This year marks the 95th anniversary of the founding of tire service hand tool manufacturer Ken-Tool.
John A. Kennedy, a tire changer, developed a company to market and sell hand tools when he developed the Pacific Rim Tool in 1920. Because Kennedy’s business didn’t have manufacturing capabilities, he partnered with J. Frank Kemmerline of the Cornwell Tool Co. and founded the Kennedy Tool Co. in 1925. Disagreements about the expansion of the company’s product offerings to other industries lead to Kennedy leaving the company in 1938, according to Ken-Tool.
Kennedy joined with John Lydle of Rittman Tool and Forge Co. to create a new company, Ken-Tool. Over the years, Ken-Tool and Kennedy Tool were rivals, but after Kemmerline sold Cornwell Tool, Ken-Tool took the opportunity two years later to purchase Kennedy Tool.
In 1966, Ken-Tool was sold to Cooper Industries and Ken-Tool became the seed for the Cooper Tool Group. In 1974, the Cooper era ended when the parent company sold Ken-Tool to Warren Tool Corp. Warren Tool ownership lasted for 20 years, ending in 1994. Warren Tool sold the other three lines and Ken-Tool emerged as an independent company again.
Throughout its history, Ken-Tool remained an Akron-based company. The company’s current headquarters and manufacturing facility produces 95% of the company’s product line.