Tool Boxes

©By: Keith Bucher

Originally written: 29 Mar 2001
Last update: dot_clear June 30, 2001 - formated for SOL's Morgan web page

I received the following email in response to the article Who makes what tools?

Hello John,

I was searching on the internet yesterday and I was delighted to come across your article: Who Makes What Tools. This is the type of information I have been looking for and trying to discover for myself for several years now. I'd like to expand on what you said a bit, and ask you some questions.

First of all, in my search for an approximately 26 to 30 inch wide roller cabinet and top chest a year ago I spent several hours trying to determine just who made whose tool boxes, and exactly how many tool box manufacturers there are in the United States anyway?

Here are some of the things I discovered. Snap-On seems to make their own tool boxes in their plant in Algona, Iowa. Mac claimed that they have a plant in Ohio who makes theirs.

The Husky tool boxes sold at Home Depot are made by Stanley in Canada. I even called them, but didn't really get much information.

Now here's where things really get interesting. When looking at tool boxes at Lowes, I found that they definitely had two very different grades of tool boxes. At the bottom of the scale were their professional tool towers, which are made by Waterloo. But higher on the ladder were their 28 inch wide roller cabinet, which is the one I purchased, the 28"inch wide Roller Cabinet Model 7704 at $448.00

Its companion is: 28" Top Chest Model 7609 $348.00

I thought, "Damn, these tool box drawers pull out as smooth as a Snap-On, and the paint is every bit as smooth. And besides, the description mentions durable powder coated paint and rolled drawer edges. And sure enough, just as with the Kobalt tools, this set of tool boxes are indeed made by Snap-On, as is a wider 40 inch model. I talked to an Ingineer at the Snap-On tool box manufacturing facility in Algona, Iowa who verified this.

Of course these Kobalt tool boxes aren't as heavily made as the actual Snap-On brand, but they're not nearly as expensive either. I found them to be vastly superior to competitors in their price range such as Craftsman and Husky from Home Depot.

I have owned a Kennedy top chest and it was also of fine quality. I'd like to know of other tool box manufacturers in the United States. But as with tools, it's probably a safe bet that there probably aren't all that many.

Recently I have been attempting to assemble data on torque wrenches, and as with tools and tool boxes, I have found it sometimes difficult to determine who makes whose.

I'd be interested in any information you have concerning torque wrenches.

And last of all, I'd like to ask you what e-mail lists and newsgroups discuss tool topics such as these. And once again I want to thank you for your article. It was most intriguing, interesting, and helpful to me.

(ED: Yes Keith there is, it is called "Shop Talk". You can subscribe to it by sending email to:

The body should contain:

subscribe shop-talk

You will receive a confirmation email. Simply follow the directions contained in it.)


Keith Bucher

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