Lisle Corporation will celebrate the company's founding and 100 years of continuous manufacturing in Clarinda, Iowa in 2003. The privately owned company is led today by third, fourth and fifth generation family members.
C.A. Lisle started the company in 1903 with the first product being horse-powered water well drilling machines. To combat the seasonality of the well drilling business, the young company branched out and also manufactured washing machines, cream separators, and push-type reel lawn mowers.
In the mid-20s, Lisle Corporation made its first automotive product, a master ignition vibrator for Ford Model T vehicles. The first Lisle tool, a valve refacer, fast became a repair shop must since valves were reground every 20,000 miles at that time.
In the 1930s the magnetic drain plug line was launched. The line grew steadily and Lisle plugs were used extensively in many pieces of military equipment during World War II. The company was subsequently awarded the Army/Navy E Award for manufacturing excellence in supporting the war effort.
In the post-war 50s, the automotive aftermarket boomed and demand for specialty automotive tools increased. Lisle Corporation made the decision then to grow the company by introducing new tools that could be made in the company's own factory, thereby controlling quality, delivery and costs.
Then a line of mechanic's garage creepers was added through acquisition. The line still is sold today under the Jeepers Creepers brand name.
At this time private label business began to grow. This portion of the business thrives on today. Tools manufactured by Lisle Corporation can be found private labeled under many of the leading tool and automotive part brand names available in the marketplace.
The company has branched out even more in the last decades through acquisitions and constant innovation of new products. Today, Lisle specialty automotive tools, mechanic's creepers, and lubrication & tire products are the preferred line among automotive warehouse distributors and jobbers because Lisle manufactures quality products that are priced right. The specialty automotive tool line now consists of more than 400 products, with the great majority of them being produced at the expanded site of the original factory built in Clarinda, Iowa in 1903.