The TRUE TEMPER CORP., a major manufacturer of hand tools, began as the American Fork & Hoe when 17 tool-making firms merged in 1902. Although incorporated in New Jersey, the company had its general offices in the Keith Bldg. at 1623 Euclid, and in 1910 it was reincorporated in Ohio. When the company was enlarged by a $20 million merger of small corporations by 1930, it became the largest hand-tool company in America, supplying about 90% of the hand tools used by U.S. farmers.
Although American Fork & Hoe retained general offices in Cleveland, its manufacturing plants were in Geneva and Ashtabula, OH. The Geneva plant made rakes and pitchforks and developed a tubular fishing rod, a golf-club shaft, and ski poles. The Ashtabula plant produced forged components, and during World War II manufactured steel shell casings and a newly designed bayonet. AF&H changed its name to True Temper Corp. in 1949 to reflect the anticipated growth of its residential sales in the postwar period. In the late 1950s, True Temper and other major tool and sports equipment manufacturers were convicted of fixing hand-tool prices and 2 True Temper executives and 7 others were given 90 day jail sentences--a first in American corporate history. In the 1960s the company began a program of consolidation, closing the Ashtabula plant, centralizing the Geneva plant, and building a major new 88-acre $3.5 million plant in nearby Saybrook, OH. In 1970 its Northeast Ohio operations employed some 1,100 workers. True Temper was acquired by Allegheny-Ludlum Steel Co. of Pittsburgh in 1967 and in 1981, after the company was divided into True Temper Hardware and True Temper Sports, its headquarters were moved from Cleveland to Pittsburgh.