KENOSHA, Wis. — Snap-on celebrated its 90th anniversary as a supplier of automotive hand tools at its Kenosha, Wis., headquarters Aug. 10. The celebration was held in conjunction with Snap-on’s annual "No Compromise Tour," which featured an interactive tool expo, car show, the Glo-Mad ’57 Chevy display, Snap-on’s special 90th anniversary funny car, NHRA drivers and Snap-on spokespeople Cruz and Tony Pedregon, military exhibits and a drifting demonstration. The event was attended by Snap-on retirees, past CEOs and relatives of the company’s founders.
Snap-on was founded in 1920 by Joseph Johnson and William Seidemann, who pioneered the idea of interchangeable sockets and wrench handles. The company manufactured and marketed 10 sockets that would "snap on" to five interchangeable handles, a concept that revolutionized the tool industry. Snap-on has continued its innovative leadership across an ever-expanding line of products to this day.
To sell the products, Johnson and Seidemann worked with Stanton Palmer, who took the tools directly to customers at their places of business and demonstrated the benefits, which became the cornerstone of the company’s marketing success. As a result of this successful sales strategy, Palmer enlisted Newton Tarble to share the increasing workload. These four founders — Joseph Johnson, William Seidemann, Stanton Palmer and Newton Tarble — were responsible for putting Snap-on on the map.
Snap-on entered the international arena in 1931. Also in the 1930s, Snap-on began offering credit to customers and was the first in the industry to do so. In the 1950s, Snap-on expanded on the concept of bringing product to the customer by using fully stocked walk-in vans and, as a result, pioneered today’s familiar franchisee van channel.
Today, Snap-on sells its products worldwide, and is a $2.8 billion, S&P 500 company.