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Footprint Tools - The End of an Era  

05/26/2009

I was very sorry to find out that Footprint Tools is closing its doors. They went into voluntary liquidation and all their suppliers will be paid. Apparently the family owned business was in the middle of a move from Sheffield and the recession and the credit crunch hit. There were no funds or credit to pay for the rest of move and upgrade their equipment. Rather that wait until they owed everyone money and were totally stuck the firm decided to liquidate in a dignified manner.

Footprint Tools, was founded in 1875 and was a long-time successful Sheffield company, maybe the biggest of the traditional tool makers left. They were known to the woodworking consumer as a maker of mid-priced good tools. Their biggest competitor in my view was the old Marples Record stuff. My first set of chisels, which I bought from Garrett Wade in the early 1980's was a set of 4 Footprint chisels that I still have (although I don't use them).

Behind the scenes they were one of the few companies left in England with big drop forging equipment and they made and sold forging that were finished by other companies and also they made tools that were sold under many major names.

I am really sad to see them go.

N.B. At this writing the Footprint website is still humming and reports say that the factory is really busy as customers try to get in last orders. I don't know when the last day of scheduled operation is, and I hope there is still time for the assets to be sold to some other company to continue the brand and product line.
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