A pub quiz history of Milwaukee

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Milwaukee are by far and away, one of the largest power tool manufacturers in the world. They may not be widely used in the UK, but ‘Team Red’ are, in many cases, performing above many ‘name-stays’ of the industry such as Makita and Dewalt.

And it’s not difficult to see why when you begin to look through their history. Milwaukee has maintained the same ethos since its founding; to produce the best heavy-duty electric power tools and accessories to the professional user. Today, owing a Milwaukee tool means that you know that you will have the highest quality, durable and reliable tool that you can get your hands on.

Charting its history all the back to the end of the First World War, Milwaukee Tools is one of the largest manufacturer of corded and cordless power tools for professional users.


In 1918, at the request of Henry Ford, A.H. Petersen was able to design its first “lightweight portable, one-handed 1/4″ capacity drill”. Weighing only 2.26kg/5lb, the “Hole-Shooter” was lighter than any of its competitive counterparts at the time. The demand for the “Hole-Shooter” was phenomenal. In 1922, Petersen was joined by A.F. Siebert.

(Flip book from archive.org)

However, a devastating fire destroyed their production facility. Unable to deal with the setback, the company was bought at auction by Siebert in 1924 to fully develop sales of the Hole-Shooter as the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp.

In the years that followed, Milwaukee continued to develop and improving its tool range. They defined a new standard of quality that outmatched the requirements of the US government. Before long, began building tools to the specifications and requirements of the US Navy; electric sanders, polishers, electric hammer, portable hand grinder and drills were made to the Navy’s requirements


Milwaukee Hole Shooters

(Image from warmemorialcenter.org)

During the Second World War, Milwaukee’s Hole-Shooter was used extensively to make airplanes and saw a surge in technological advancements. This included more powerful motors, mounting shafts on ball and roller bearings and through more dynamic balancing.

The late 1940’s and early 1950’s saw massive developments within Milwaukee’s tool range with new versions of sanders/grinders and circular saws that offered smoother running, ½” right-angle drill, and the Sawzall Reciprocating Saw – the first portable hacksaw incorporating a reciprocating mechanism, it had just three moving parts and was designed to withstand daily abuse and still provide a 3/4” stroke ideal for sawing and roughing out.


Milwaukee HQ Wisconsin

The 1960s and 1970s were good years for Milwaukee, and resulted in expansion of both manufacturing facilities and product lines. In 1965, the company moved from its State Street location, in the City of Milwaukee, to its modern 212,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Most recently, Milwaukee has led the way in power tool innovation through the use and development of new technologies such as being the first to use lithium-ion batteries in its line of cordless tools, and in 2008 developed Ice-Hardened strengthening technology for its accessories.


Milwaukee Full Range 2021

Today, Milwaukee maintains both its standards and its ethos in the popular ranges its produces; in particular the M12 12V cordless power tools as well as the M18 18V range of cordless power tools. And its not just power tools they produce. With an extensive range of hand tools, storage solutions, gardening equipment, workwear and personal protective equipment; Milwaukee Tools are the choice of both professionals and enthusiasts around the world.


  • In the 1930’s, Milwaukee’s tool standards exceeded the requirements of the US government and as such, became the supplier of choice for the US Navy.
  • In 1965, due to the demands of expansion, they moved from the city of Milwaukee (hence the name) to a 212,000- sq-ft facility in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
  • In the 1970’s, they were the first company to design a drill specifically for large hole drilling between studs and joints in home construction. It was called the Hole Hawg.
  • They were the first company in the world to introduce a ½”, right angled drill for plumbers and electricians to work in awkward spaces. It could drill 9/16” diameter holes in wood with a self-feed bit and 1/2” diameter holes in steel.
  • A name that they still use today, they were the first company to introduce a reciprocating saw, name the Sawzall in 1951. It was the first portable hacksaw incorporating a reciprocating mechanism, had just three moving parts and was designed to withstand daily abuse and still provide a 3/4” stroke.
  • Many of their tools incorporate exclusive technologies all for your benefit. The POWERSTATE Brushless motor helps maintaining the tool and ensures a longer operational life; the REDLITHIUM Battery packs which provide exceptional power for longer; and the REDLINK PLUS overload protection – maximising the power you need when you need it. When combined together, these products are called Milwaukee FUEL.

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