Saturday, March 24, 2018


The early years, from Plomb to Proto

Proto tools began somewhat unofficially back in 1907 when a blacksmith in Los Angeles teamed up with a traveling salesman who began selling the striking tools he forged by hand.

The robust yet austere tools bore the mark of Plomb, the name of the blacksmith Alphonse Marie Plomb, a native of France who had immigrated to the US in 1892. Mr. Plomb had recently come to Los Angeles after trying his hand at tool making in Chicago for a number of years.

The salesman, Charles Harvey Williams, a native of New York was a well experianced agent, having honed his skills as a traveling salesman selling shoes across the midwest back at the turn of the century.

By 1910 the duo added toolmaker Jacob Weninger, a native of Hungary who had arrived in New York from Hungary just a few years earlier, to not only help with the growing demand but also help expand their product line.

Some majors changes came to this organization around 1916 when Mr. Plomb left to go into business for himself and since the operation had been utilizing Mr. Plombs property at Maie ave, it was relocated to 1409 Georgia ave there in Los Angeles, a William Ziegler Jr was brought in as shop manager, also Mr. Williams brought in silent partner John Louis Pendelton, a man well experienced in business management.

In the beginning their product line was limited mainly to punches and chisels, but according to a 1917 advertisement which read "Hand Forged Tools for Plumbers, Tinners, Bricklayers, ect. Machinists hand tools a specialty.", obviously their line had expanded considerably.

In 1918 the shop was again relocated to 1119 Santa Fe Ave in Los Angeles, also Mr. Weninger was promoted to foreman to an ever growing production staff.

In 1920 the company made its first acquisition when MJ Carls Plastering sold his cement tool business to Plomb Tool with the agreement that they continue to manufacture them using the Carls trademark. Around this same time they relocated yet again to a larger facility just a short distance away at 2209 Santa Fe Ave, and this location became the home to Plomb Tools for decades to come.

*** More to Come ***

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