Klein Tools - For Professionals Since 1857

Klein Snapshot: October 9

Posted on:October 9, 2020

Every month in 2020, we’ll be brining you a Klein Timeline Snapshot: a look back in time at a specific year, looking at what the world was like in said year, and what was happening with Klein Tools.

This month’s year: 1871

-Oranges - $.50 per dozen
-Socks - $1.00 for 6 pairs
-Cookstove - $25

What was happening in the world: Oct. 8, 1871, is an infamous day in history – the day the Chicago Fire started. Starting in Catherin O’Leary’s cow barn near 12th St. and Halsted, this fire lasted multiple days and was the most destructive fire in U.S. history. Given that most of the city was built of wood, the fire was intense and sweeping, quickly moving throughout the whole of Chicago. After all was said and done, the fire destroyed $200 million worth of property (equal to over $4.2 billion today), killed almost 300 people and left 90,000 Chicagoans homeless.

What was happening with Klein Tools: The Chicago Fire had a direct result on Mathias Klein’s up-and-coming company. At the time, M. Klein Ironworks, as it was called, had a forge located at 237-239 Dearborn St. When the fire took over, the entire site of the forge was engulfed and burned to the ground – along with most of the city. Mathias Klein was among the men who helped to rebuild not only his own business but the city as a whole. Two weeks after the fire, he began to work in temporary quarters on Dearborn, and eventually built a permanent shop to continue his business. His ability to rebound so quickly after the devastating fire allowed the company to support the fervent construction across the city. The city’s reconstruction yielded an enormous amount of work for the company, which paved the way for growth and evolution into the brand we know as Klein Tools today.

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