Plomb/Proto Research

Interesting Plomb Notes

Immigration records show Alphonse Plomb immigrating from France (born in 1871) in 1899 in Illinois.  In addition, a 1907 listing of "Tool Makers" in Chicago lists an A. Plomb at 77-83 W. Lake.

In 1910, voter registration records from Los Angeles, CA show Alphonse Plomb as a "Tool Manufacturer" at 1658 Long Beach Ave.  Subsequent voter registration records from 1936 and 1944 show he and his son Henry J. Plomb listed as Tool Makers.

In the 1910 LA City Directory, Alphonse Plomb is listed as a tool maker located at 1658 Long Beach Ave.  In 1913 and 1914, he is listed under Tool Manufacturers and located at 7674 1/2 Male Ave.

The first time Plomb Tool is listed as a company in the LA City Directories is 1916.  In this directory, Jacob Weninger is listed separately as a tool maker, William Ziegler Jr. is listed as manager, and Alphonse Plomb is not in the directory.  Charles H. Williams doesn't show up associated with Plomb Tool until 1917.  He appears to be Secretary for Eucalyptus Hardware Association prior to 1917.

A 1909 edition of The Pacific Miner announces Mr. F. A. Kohler as having taken over the Plomb Tool Works of Los Angeles.

The 5/25/1928 edition of The Wilmington News-Journal (Wilmington, DE) announces articles of incorporation for The Plomb Tool Company offer capital stock of $500,000.  Incorporators are listed as A. L. Miller, T. L. Fray, and A. V. Lane, all of Wilmington, DE.  (Corporation Trust Co. of America)

In December of 1932, the News Journal (Wilmington, DE) reports that the Plomb Tool Company has officially voted to reduce it's capital by $120,000.  The article does not indicate the amount of remaining Operating Capital.  The article does however note that C. H. Williams is company President, and H. L. McConnell is Secretary.

On Jacob Weninger's 1942 Draft Registration, he is listed as a tool maker for California Tool Co.

In the Los Angeles City Directory for 1909, Jacob Weninger is listed as a Wire Worker.  In 1913, he is listed as a tool maker.  In 1916, he is listed as a tool maker, but separate from Plomb.  In 1917 he is listed with Plomb Tool Mfg. Co.  In 1918, he is listed as Foreman.  By 1920, he is simply listed as a tool maker.  In 1923, he is listed as Foreman of Plomb.  In 1925, 1926, and 1928 he is still Foreman.  In 1934, Weninger is listed as Superintendent at Plomb. 

In an announcement, only partially discernible on-line in American Aviation, Volume 6 (1942), Page 38, there is mention that Plomb Tool Company "has organized facilities of 27 companies....." -- This article refers to the Plomb Contracting Company, organized as Fleet in '42, then changed to Penens in '43 as the management / organization arm set up to manage very large war production contracts and their many sub-contractors.

Plomb "Creates" Fleet - Throughout the war years, we find many references to Plomb "contracting" between 27 and 31 factories to produce wartime tools (see above note).  They all reference a "Plomb Tool Contracting Company."  According to recently discoverd information, it appears that neither Penens nor Fleet was in fact an acquistion.  Rather, it is evident by this court ruling that Plomb incorporated Fleet as the "Plomb Tool Contracting Company" in 1942, renamed it to Penens Corporation on September 8, 1943, and to Penens Tool Corporation on February 26, 1956.  On November 26, 1963, the name was again changed to Fleet Tool Corporation.

J. P. Danielson - Pre-Plomb

This biography on Albin Joseph Carlson from the History of Chautauqua County New York and it's People, by John Phillips Downs, published 1921, notes that Mr. Carlson teamed up with J. P. Danielson to start the company.  It also mentioned that he had been working 8 years for the Peterson Crest Tool Co. in Jamestown.  We have found no evidence yet but the possibility remains that this company could be related to Karl Peterson, given their eventual apparent takeover of the J. P. Danielson Co. in 1907.  Mr. Carlson passed away in 1918.  The biography notes that his wife retained his interest in the company (Crescent Tool Co. - See Below).

Thus far, this is the earliest reference we have been able to locate on J. P. Danielson & Co.  From The Iron Age, December 3, 1903.


The December 10, 1907 edition of Hardware reports that the J. P. Danielson company has been dissoved, having been taken over by Crescent Tool Company Inc.  This is confusing based on the below information, as well as this report from Domestic Engineering and the Journal of Mechanical Contracting, Volume 49 - October 2, 1909.  However, we find the notice regarding the formation of Crescent, and it's taking over of J. P. Danielson in multiple publications in 1907.  This example, from The American Exporter - October, 1907, names Mr. Karl Peterson as the President of the newly established Crescent Tool Co.  This announcement from Steel and Iron - July 8, 1907, identifies the following officers of the newly incorporated ($30,000 capital stock) Crescent Tool Co.:

  • Karl Peterson
  • Albin Karlson (Note: see above biographical reference, and note spelling of last name)
  • Charles F. Falldin
  • John E. Anderson
  • Charles S. Grover

This article from a 1909 edition of Motor Cyclopaidia notes Karl Peterson as President and C. F. Falldine as Secretary and Treasurer of Crescent Tool Co.  It also notes the establishment date as 1902 and capital investment of $20,000.

An interesting aside is that Karl Peterson filed this patent for a pipe wrench on 10/09/02, whose assignee was the William Hjorth and Company, another plier manufacturer in Jamestown.  The Canadian patent is #88,521, filed on February 4, 1904.


The August and September, 1913 issues of The Iron Age both report that the J. P. Danielson Co. is nearing completion on construction of their new factory.


The July 1st, 1917 The Plumbers Trade Journal announces the publication of Catalog #5, consisting of pliers and wrenches recently published by the J. P. Danielson Co.

The February 13, 1921 edition of The Plumber's Trade Journal shows a nice advertisement and mentions Catalog #6.


Unsure of it's significance or meaning, it appears Mssrs. Danielson and Carlson knew each other before immigrating from Sweden based on this snippet from the Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church from 1912.  From the information that can be gleaned from search results, it appears Mr. Danielson was a Methodist preacher.


In the May 13, 1920 edition of Iron Age, the announcement of the incorporation of J. P. Danielson is announced.  Capital stock of $300,000.  Officers include:

  • J. P. Danielson
  • K. Tornebohn
  • A. Swanson

In 1923, Mr. A Swanson filed a patent for a turn signal.

Cragin - Pre Plomb

In the Jan. - June edition, 1929 Iron Trade Review, this announcement establishes the incorporation of the Cragin Tool Company of Chicago at 5720 Armitage Ave.  Readers are advised that 5720 Armitage Ave. is extremely close to 2120 N Menard, located where the two streets intersect.  Principals are:

  • Russel Greenacre
  • I Lieberman
  • B. I. McCormick

By 1938, Cragin Tool Co. no longer occupies the aforementioned address, claimed by the W. R. Brown Corp., makers of spray painting equipment.

In the 1939 Illinois State Certified List of Domestic Corporations, the Cragin Tool Company is listed at 2120 N. Menard in Chicago.  It is interesting to note here that the entry above lists the "Cragin Building Corp." at 2649 N. Kildare.  Most readers should immediately recognize this address as the home of Indestro and Duro at the same time.

Yet another interesting note is that the MacLean-Fogg Lock Nut Co. also used the 2649 N. Kildare Ave. address from at least 1928 to at least 1937.  We will explore this curious conglomeration of companies at 2649 N. Kildare further in the Indestro/Duro Research Blog.

In attempting to pinpoint the Plomb/Cragin tie, we noticed that in the 1941 Mergent Moody's Industrial Guide, George Pepperdine (Western Auto // Brother Ben ran Cragin/Bog) is listed as one of the Directors of Plomb Tool Co.

In an announcement, only partially discernible on-line in American Aviation, Volume 6 (1942), Page 38, there is mention that Plomb Tool Company "has organized facilities of 27 companies....." -- This article refers to the Plomb Contracting Company, organized as Fleet in '42, then changed to Penens in '43 as the management / organization arm set up to manage very large war production contracts and their many sub-contractors.

In the May 8, 1949 edition of The San Bernardino County Sun newspaper, a lengthy article was published about a local company, Allen & Son Iron Works.  In the article the writer notes that the company supplies "cold chisels and drills to the nationally advertised Plomb Tool Company."  Mr. Jack G. Allen, grandson of the founder of Allen & Son, served as VP for Plomb Tool Co. from 1947-1952, when he took a position as VP at Bingham-Herbrand.  In 1958, he would accept the VP position of his grandfather's Allen & Son company, where he became president in 1963. 

On 4/23/1955, Alphonse Plomb passes away.

The 1962 edition of Walker's Manual of Far Western Corporations & Securities notes that Pendelton Tool Industries manufactures and produces tools sold under the following brands:

  • Proto
  • P & C
  • Challenger
  • Fleet
  • Duplex
  • Vlchek

Please take note of the absence of Penens in the above list.

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American Aviation, Volume 6 (1942), Page 38

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I am also attempting to discover Plomb/Proto revenue steams through time. This is their '52/'53 Revenue report.

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