This year, General Tools & Instruments (General) is celebrating its 90th anniversary from its headquarters in New York City. On the eve of the 2012 National Hardware Show, General is also proud to call attention to its role in launching the first ever NHS.
The NYC hardware industry of the mid-1940s, while comprised largely of family-run businesses whose owners were friendly competitors, was rather fragmented. Then, one member of this circle brainstormed an idea: Bring together hardware makers and sellers not only in the city, but throughout the nation, to showcase their products and the entire industry. That pioneer was Abe Rosenberg, founder of General Hardware Manufacturing Company (now General Tools & Instruments), and that showcase event was the first ever National Hardware Show.
The first NHS held at New York City’s Grand Central Palace in March 1946 attracted about 300 manufacturers including General, Stanley Tools, Hyde Tools, Disston, Camillus, Great Neck and Ace. Today, the show, which is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, boasts more than 2,000 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees.
General Tools & Instruments began as General Hardware in 1922 as the brainchild of Abe and Lillian Rosenberg. In its inaugural year, General introduced what was then a revolutionary specialty item: the egg slicer. In its early days, the company developed numerous other “hard goods,” offering a full-range of domestic and professional items from clothesline pulleys and screen-door hardware, to specialty hand tools. With Lillian running the store, Abe took to the roads of New York and New England, searching for machine shops to manufacture his tools. By 1930 he had outsourced a small line of specialty items, including circle cutters, metal punches and pocket screwdrivers. By 1937, Abe and Lillian were selling their products exclusively at General Hardware.
For the next 40 years, Abe generated new product ideas for commercial and consumer use. His creativity kept General at the forefront of the industry, eventually leading the company to be one of the first to create die-cast tools, according to the company. Upon Abe’s death in 1977, his daughter Dorothy (Weinstein) took the reins and continued to augment the scope of General’s product offerings.
Today, General Tools & Instruments remains a family business, owned and operated by Dorothy’s two sons Gerald and Martin. Gerry maintains a more active hands-on role as General’s Chairman, and Martin is a contributing board member. Under their leadership, General has expanded its product line to include more than 1,500 specialty tools and instruments.
Celebrate General’s 90th Anniversary at Booth 6240 at NHS 2012,May 1-3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Stop by on May 1 or 2 and enjoy a piece of cake.
To learn more about General Tools & Instruments and its products, visit www.generaltools.com or call Customer Support at (800) 697-8665.