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Dremel: From Rotary Tools to Versatile Tool Systems

Dremel 8200
Back in 1932 Albert J. Dremel didn’t just start a company with that first electric razor blade sharpener. He started a tradition of producing ingenious tools that meet customers’ evolving needs. To view a timeline that gives a big-picture idea of how Dremel products have evolved to keep pace with the changing world,
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MT. PROSPECT, Ill. – Trusted by Makers, tinkerers, artists and hobbyists for more than 80 years, the Dremel® brand has become one of the most widely known names in the tool industry. Based in Mt. Prospect, Ill., Dremel leadership in tool design and manufacturing has made its rotary tools the top-sellers in the world, a reflection of the company’s commitment to innovation and quality. The Dremel product line has grown to expand upon its core corded and cordless rotary tool models that rely on attachments and accessories to add to the products’ versatility and flexibility, to include other versatile tool systems that also use a variety of accessories such as oscillating tools and the Dremel Trio.

The Man Behind the Brand

Albert J. Dremel came to America in 1906 as a young and penniless Austrian immigrant with a head filled with innovative ideas and an intuitively adept mechanical aptitude. Throughout his lifetime, Dremel was awarded a staggering 55 patents for his inventions including the original gasoline-powered walk-behind lawn mower, a razor blade sharpener and the design for a small-scale die grinder.

After a brief retirement from his career as an engineering designer, Albert Dremel grew restless and founded Dremel Manufacturing Co. in Racine, Wis., in 1932. Albert’s premier product was the electric razor blade sharpener, which was so successful that it forced razor blade producers to cut their prices in half, ultimately eliminating the need for the device.

Without a booming product for his fledgling company, Albert Dremel moved quickly to design a new electric appliance that was more versatile than the single-use blade sharpener – a hand-held, high-speed tool he dubbed the Moto-Tool. The versatile new tool appealed to craftsmen and hobbyists alike.

It was compact, flexible and high-speed, offering an alternative to large, bulky power tools. The Moto-Tool was a great problem-solver, and proved to be the ultimate problem solver for Dremel – it established the revolutionary new industry of rotary tools and put Dremel Manufacturing Co. on the map.  The new tool was so popular and useful, it was used during World War II to aid in the Allied victory. Seeing the success of his company, Albert passed away July 18, 1968.

A Look Back at Dremel

With his new company, A.J. Dremel started a tradition of producing ingenious tools that meet customers’ evolving needs. The brand has continued to refine the rotary tool ever since, and has debuted rotary products including the Dremel Moto-Shop Jig Saw (1957), the Dremel Electric Engraver (1964), the Dremel Heavy-Duty Flex Shaft Tool (1990), the Dremel Advantage High-Speed Rotary Saw (2001), the Dremel 10.8-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless (2003), the cordless Dremel Stylus (2006), the Dremel 4000 (2009) and the cordless Dremel 8200 (2010).

Products, Innovations and Consumers

In 1973, Dremel Manufacturing Co. was acquired by Emerson Electric, which brought additional depth to its management, engineering and manufacturing. With new resources available, the Dremel brand was able to expand its portfolio with new products including a compact table saw and a multi-use disc/belt sander. The Dremel brand was also able to modernize its manufacturing process to better meet customers’ needs.

In 1993, the Dremel brand was purchased by the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation, joining the ranks of other tool industry leaders including Bosch®, Skil® and Vermont American®. Dremel brand products are designed by a dedicated engineering and design team located in Mount Prospect, Ill. In addition to its rotary tool line, the Dremel brand is always expanding its reach with specialty tools. In recent years, such tools include the Dremel Glue Gun (2006), Dremel WorkStation (2006) Dremel Driver (2007) and Dremel Trio (2010).

In 2008, the Dremel brand made a bold leap into the oscillating tool market with the Dremel Multi-Max tool and a line of oscillating accessories. Previously dominated by a single competitor, Dremel is now a leader in the oscillating market with an expanded accessory line and a corded and cordless Dremel Multi-Max (2010).

Today, the Dremel brand has earned a reputation for quality and performance among do-it-yourselfers, professionals and hobbyists. Dremel tools are seen as the perfect solution to many of life’s everyday chores and challenges, as well as the go-to tool for crafters and hobbyists. Dremel tool loyalists run the gamut from woodworkers and locksmiths to auto mechanics and dental lab technicians.

As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation in Mount Prospect, Ill., the Dremel brand continues to build upon this legacy with a full line of high-performance rotary tools, oscillating tools, specialty tools, accessories and attachments, delivering the perfect solution for almost any job. 

Dremel products are distributed worldwide through hardware stores, home centers, hobby shops, online retailers and industrial tool wholesalers. To date, the Dremel brand estimates that it has sold more than 40 million rotary tools worldwide.

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Editor’s Note: Dremel® is a registered brand name and is used as an adjective to describe the products made by the Dremel brand.


Kelly Karcz, JSH&A Communications

John Hauter, Dremel