General Tools & Instruments began as the brainchild of Abe and Lillian Rosenberg in New York City, 1922. Originally dubbed General Hardware Manufacturing Co., the company specialized in the wholesale of “hard goods,” offering a full-range of domestic and professional items from clothesline pulleys and screen-door hardware, to specialty hand tools.
However it wasn’t long before Abe, a former WWI soldier and a vibrant, creative thinker, began to conceptualize his own product ideas. With Lillian running the store, Abe would take the Fall River Line from Greenwich Village to New England in search of machine shops to manufacture his tools. By 1930 he had outsourced a small line of specialty items, including circle cutters, metal punches and pocket screwdrivers. By 1937, Abe and Lillian were selling their own products exclusively at General Hardware.
Abe continued to develop a line of useful products for both consumer and commercial purposes. His thirst for new ideas kept General at the forefront of the industry and, accordingly, the company became one of the first to build die-cast tools. Through Lillian’s keen business management, the company was awarded contracts supplying machinist tools to the United States Military and the British Purchasing Commission during WWII. In 1946, General became a charter member of the Sears 100 Club of Craftsman tool suppliers.
Upon Abe’s death in 1977, his daughter Dorothy became Chairman of the Board. Along with her husband, Seymour Weinstein, Dorothy expanded General’s product line to include precision measuring tools and other specialty hand tools. In 1990, the company’s name was officially changed to General Tools to better reflect its product line.
Today, General Tools is run by Dorothy’s son Gerald Weinstein. Under Gerry’s leadership, General has expanded its product line to include electronic testing and measurement equipment, fueled by the much-heralded acquisition of Mannix Instruments in November of 2006. The company, now General Tools and Instruments, continues to forge a path into the digital marketplace all the while holding true to the entrepreneurial spirit upon which it began.