The Vlchek Tool Company was a large and important manufacturer of automotive tools. As a small boy, in Bohemia, Frank J Vlchek read a book in which the hero was a blacksmith. This book formed the foundation for his life’s work. Frank served a three-year apprenticeship under the local blacksmith when he was 12. He worked at the Werndel gun factory from 1885 to 1887 and then spent two years making surgical instruments. Frank immigrated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1889 to be with his sister.
Frank worked as a blacksmith in Cleveland from 1889 till 1894. He was finally able to set up his own shop in 1894. The business moved a few times seeking larger quarters and a better neighborhood. He was also an avid reader and kept up on changes in technology. The time was right to drop the blacksmith trade and concentrate on automotive tools.
The Vlchek Tool Company was formed in 1894-1895 and incorporated in 1909. The company became known for automotive tool kits. Almost every new car came with a tool kit and the majority were supplied by VTC. Plastic handles were introduced in 1938 to prevent electrical shock. This led to a separate company in Middlefield, Ohio. The tool company was sold to Pendelton Tool Industries in 1959 and acquired by Ingersol-Rand in 1964.
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