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The Armstrong Bros. Tool Co. was founded in 1890 by four brothers, the sons of a Scottish immigrant blacksmith. In the beginning, the company manufactured and distributed bicycle parts, together with tools and equipment people used to manufacture and repair bicycles. In 1895, as part of their manufacturing program, the brothers introduced lathe tool holders. By 1900 this product showed such promise that the company started devoting full time to manufacturing. So it was that the company's foundation was built upon the tool holder. These holders replaced the heavy, individually forged cutting tools that until then were necessary for lathe work. With the Armstrong system, a forged permanent shank was used with various shapes of small, interchangeable cutting tools. As advertised, the Armstrong system did indeed save "all forging and 70% of grinding," and by the mid 1900's the use of forged cutting tools in machine shops was virtually unheard of, replaced instead by the Armstrong System of Tool Holders. The company's first manufacturing facilities were located in a wooden structure built across the back of two of the brothers' adjoining yards on Edgewood Ave in Chicago, Illinois. At the same time, they also maintained a store in downtown Chicago. In 1900, the brothers decided to devote full time to manufacturing and moved operations to a new plant at 617 Austin Ave. On April Fools' Day in 1902, the Austin Ave plant burned to the ground. But the company salvaged and re-conditioned its inventory, rebuilt the plant, doubled the floor space, and continued to grow. In 1905, needing still more space, the brothers purchased property at 317 N. Francisco Ave., Chicago, and built a 100,000 square foot, 3-story brick factory. At this point, the company was still involved only in the manufacture of tool holders and related machine tool accessory items. In 1909, Armstrong introduced a line of drop forged wrenches. From its modest beginning selling bicycle parts, the company launched into a line expansion that's continued to today, almost 100 years later, with a product line which includes nearly 5000 items of mechanic's tools, pipe and tubing tools, machine shop accessories, and cutting tools. The company remained on Francisco Ave. until 1948, when it moved to its present headquarters at 5200 W. Armstrong Ave. on Chicago's northwest side. Armstrong built a second manufacturing facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas and began operations there in 1974. To this day, Fayetteville boasts one of the most modern drop forge shops in the world. In December 1994, after 105 years of private ownership by the Armstrong family, the company was acquired by the Danaher Corporation. Danaher's family of brands includes Allen and K-D Hand Tools, Allen Hex Keys, Holo-Krome Fasteners, Jacobs Chucks, Matco Hand Tools, and JS Technology Torque Tools, among others. The Danaher Commitment to continuous improvement will ensure the strict adherence to the high standards of quality, delivery and cost upon which Armstrong was founded. Armstrong Tools are still, and will continue to be made in the U.S.A. They are designed and manufactured for professional tool users and continue to be manufactured with uncompromising quality.
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