Hammers from the Heavens

Company News

Ancient Norse mythology holds that Thor, son of Odin and God of Thunder, wielded the most extraordinary hammer ever made: Mjӧlnir, a throwing hammer that always sped directly to its mark then rebounded right back to Thor’s hand.

For over a century the Thor Hammer Company Ltd. has specialized in the manufacturing of top quality, non-destructive hammers, and mallets in the tradition of excellence set by the fabled Mjӧlnir. The company’s roots trace back to 1910 when the Birmingham Belting Company Ltd. was founded by the Stephens family in Birmingham, England. Birmingham Belting manufactured flexible drive belts for use in cotton mills and multiple other essential industrial applications. At this time only a small section of the company was involved in the production of rawhide hammers and mallets.

In 1935 Walter Stephens decided to move the hammer and mallet section to separate premises in the Snow Hill region of Birmingham. Stepping away from the belting operation allowed Walter to concentrate his efforts on further developing the Thor Hammer Company. Within a year new products were launched, one of the most popular being a copper-rawhide hammer which had an iron head fitted with one copper face and one rawhide face. Thor’s innovations impressed local car manufacturer SS Cars (renamed Jaguar in 1945) and the decision was made to include a copper-rawhide hammer in the toolkit for each car they made.

Demand for Thor hammers continued to grow during WWII, as the British government used Thor products in the construction of temporary “Bailey” bridges and in the repair of tanks and other military equipment. Engineers were able to construct bridges and carry out repairs quickly and safely, all done in relative silence thanks to the innovative design of Thor hammers. Engineers from all over the world began to appreciate the unique benefits of Thor hammers and consequently continued to use Thor products after they returned home from the war. To this day the copper-rawhide hammer remains the most popular Thor hammer.

Developments in the production of plastic materials during the 1940s led to the introduction of a line of modern plastic hammers with faces that could be replaced by hand. The company relocated to Shirley–its current location on the outskirts of Birmingham–in the 1950s. Subsequent decades saw the introduction of even more products including hard-wearing nylon hammers, dead blow hammers as well as both solid copper and brass mallets. The Thor line now comprises over 150 different types of soft-faced hammers and mallets.

Today, Thor exports nearly 50% of its production to more than 80 countries around the world and has become the world’s largest manufacturer dedicated to the production of non-destructive, soft-faced hammers and mallets. Thor remains a family company to this day and has been managed by three generations of the Stephens family. Walter Stephens became Chairman after appointing his son Michael to the role of Managing Director in 1966. Years later Michael’s son Duncan also joined the family business.

Anglo American Tools has been the sales representative and exclusive distributor for the Thor line in the United States since the 1970s. While more information on Thor soft-faced hammers and mallets is available on our website (www.angloamericantools.com), please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions that you may have (856-784-8600 or [email protected]).

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