Ever since its inception in the 1920s, Craftsman has been one of the leading brands in tool manufacture. The history of the brand began with Sears purchasing the Craftsman trademark for $500 from the Marion-Craftsman Tool Company in 1927, after which it quickly became widely recognized as superior to other brand manufacturer lines of the time. By the end of the decade, Craftsman made its debut in Sears’ fall catalog, where it was lauded for the rugged construction of its products, as well as superb balance and ease of handling. The first regular buyers of Craftsman were mostly farmers, but since that era, the brand has become a mainstay in many a professional builder, DIY-er or weekend warrior’s arsenal of tools, machines, spare parts and odd bits.
The first lawn mower in the line was introduced in 1934 and sold for almost half the price of the competitors’ products. Still, price alone couldn’t be what made them more sold and sought after. Another big step was the introduction of power tools, which recorded a massive rise in sales in the 1940s, with several aircraft schools actually using exclusively Craftsman tools for training technicians. The real breakthrough comes with the introduction of the first riding lawn mower in 1953, which sold for $350. The decade also records the 500,000th Craftsman rotary mower sold, as well as the first Craftsman Power Workshop to come off the line.
Only a year into the ’60s Craftsman marked its move into the suburbs, introducing its first lawn mower with a fully enclosed engine, key lock starter, an automatic blade clutch that prevented stalling, as well as a hand-controlled blade brake for added measure of safety. In the latter half of the decade, Sears introduces a quick-release ratchet wrench, which soon becomes an all-time seller in the hand tool market and an indispensable part of every home.
The 70s see Sears putting “green” back in “green thumb” with the Craftsman cordless electric rotary mower and riding mower, powered by a rechargeable battery and able to tackle about 14,000 square feet on a single charge. In 1976, Sears sold the 100 millionth Craftsman screwdriver, commemorating the occasion by presenting an 8-foot screwdriver, with the label “for people who think big”. A year later, the brand celebrated its 50th birthday, while a year after that, it celebrated its millionth weed wacker sold.
The 80s witnessed the Craftsman brand launch the very first electronic portable and bench power tools, as well as a complete overhaul of the modular power tools based on customer feedback. A few more milestones were achieved by the end of the decade in pliers’, screwdrivers’ and adjustable wrenches’ departments.
The interesting part of the brand’s history began with the 90s and the age of technology. In 1991, Sears started Craftsman Club as a way to help consumers save money by becoming exclusive members. In 1994, during a single season, the brand sold over a million lawn mowers, which is the industry’s first. Craftsman made its presence known in NASCAR SuperTruck Series by sponsoring the 1995 champion, Mike Skinner, while Sears looked to e-commerce, pushing more than 3,500 Craftsman products at their site.
The new millennium started auspiciously for the brand, as a 2002 EquiTrend study ranked Craftsman Tools as the world’s #1 brand based on more than 30,000 consumers’ testimonials. Four years later, Craftsman products became available through Kmart, while two years after that, Craftsman launched their own Craftsman.com. In 2007 the brand was declared “America’s Most Trusted Brand” and brand with “Highest Expectations”, while in 2009 it received Reader’s Choice Award by the readers of Popular Mechanics, who named Craftsman their favorite brand of hand tools. Unsurprisingly, Craftsman has become and still is the official tool brand of both NASCAR and DIY Network.
Craftsman truly lives up to its name, as it really gives a quality choice for both professional and amateur craftsmen, basically anyone who works with their hands and looks for the right tools for the job. If you know what you’re looking for, you can take a pick from a wide range of hand tools, power tools, lawn and garden equipment, smart products, storage and garage paraphernalia,or Craftsman work wear and other gear. The hand tools section has everything from tool sets, through mechanics and auto tools, to tool carriers and holders and open stock hand tools, as well as single items such as wrenches, ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, pliers, but also specialty tools, nut drivers, and hex keys. The list also includes cutting and finishing tools, hammers (and other striking tools), equipment for marking and measuring, as well as vises, clamps and stands. For the more professionally minded, the power tool department holds a treasure-trove of cordless and corded handheld and bench power tools, circular saws, and saw blades, miter saws, air tools and compressors, as well as power tool accessories, batteries, and chargers, in addition to wet dry vacs, riveters, and rivets. For your back yard needs, Craftsman has a variety of lawn mowers and tractors, yard power equipment, as well as lawn and garden care products, in addition to grills and snow equipment. The smart product department has a short list, containing only Smart Lawn Mowers and Smart Garage Door Openers, which are manufactured by the Chamberlain Group. For stowing and making the most of your garage space, the brand offers a choice of tool storage, such as tool cases and shelves, as well as garage and work area optimizers in the form of work benches, as well as equipment for sheds and outdoor storing. You could also take a look at the selection of Craftsman gear that includes work wear and boots, flashlights, electronics (battery chargers, cables, cell phone covers, power-banks, the works), job site radios and a number of novelty items. Additionally, just in case you’re starving for ideas for projects and great deals, you could visit the Craftsman Club and get a load of either or both.
Why Choose Craftsman?
With the credentials that are listed above, the Craftsman brand really recommends itself. Many professional craftsmen, people who make a living using tools such as wield socket wrenches or routers go for Craftsman products. It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid gearhead or do-it-yourself aficionado, there’s bound to be something that will fit your needs in Craftsman’s range of products. Given the wide spectrum of tools for personal, professional or industrial uses, there has to be a little something for everyone. In case you’re a new home owner, just getting a feel for the house and handiwork, you can purchase individual items such as a multipurpose screwdriver or hammer. Alternatively, if you’re more of an adept than novice craftsman, you might appreciate being able to purchase a set of wrenches, ratchets and locking pliers. Alternatively, you might want to move to industrial-use tools, such as drills, circular saws and mechanics sets if you rely on the durability of your equipment to bring in the money. If, however, you get fed up with tinkering around sinks and cars, you could pull a Hank Hill or Red Forman and go tend to the lawn. Just hop onto the Craftsman riding mower or lawn tractor of your choice and spend a green day. There’s a really nice selection of low-wheel rear bag push mowers for urban lawns that don’t require much upkeep, as well as riding mowers for larger yards in the country. If you’re faced with heaps of leaves in the fall or fallen branches in the spring, you can always turn to Craftsman chipper shredders, like the Craftsman 305cc 3-way Chipper Shredder, to make short work of it (yes, pun intended).
Craftsman 305cc 3-way Chipper Shredder
The machine sports a powerful 14.5 HP Brigs & Stratton engine which will allow you to do some real heavy-duty chipping and shredding, tackling any wood up to three inches in diameter, though it looks like it has a sweet tooth for 1–2-inch thick green stuff – it just chews it in and spits it out like nothing. With a reduction ratio of 10:1, the Craftsman 3-way Chipper Shredder will make short work of mountains of leaves, twigs, and grass stalks, letting you reduce, reuse and recycle the debris into useful mulch or compost.
Like any other chipper shredder combo, the Craftsman 3-way features two chutes – a side chute for admitting branches and limbs to be cut down to chips, and a 10-inch wide top-mounted hopper for loads of leaves and other such material. The machine is somewhere mid-range when it comes to weight (155 lbs.), so lugging it manually is not pleasant, although it is doable. Luckily, the chipper can be outfitted with a tow bar kit or mounted on a small trailer frame and hooked to a lawn tractor for easier portage and positioning. Starting it is easy, just choke it and pull the ignition cord in one strong and steady motion, and you’re good to go. Make sure, however, that you turn the fuel switch off and run the machine dry after using it so that the fuel doesn’t sit and gum up the carburetor.