Ken-Tool is the leading manufacturer of tire service tools in the world. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, Ken-Tool has been providing the tire industry and automotive aftermarket with quality products for over 90 years. Housed in a 75,000 square foot facility, Ken-Tool is a primary manufacturer of product, with its manufacturing expertise centered around drop hammer, upsetter, and press forging. The company goes to market through the traditional aftermarket distribution network. The company also does contract forging for various companies both in and outside its industry.
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Ken-Tool’s history begins in 1920 when John A. Kennedy, self-proclaimed tire changing champion of the world, invented the Pacific Rim Tool. This revolutionary tire changing tool, endorsed by the B. F. Goodrich Company, began selling to garages and tire shops throughout the country. At this time, Kennedy had no manufacturing capability, so in 1925 he formed a partnership with J. Frank Kemmerline of the Cornwell Tool Company, and officially started the Kennedy Tool Company. Their primary product was the now-famous Pacific Rim Tool. During the next year, 1926, over 100,000 of these tools were shipped from their Ohio plant, and over 20,000 units were shipped from a Birmingham, England plant through the export division of General Motors.
Over the next 12 years, car registration continued to increase, people were driving their cars more frequently, and automotive service was becoming a rapidly growing business. As the aftermarket grew, so did the Kennedy Company. Jack Kennedy and Frank Kemmerline expanded their product line with new tire service tools and equipment. The business survived the depression and operated fairly successfully until 1938.