Much of the history of the Thorsen Tool Co. comes to us from The Shurtleff and Lawton Families: Genealogy and History. Thorsen Tool Co. was founded in 1926 in Emeryville, CA by:
- Sherm Haskins - Production
- E. A. Boyd - Salesman
- Pete Mortensen - Tool & Die Maker
The document tells us that by 1931, E. A. Boyd had split from the company to form Thorsen Tools Inc. at 145 Bush St., a tool distribution company, and Pete Mortensen had returned to P&C. This left Sherm Haskins as the sole proprietor of the Thorsen Tool Co. In 1941, Thorsen was purchased from Sherm Haskins by Harry Peet and Roy Shurtleff, who was a silent investor and who's interest was looked after by his son Lawton. During WWII, the company focused strictly on mechanics hand tools, supplying a variety of tools to the Army via several small contracts, and obtaining a large contract to supply wrenches to Indian Motorcycles.
On 8/15/1968, Hydrometals announced it's intent to acquire Thorsen Tool of Emeryville, CA.
On 9/23/1973, Lawton Shurleff (interestingly noted as the founder of Thorsen in the article) named Scott G. Arbuckle as President of the company, and took over as Chairman of the Board. This article also announces the move from CA to Dallas, TX.
On 1/25/1977, Wallace-Murray Corp. announced it had purchased 350,000 shares of Hydrometals (parent company of Thorsen) from Lawton Shurleff, thereby taking over ownership of the company.
In about March of 1987, Thorsen Tools merged with GC Electronics of Rockford, IL to form GC Thorsen. The newspaper article indicates that eventually, all operations will move to Rockford and Thorsen's President, Wayne Timpe, will become President & GM.
An article from the 1/12/1989 edition of the Hartford Courant announces the dissolution of Houshold International Inc. "manufacturing empire" and notes that GC Thorsen is to be sold. We believe GC Thorsen was sold to Elgin National Industries, Inc. In the business section of the Chicago Tribune of 3/15/1995, we find an announcement that Elgin has sold GC Thorsen to Katy Industries of Colorado.
By following the timeline of assignment of several of the trademarks below, here are the remainder of transactions involving Thorsen:
- August 1999 - THOTO Inc.
- September 1999 - Thorsen Tools Inc.
- May 2001 - Olympia Group Inc.
- June 2006 - Amarillo Hardware Company
- August 2008 - Thorsen Tools Inc.
- June 2010 - U. S. Holdings Corporation
The last advertisements for Thorsen Tools we have found are in early 2009.
Thorsen Tool Co. (Emeryville, CA)
Sub Brands / Trade Names / Trademarks
- Action Hot Forged Tools (Mechanics Hand Tools) (8/1/1957)
- Baker Hamilton (Hand Tools / Sets)
- Dog Bone (Wrenches)
- E-Z Twister (Ratcheting Screwdriver) (First Use 5/15/1981)
- Forge Works (Hand Tools / Sets) // Forge Works (2)
- Grip Force (Pliers)
- Medalist (Hand Tools / Sets) (First Use 1965) // Medalist - inside "frame" (Mechanics Tools) (First Use 12/1/1981) // Medalist (Mechanics Tools) (First Use 7/1981)
- Pro-Line (Hand Tools / Sets) (First Use 10/25/1982)
- Quad Grip (Wrenches)
- Socket Shooter (Ejector Ratchets) (First Use 8/14/1980)
- Thorsen (Wrenches and Socket Wrenches) (First use 7/1929)
- Tool Time (Hand Tools / Sets)
- Tru Lock (Pliers)
- Thorsen Hot Forged Tools (Mechanics Hand Tools) (First Use 3/1/1953)
- TTC - inside box (Mechanics Tools) (First Use 12/1/1926)
- Thorsen Allied - stylized logo (Mechanics Tools) (7/1/1965)
- Thorsen Professional - stylized logo (Mechanics Tools) (1/1994) // Thorsen Professional - text (Mechanics Tools) (First Use 10/1993)
- Slip Lock (Mechanics Tools) (First Use 12/1993)
- Euro-Style (Cushion Grip Reversing Ratchet) (First Use 12/1992)
- Air Thorsen (Pheumatic Power Tools) (First Use 7/1986)
- THORSELECT (Electronic Tools) (First Use 2/1993)
- Forging The Standard of Quality (All Tools) (First Use 2/1/1995)
- GC Tool (Electronics Hand Tools) (First Use 3/1/1994)
- Tool Time (Mechanics Tool Sets) (First Use 5/3/1996) // Tool Time - stylized graphic (Mechanics Tool Sets) (Abandoned)
- GC Professional (Electronics Hand Tools) (First Use 5/1/1996)
- Tool Bottle (Bike Repair Tool Kit) (First Use 9/15/1996)