Stanley tools

Is Stanley Tools a good brand?

So you’re looking for some quality hand tools to use? Or maybe you want some vintage hand tools that are worth adding to your tool collection? So are Stanley Tools something you should add to your shopping list? To help you decide, let’s first look at their history.

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History of Stanley Tools

In 1843 two brothers, Frederick and William Stanley started a company called ‘Stanley Bolt Manufacturing’ in Connecticut, USA. This business made bolts and hinges from wrought iron. In 1853, Frederick wanted to expand the hinge making business and set up a separate business called “Stanley Works”.

Stanley Works Factory - Circa 1890
Stanley Works Factory – Circa 1890

Meanwhile, in 1857, the brothers’ cousin Henry Stanley started a business called ‘Stanley Rule and Level Company’.

Then in 1920, Frederick and Henry Stanley merged their two businesses to become what is now known as Stanley Tools.

Some of the key developments of Stanley Tools are:

  • 1869 – Purchased the patent for Bailey Planes
  • 1931 – Created the first Steel Tape Ruler
  • 1936 – Created Utility Knives (or often known as a “Stanley Knife”)
  • 1963 – Created the Powerlock Tape Ruler
  • 1963 – Built the biggest Hand Tools factory in the world

So Stanley Tools are one of the oldest manufacturers of hand tools still trading today; whilst also being one of the innovators in the hand tools industry. This makes Stanley Tools not only highly regarded as a quality hand tool that won’t let you down but also a desirable hand tool for any tool collection. Check out some of our rare Stanley Tools.

The Stanley Hand Tools Range

Stanley Tools make a wide range of hand tools, but the tools they are best known for are:

Stanley Planes
Stanley Plane

You don’t have a proper woodworking tools collection if you don’t have a Stanley Plane of some form or another. The earliest cast iron planes, as we know them today, was patented by Leonard Bailey (Bailey Planes) in the mid-1860s. Stanley Rule and Level Company (remember them from our history lesson above?) purchased these patents and continued to manufacture and develop them. So that means Stanley Tools have been making planes pretty much from the beginning. Some of the main planes are:

Stanley Squares
Stanley Square

Considering Stanley Tools was created through a merger with the ‘Stanley Rule and Level Company’, it stands to reason that Carpenter Squares (Stanley Squares) are an important part of their hand tool range.

Stanley Screwdrivers
Stanley Screwdriver
Stanley Chisels
Stanley Chisels
Stanley Saws and Saw Sets
Stanley Saw
Stanley Knife
Stanley Knife

As already mentioned, Stanley Tools was the creator of the Utility Knife. In fact, they are so synonymous with Utility Knives that they are known as “Stanley Knives” in some countries.

Other Stanley Hand Tools
Stanley Hammer

Stanley also makes shifters, spanners, hammers, crowbars, pliers, scissors, clamps, tape measures, levels and many more hand tools.

Vintage or Antique Stanley Hand Tool

Stanley Tools have become increasingly collectable the last few decades. As we mentioned earlier, they have been around for a long time and their quality means that many of them are still being used today. In fact, many of the vintage Stanley Planes are much preferred by Woodworkers than their modern equivalent.

Whilst Stanley Planes are the most sought after Stanley Hand Tools, there is still a place for their many other hand tools. You know that when you own a Stanley Tool, you own a piece of tool making history.