I had a chance to visit with the Metabo team recently in Philadelphia at the Franklin Institute. The purpose of the event was to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of its angle grinder safety break, and also unveil a few new tools. Past and present presidents of the company attended, as did a whole group of product managers and developers from around the country and abroad. Here are some interesting statistics before launching into the fun stuff:

  • There are 1,800 employees worldwide, spread out over 125 countries.
  • Metabo currently holds more than 500 active patents.
  • The company grosses $460-$500 million a year. While that might be hard to believe since it isn’t a readily available brand here in the U.S. (at least not yet; its recent acquisition by Hitachi will likely change that), it does have a very strong hold in the European market – particularly in commercial to industrial applications. What was particularly interesting was that Metabo is the only fully integrated manufacturer in Europe, meaning that it produces most if not all of the parts for its products within the company.
  • Metabo’s first electric drill, which came out in 1934, cost a craftsman two month’s wages.
  • Metabo is most noted for being the first to manufacturer a “one-hand” angle grinder, which hit the market in 1966. Its safety clutch and braking system, which is mechanical and functions much like disc brakes on a car, allowed users to use a grinder with one hand without fear of losing control. While it stopped touting the “one-handed” functionality of the tool many years ago, it still has an impressive safety brake, which we got to see in a demonstration at the event.

Check out the photos for a look at some new tools, as well as some old ones. There’s a new one at the end that’s the largest cordless angle grinder on the market today. The thing is a beast – and fun to use.