I'll bet you've never heard of Jerome Schnettler or Edward Ristow before. I'll bet just as much that you'd be a little lost without their best-known invention on your jobsite. You see, these men created the first reciprocating saw when they invented the Milwaukee Sawzall in 1952, contributing one of the most indispensable power tools the industry has ever seen. It's no if their names are new to you–only a few toolmakers' names have ever become famous or even well-known.
Fame is a rare legacy in the history of tools. Out of the vast sea of inventors and their inspirations, only a few names drift into our awareness. Despite their genius, the most prolific inventors in the tool industry remain hidden. And, as you'll learn from reading about this year's Hall of Fame honorees, many a tool company can trace its beginnings to humble surroundings–like a rented garage, for instance. That's where Herbert Tautz founded Delta Manufacturing in Milwaukee in 1919, and began a career that revolutionized the woodworking industry. Tautz brought woodworking tools to the people. Based on the massive stationary tools of his day, his innovative designs laid the groundwork for today's lightweight portable power tools.
Draftsmen who rise through the ranks to become company presidents; farm boys who fill their spare time in the tool shed; immigrants who shape new lives for themselves in a new world–these are the makings of our Hall of Fame. This is the heritage of the tool industry. These are the people behind the tools that have changed our lives.
Welcome to the Tools of the Trade second annual Hall of Fame. We are proud to share the stories of this year's honorees with you. They are seven men who changed our lives with their wizardry and genius. Men who went to work each day, just like you, to follow a dream, pursue their passion, and maybe find a better way to do things. Take a close look at the history of tools and you'll marvel even more at how far we've come in such a short time.
Jerome L. Schnettler and Edward W. Ristow