional,” said Mark Klein, a sixth generation Klein who serves as the company’s vice president of domestic sales. “As a company, our goal is to produce the highest quality product possible. In exchange, we are rewarded with incredible customer loyalty.”