Do you ever wonder where that Pulaski that you carried for that 16-hour shift came from? Many of them are made by the Council Tool Company in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina. Council has contracts with many government agencies, including the federal government’s General Services Administration, to supply tools to their wildland firefighters.
Here are some excerpts from an interesting article at starnewsonline.com about the company.
Made in America – every bit of it. And in Lake Waccamaw, N.C.
And by the same Columbus County family for 125 years.
Council Tool Co. doesn’t make what most would consider sexy products. But they are sexy enough to have appeared on national television – namely, on an episode of the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels”, “The History of the Ax.”
Customers W.S. Darley and Forestry Suppliers go back to 1940, and Monroe Hardware of Morrisville goes back to the 1920s, Pickett said.
But other Council customers and markets have changed over the decades.
During 20 of the 30 years John Council has been at the plant, “we were in what we call the hardware business. We made a product that ended up in a retail hardware setting.”
Ten to 15 years ago, retail was 60 percent to 70 percent of Council Tool’s revenue, John said, and now it’s less than 5 percent.
Today, nearly half of its products are for fire-fighting and law-enforcement uses.
The company will design and manufacture tools under its own brand, but a big part of the business has been making products that are branded by other companies.
“We make stuff for Fortune 500 companies, for small companies that would equip a fire truck, or for companies that sell to the military, into that kind of world,” John said. “And they know the exact the specifications, what they want, and they expect us to be discreet.
The company needs to keep a low profile, Margo said. No tours, no visitors, they emphasized. And, they don’t sell the axes from their plant.
“It’s one of the reasons we’re here and that includes visibility and being discreet about who we make things for,” Pickett said.
There’s nothing discreet, however, about how the products are used.
The axes and forced-entry tools aren’t light, but they still are carried by the firefighter.
Most of Council’s products are made for the American market, but export “is a small but growing aspect of what we do,” Margo said. “We tend to export wildland fire fighting tools, and there is demand for that all over the globe. We shipped to 17 foreign companies.”
Some European companies have been producing and marketing axes to the high-end American market. Now Council has gotten into that game.
“We’re coming out with these premium lines of tools,” Margo said. “We have the first one almost ready to ship – a 4-pound Dayton that is known as a workhorse,” she said, referring to an engraved ax on the table next to a special carrying box.
The ax is made from an existing pattern but with special alloy and a special handle – a throwback to something you might have bought in the ‘20s.
It’s trademarked Velvicut, and costs $169.95.