|The right job for the right tool|
Gregg: Did Pony Jorgensen go out of business a while ago?Bill: We closed up shop for a bit to reorganize the company. But we’re back in business and under new leadership. We are committed to sustaining and growing jobs, distribution, and the overall brand. We’re also dedicated to expanding retail distribution so our customers can start purchasing their beloved clamps in stores once more.
Gregg: Since the brand relaunch, a lot of customers have been asking: Is this the original Pony Jorgensen?Bill: Yes, it is. This is the one and only Pony Jorgensen that customers love and remember from our Chicago days. We remain committed to upholding founder Adele Holman’s vision and manufacturing woodworking tools of an uncompromising quality.
Gregg: Is manufacturing taking place in Chicago again?Bill: No, it’s not. Manufacturing and production have moved to China. This move was not about cost; we could have manufactured our clamps more affordably in a number of other countries. The decision to move manufacturing to China is very strategic. In recent times, China has emerged as a global market leader and a center of excellence for the manufacture of these particular products. So our move eastward was to ensure quality – not to compromise on it.
Gregg: How will the new products live up to the standard of quality that customers have grown to expect from Pony Jorgensen clamps?Bill: We anticipated there would be some customers who would be skeptical of the quality of our new line of clamps. And this is understandable. Over the years, a plethora of companies have moved manufacturing to other countries. The purpose behind many of these moves was to cut costs. In the process, many have often compromised on quality.
However, our move serves an entirely different purpose. Our reason to move production to China was rooted in our commitment to quality. We wanted to capitalize on the level of quality, sophistication, and specialization the manufacturing industry in China brings to the production of these particular products. Additionally, we’re making today’s Pony Jorgensen clamps from the original tooling and equipment that was used in the original Chicago plant. We are fully dedicated to delivering the same trusted tools our loyal customers have come to expect. The quality of our clamps has not and will not suffer, and that is of paramount importance to us.
Thanks for the enlightenment, Bill!
Bill Sokol is now a Vice President in charge of reviving the brand name of a former Chicago area tool manufacturer. He's certainly not one of the executives who introduced himself to me while I was still at Harvey. Sokol is new to me but he comes from a diverse corporate background, none of which might suggest skills adapted to rebuild a struggling woodworking tool company. Having started out his career in eyewear, he also did a stint with Gillette. (and no, I didn't just make that up.) Today his job is that of a corporate mouthpiece who evidently prefers to be interviewed by another executive who just happens to work at Arrow Fastener, which is also part of Hangzhou Great Star Co., Ltd., which outsourced manufacturing to Hangzhou, China. Thanks for the enlightenment, Gregg!
|GreatStar Industrial Co. Ltd., Hangzhou headquarters|
"This move was not about cost."
If we are to accept Sokol's claim at face value, then we must conclude that he is convinced that a Chinese workforce can produce at a higher quality standard than laborers in the USA. I suppose he makes the big bucks by persuading North American consumers that even though their local production standards are inferior to the workers in Zhejiang province, woodworkers, employed and unemployed, still ought to place their trust in the Pony / Jorgensen brand. Because as every marketer knows when trust is lost, it can so hard to restore, here, here, here
If one thinks that praising the excellent quality of Chinese manufacturing doesn't play well given the legacy of, well, the recent history of low quality Chinese manufacturing, Lee Valley has formed a similar opinion.
|I sent an email to learn which one was authentic|
Famously, she signed her name! I now have a theory that misgendering is the reason that the a infamous airplane hijacker has never been found. D.B. Cooper was a woman!
Gregg: When and how was Pony Jorgensen founded?Bill: Pony Jorgensen was founded in 1903 by Adele Holman in Chicago, Illinois. A former professional opera singer, Adele envisioned a company that could grow through product innovation and woodworking tools with superior performance. But a woman running a manufacturing company was unheard of at the time, so Adele famously signed company documents and correspondences as “A. V. Holman” to hide her gender. She partnered with Hans Jorgensen, a Danish cabinetmaker, and Marcus Russ, a tool salesman. Adele’s pioneering spirit laid the groundwork for our company values.
|Androgynous hijacker or pre-op transwoman in need of cash|
When it comes to spinning their own corporate history, one big advantage is that most of the insightful documents are proprietary. It's even more advantageous if the biographic subjects are long dead and cannot contradict press releases from the marketing department. Adele V. Holman cannot, therefore, feel angry when it is insisted that her signature was written so as to hide her gender decades before the term, gender, became synonymous with sex identity. The new website goes out of its way to proclaim that they are continuing work now in the same spirit of this feminist pioneer.
Realizing the American dream.Our story began in 1903 when a small company opened up shop in Chicago, Illinois. Founder Adele Holman, a former professional opera singer, envisioned a company that could grow through product innovation, excellent customer service, and woodworking tools with superior performance. She partnered with Hans Jorgensen, a Danish cabinetmaker, and Marcus Russ, a tool salesman. It was an unlikely combination at the time, but it laid the foundation for the Pony Jorgensen brands that woodworkers have come to rely on for high-quality clamps.
So a former opera singer with a secret identity founded a manufacturing business that would a century later mythologize her contributions in a smarmy appeal to the zeitgeist, employing a reliable combination American business school ethics and Chinese state capitalism. Does any of this story sound fishy? What's that? You don't automatically believe the revisionist history run up the flagpole by marketing professionals from New Jersey? Fortunately a local Chicago historian, Andrew Clayman, put together a more objective version of the company's origin story.Adele’s secret identity and success.
A woman running a manufacturing company was unheard of in 1903. But that’s exactly what Adele Holman did. She famously signed company documents and correspondences as “A. V. Holman” to hide her gender. Under her leadership, the product line was expanded beyond the original handscrews to include iron clamping products, such as C-clamps and bar clamps, as well as the now-famous Pony pipe clamp. There’s no doubt that Adele’s pioneering spirit set the groundwork for our company values.
|From Opera houses to Shopfloors|
In any case, a little digging of my own revealed that the Adjustable Clamp Company's beginnings actually came a few years before Adele Holman's involvement, when Hans Jorgensen himself—inventor of our trusty hand screws—got the ball rolling in 1903. Jorgensen had his product and the skill to manufacture it, but he lacked the capital to start a business. This brought him into contact with an opportunistic Chicago lawyer named Marcus W. Russ, who agreed to fund the effort, serving as the first company president and sole salesman. In the early years, the whole operation ran out of one room, with a tiny staff of several workers hand-making each and every clamp. As demand increased, Russ purchased a separate manufacturing facility at 216 North Jefferson Street, with a half dozen employees making a still meager 300 clamps per week. It was around this time, in 1907, that a whirlwind of a woman named Adele Holman walked through Russ's door. It was literally music to the lawyer's ears.and elsewhere:
With her initial purchase of Adjustable Clamp Co. shares in 1907, she replaced Walter Caddock as secretary, and while Marcus Russ was technically still the president, Adele Holman immediately took charge.It might seem difficult to be a founder of a business four years after the business was founded, but as feminist scholars have pointed out: chronology is simply another tool of the patriarchy. By 1914 as the principal stockholder, it was easy for her to bring her son into the business. So while the Holman family line owes their wealth to a female progenitor, it has more to do with her stock purchases and managerial efforts than being a founder of the Adjustable Clamp Company.
|Closed in 2016|
From this insightful passage, I know that Ms. Adele Holman would deem managing a Chicago business from offices in New Jersey decidedly unproductive but as it is pointed out: "...she had virtually no previous business experience." I can only imagine what salty language she might use to describe management offices in Saddle Brook, New Jersey segregated from its factory floors in Hangzhou, China, P. R.With her initial purchase of Adjustable Clamp Co. shares in 1907, she replaced Walter Caddock as secretary, and while Marcus Russ was technically still the president, Adele Holman immediately took charge."Shortly after Mrs. Holman became secretary of the company," reported the Manufacturing and Wholesale Industries of Chicago, Vol. 3, "she decided that to insure the maximum success of the enterprise, the business office should no longer be segregated from the factory. [emphasis added] She accordingly set definitely to work to bring about an orderly and progressive administration of affairs, though she had virtually no previous business experience. She established her executive headquarters at the factory and by her careful and discriminating methods evolved order out of chaotic conditions."
Zhunian kuaile o! 豬年快樂喔 🐷🐷🐖🐖