Andreas Stihl AG & Company is a German manufacturer of chainsaws and other handheld power equipment including trimmers and blowers. Their headquarters are in Waiblingen, Baden-Württemberg near Stuttgart, Germany. Stihl was founded in 1926 by Andreas Stihl, an important innovator in early chain saw production. Stihl claims to be the world's best-selling brand of chain saws, and the only chain saw manufacturer to make its own saw chains and guide bars. Andreas Stihl AG is a privately held company owned by the descendants of Andreas Stihl.
Andreas Stihl designed and hand built the first chain saw in 1926. The saw was electric powered, and weighed in at 140 pounds. The Stihl name soon became popular, and also became synonymous with professional grade chain saws and would soon become the number one selling chain saw company in the world, a title that the company retains to this day. Stihl growth was slow initially, as the chainsaws hit the market about the same time as the Great Depression; with manpower cheap, and old two-man saws proven, there was no need for power saws. The early saws were very heavy, and often needed two men to operate them. Some outfits had a wheeled generator which had a power cord to run to the electric saw. Stihl saws saw service with the Wehrmacht, particularly in Eastern Europe and Russia, where timber was cut for defensive positions.
After the war, the availability of cheap, strong aluminum, better designs, and more powerful engines meant that the Stihl saw came into its own.
In the mid-1970s Stihl expanded the company by building manufacturing plants in Brazil and in the United States. Much of the increased demand came from the construction and landscaping markets. Along with the professional markets, Stihl designed a number of homeowner use equipment, like blowers, line trimmers, edgers, and chain saws. In 2008, the newest Stihl production facility is a plant located in Qingdao, China.
Stihl Incorporated is the American branch of Stihl Group based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Construction of the facilities there began in 1974. Along with the manufacturing side of the company, there are also warehouses and administration buildings in the complex.