The Legend of Mathias Klein

The LegendMathias Klein was born in Worms, Germany in 1926. Mathias was destined to become a fine craftsman. This area of Germany was famous for the skill and pride in workmanship of its craftsman. Mathias achieved his scholastic requirements in Worms but his true interest was to form things in metals.

It was in 1848 that Mathias was given the great opportunity of working with the most famous locksmith of his time, Simon Jossy. Simon was a master locksmith who trained Mathias as a blacksmith and in lock building. Mathias studied his work and became a master locksmith, in 1851.

At the age of twenty five, the prospect of adventure and excitement pulled Mathias away from his home. Mathias boarded a ship in 1851 to carry him to a new life in America. When he landed in Philadelphia, he found that the need for a skilled locksmith was not enough to earn him a living. Mathias was then offered the position of blacksmith on a whaling ship. This was to become an exciting adventure for the young man. On this ship, Mathias would establish his skill as an expert knife maker. The need for sharpened cutting tools was great on his ship.

After a few years on the whaling circuit, Mathias was in need of something else. Mathias had heard of the city of Chicago and it seemed like the right place to go. He traveled first by towboat up the Erie Canal and then by sailing ships across the Great Lakes. When he arrived in Chicago, Mathias found a great need for his abilities. Soon after, he established his own foundry and shop, in 1857.

Chicago was booming as Mathias became successful in his business. As Chicago and America grew, so did the need for better tools. The communication industry was just in its infancy throughout this period. As the story goes… one day a telegraph linesman came into Mathias’s shop with a pair of broken linesman’s pliers. While the workman waited, Mathias carefully forged a replacement for the broken half of pliers. He then heat treated and riveted the old and new half together. One month later the same linesman brought the tool back, when the other half had broken. Again Mathias carefully forged the new half. This became the first pair of Klein linesman pliers, ever made. From that day on, the Klein linesman pliers would be the standard of the industry.

As other industries grew, so did the need for other high quality tools. Klein Tools have long been a leader in the development of quality tools.

The Klein Company remains in the hands of the Klein family with great grandsons at the helm and great great grandsons in training.

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