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Klein Tools

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Klein Tools
Company typePrivately owned
Founded1857; 167 years ago (1857)
FounderMathias Klein
HeadquartersLincolnshire, IL
Key people
Thomas R. Klein, Chairman CEO
ProductsHand tools
Number of employees

Klein Tools, Inc. is an American company based in Lincolnshire, IL that manufactures hand tools. The company is known for its popularity with workers in the electrical[1][2][3] and telecommunications[4][5] industries. Lineman's pliers in the past were often called "Kleins," an example of a genericized trademark.

Klein's line-up contains more than 5,000 different tools, including 165 different types of pliers, in addition to screwdrivers, nut drivers, wire pulling and stripping tools, crimping tools, scissors, snips and shears, cable and bolt cutters, multimeters, electrical outlet testers, conduit benders, personal protective equipment, and tool bags.[6] Klein produces a high-end line of tools under its Journeyman label.[7]



Klein Tools was founded in 1857 in Chicago, Illinois by German immigrant Mathias Klein.[8] The first tool Klein made was a pair of side-cutting pliers for a telegraph lineman.[9] The company grew as the telegraph and eventually telephone and electrical industries grew after the Civil War by adding 100 types of pliers in the 1910s. From the 1960s-1980s, the company expanded their product line to include leather and canvas products, occupational safety equipment, hex key wrenches, screwdrivers, nut drivers, as well as electrical terminals and connectors. Along the way, Klein acquired the R.H. Buhrke Company of Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1968 and the Vaco Products Company of Jonesville, Michigan in 1986.[10] Also in the mid 1980s, the company started manufacturing adjustable wrenches in the US, which they had previously been purchasing from a Japanese supplier.[11]

Klein Tools built a drop forging plant in Moran, Kansas and distribution center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before the 1990s.[12][10] The company added an affiliate, Klein Connection, to help ensure a wider distribution of Klein products. Klein Connection is an e-commerce website.[11]

In December 2011, the company announced that it was closing its plants in Skokie and Roselle, and moving their operations to Texas.[13] Later that year, 2011, they opened their new advanced manufacturing facility in Mansfield, Texas. In 2014, they opened their new heat-treating facility and announced plans to expand on their 100 acres in Mansfield.[14] In 2015, Klein added another 300,000 sf of plastic injection molding and machining, and in 2020 added an additional 270,000 sq. ft. Distribution Center. In 2021, Klein Tools moved its corporate headquarters to Mansfield, TX. The company is still owned and managed by members of the Klein family.[15][12]

Klein Tools currently has offices and facilities in Fort Smith, AR; Lincolnshire, IL; Philadelphia, PA; Bolivar, NY; Mansfield, TX, Forging & Design, operations in Elk Grove Village, IL.

In September 2018, Klein Tools acquired Saint Paul-based Ergodyne, a manufacturer of safety work gear.[16][17]



Klein Tools got involved in motorsports in 1994 to gain visibility with auto racing fans.[11] Drivers of Klein-backed cars included Jacques Villeneuve, who won the Indianapolis 500 and the CART championship in 1995; and Dan Wheldon (co-major sponsor with Jim Beam) as well as being an associate sponsor for all of Andretti-Green Racing, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 2005.[11][18]

In 2001, Klein Tools started sponsoring aerobatics pilot Michael Mancuso. He flew the Klein Tools Extra 300L during air shows and at IndyCar events as the official air show of the Indy Racing League.[11][19]



  1. ^ Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation (May 1, 2000). "Klein Tools: A Tradition of Quality and Success". Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Cage, Chuck (March 16, 2007). "Reader Find: Klein's "Beverage Tool"". Toolmonger. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Brewer, Jay (May 20, 2008). "Klein Tools Turns 150!". Tool Snob. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  4. ^ Contracting Business (April 1, 2007). "Klein Tools Founder Inducted into Lineman's Museum, Hall". Retrieved January 9, 2010. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ Alloy Artifacts. "Various Hand Tool Makers". Retrieved January 25, 2010.
  6. ^ Klein Connection. "About Us". Retrieved January 12, 2010.
  7. ^ Klein Tools (2001-08). "Klein Tools Introduces New Journeyman™ Line of Premium Pliers for Professionals". Retrieved January 12, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Murphy, H. Lee (July 8, 1996). "Pliers Poker". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  9. ^ Parker, Ben (December 18, 2017). "Klein Tools 9-Inch Journeyman Diagonal-Cutting Pliers". Pro Tool Reviews. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  10. ^ a b F&F Industrial Equipment Corp. "Manufacturer Spotlight: Klein Tools". Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e Wack, Kevin (2008). Forging Endurance: The Klein Tools Story. Old Saybrook, Connecticut: Greenwich Publishing. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-944641-69-9. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  12. ^ a b CableOrganizer.com. "The History of Klein Tools". Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  13. ^ "Klein Tools To Close Plants In Skokie, Roselle". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  14. ^ ContractorSupplyMagazine.com. "Inside Klein Tools' Texas Manufacturing HQ". Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  15. ^ Klein Tools. "About Klein". Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  16. ^ Wittenberg, Alex (September 5, 2018). "Ergodyne acquired by tool manufacturer Klein Tools". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  17. ^ "Klein Tools acquires Minnesota company". Fort Worth Business Press. September 5, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  18. ^ The Auto Channel. "Klein Tools Signs Multi-Year Sponsorship Deal With Andretti Green". Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  19. ^ Crash.net. "Air Show to enhance pre-race build-up". Retrieved March 17, 2014.