Last month I attended Lenox’s 100th anniversary event at the company’s headquarters and factory in East Longmeadow, MA. There was a presentation on the company’s history, demonstrations of new products, and best of all—a tour of the factory.
The only thing that came close to the tour was getting to meet Lee Breton, the developer of bimetal hacksaw blades who came to be known as Hackman. During his years as Hackman Breton cut in half everything from freight trains, airplanes, and tank trucks, to houses and more than 500 cars in order to demonstrate the cutting ability of Lenox blades (video below)
Tools of the Trade has already published a story about the manufacture of recip saw blades; this story is about the manufacture of hole saws. It’s a fascinating process and you can see it by clicking the slideshow on the left side of this page.
As for the company, it was founded in 1915 as the American Saw and Manufacturing Company and later became Lenox. It began with the production of hacksaw blades, moved on to band saw blades (the number one item sold by the company), and became a major player in the construction industry by producing hole saws and recip saw blades. Lenox was acquired by Newell Rubbermaid in 2003.
Be sure to see the slideshow of my tour of the factory. But before you do, here are some fun facts I picked up at the event:
Lenox produces approximately 600,000 feet of bi-metal strip every day
- It makes 34,000 miles of blades every year—enough to circle the globe 1 1/2 times.
- The factory covers 13.77 acres and employs 900 people.
- The electrical bill for the factory is $600,000 per month.
- The Speed Slot Hole Saw (what I saw being made) was introduced in 2011
- Within the factory one guy can run 30 CNC machines per shift.
The video below shows Lee “Hackman” Breton in his prime, cutting a box car in half in 1987. For more classic cuts see Hackman Historical Cuts.