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What I have noticed in my toolbox, which came from a long standing technician, is the wide variety of brand names Ive never heard of. But somehow, maybe because they are older tools, have been better than the newly ordered tools.
I guess another factor is the survivor bias. Whatever old tools are still in circulation are probably the best of the best, and likely not really representative of old tools in general. I think it is fair to assume that most bad or okish old tools have been scrapped long time ago as people didn't consider it worth it to keep around - as opposed to the good ones.
Over the years I have thrown out a few tools that broke or otherwise didn't meet my expectations.
I've certainly done that way too many times too. Thus years ago I tried to change policy and aim to take the expense to buy quality for tools I expect to have around a long time. The price is typically much higher initially, but quite often one ends up paying in various ways for lesser quality too. (And sometimes only to then get the proper stuff afterwards - for added insult and cost). Sadly price and quality doesn't always match up. It is nice when quality comes inexpensive, but all the more frustrating when bad quality comes at high cost. I blame the business pricing policy of basically charging irrespectively of production cost and rather just aim for whatever price the customer might be willing to pay - and increase that with inflated marketing. That policy goes a long way in undermining price as a signal of quality - and given time takes the brand value with it. (By then the MBAs probably got their bonuses already, and have moved on to the next job).And all kind of more or less trustworthy reviews floating around the internet doesn't really help. These days I'm generally sceptical to most reviews that show glossy pictures of a shiny new tool, and that seems to be most of them. I'd rather want to see pictures of tools that has been put through its paces so the reviewer have at least experienced using them.Seems I've gone off on some rant. Better stop here!
I used to go to Sears and buy Craftsman drivers and other tools because they were reasonably priced and made in the USA. I bought one of the last USA made tool sets at an Ace Hardware years back and still have it. I am not sure who used to make them for Sears, but maybe they just went out of business. I did not realize Stanley bought the name.