Proto is known around the world as a juggernaut manufacturer of professional quality hand tools and accessories. Within the last 100 years Proto has evolved a great deal as a business but has kept its original vision of excellence. It is a fascinating story of business success through holding on to a commitment of innovation and quality even in the hard times. History of Proto: PLOMB Tool Co.
Proto was founded in 1907 in Los Angeles by three Germen entrepreneurs, Alphonso Plomb, Jacob Weninger, and Charles Williams. Somewhat humorously they called the company PLOMB Tools because Alphonso Plomb had the shortest name out of the three founders, making it the easiest to put on the hand tools. Originally, PLOMB was known as the company that made and sold remarkably well crafted hand tools, including punches and chisels from old Model T axles. Over the first couple of years they grew a respectable reputation for quality and design. However, by 1930 the Great Depression hit and almost every American company was in jeopardy. If PLOMB Tools was going to survive they needed to design something unique. In September, 1933 PLOMB introduced the first line of combination wrenches to the market. Based on the original design by Mr. Plomb, it may have been the greatest innovation in Proto Company history. The combination wrench spearheaded the hand toosl production throughout the war and kept the company afloat during the hard-times. More info at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto_(tools)