That's a shame - they were great tools. Fucking bean counters fuck everything up with their soulless nickel & diming.
Hard to believe that Stanley was once a great name in tools before those assholes cheapened it into the kitchen drawer crap it is now.
The bean counters often come into play, but I often wonder if also happens that these companies have been bought for the name only, then run the name into the ground, but at least the new owners can leverage the name for a few years.
I'm thinking of RCA, which used to be a premium brand, but is now (or at least was a couple of years ago) one of the cheapest around. Don't know if they are even still around today.
Yep. Common practice in the Private Equity world. Very often, brand/name recognition is all a company has going for it, asset-wise. A holding company can snap up the brand at pennies on the dollar, apply it to an entirely unrelated line of products, and gain instant position in the marketplace. We consumers are brand-loyal, even after a brand has declined or morphed into something other. Expect this to happen to Kodak in the next few years. Still one of the world's most identifiable and beloved brands, although it lost the plot c.1982 and hasn't found it since.
Also, consolidation and splintering off in the tools business means some brands get repositioned for different markets, while others are cut loose by a parent company as not profitable enuf, while still others may have been building tools for the name brands for years, saw the name brand move production to a lower bidder, and unveiled their own lines of tools.
For example, Stanley owns Black&Decker, Porter Cable, and Dewalt; it made a conscious decision to front Dewalt as its rugged contractor-grade line, market PC as its fine bench-craft line, while relegating B&D to consumer-grade status. Same with Milwaukee and Ryobi (bought and sold several times), Bosch and Dremel and Skil, and so on. Porter Cable was actually part of Rockwell once, which fused with Delta to become Pentair, before PC was spun off and snapped up by Stanley. Sears Craftsman tools were made for years in Ohio by Emerson Electric's Ridgid division; when Craftsman offshored everything (nearly destroying their cherished reputation by producing absolute shite tools), Ridgid started putting out their own lines of tools (now also largely made in China) which are quite good, tho made for hands larger than mine. JET tools bought Powermatic; While the PM66 is still assembled in Tennessee, many components are shipping in from Taiwan.
*shrug* It's a fluid business, driven by short-term profit decisions by corporates and price-point buying decisions by us consumers. I buy $40 Chicago (ha!) Electric multitools from HF -- but $450 orbital sanders from Festool (Germany). That calculus works for me. Others may prefer $350 multitools from Fein (also made in Germany) but $30 Ryobi palm sanders. I'm glad there is a range of price and quality to choose from.