Milestones: Draper Tools at 100 - competitions, charities and a new catalogue

Draper Tools is marking a century in the tool business with the release of its new centenary catalogue in a fitting tribute to Joan Draper, who single-handedly typed the first version over 60 years ago.

Draper Tools was first started in 1919 when the founder, Bert Draper, sold government surplus and tools in markets around the Kingston upon Thames area. At this time, it was known as B. Draper & Son Limited.

As well as selling its own brand of tools, the company was also a quality engineers merchant and tool wholesaler, selling brands that are well known today, such as Britool, King Dick and Elliott Lucas.

Today the business is still family owned and run by the third and fourth generation of the Draper family. At 100 years old, the company remains as committed to growth and innovation as ever, having recently made a number of investments as a business, as well as several improvements at its head office facility.

The Draper brand as it is known today really began to take shape in the 1960s. Bert Draper passed away in 1963 and control of the Company passed to his son, Norman. This was a key time for Draper Tools and saw the company relocating from Kingston Upon Thames to its current premises in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire. This site has been added to considerably since its purchase and has now reached a size of over 500,000 sq ft2. Draper also purchased a second warehouse facility in the county in 2006, with work completed three years later.

2017 saw one of Draper Tools largest product launches to-date; its new socketry range which featured over 600 new products. A year later came several further launches including a new range of engine timing tools and the Storm Force 20v Interchange power tools series. Plans are afoot for a year-long celebration of the company’s 100-year anniversary in 2019, with exclusive promotions, competitions, charity fundraising and a staff party all in the pipeline. Each month there will be special edition centenary products launched with deals on top products including trolley jacks, pressure washers, socket sets, spanner sets and more.

April this year saw the launch of the brand’s new centenary edition catalogue. The company’s first ever typewritten catalogue was produced, almost single-handedly, by Joan Draper, wife of former Chairman, Norman, in 1953. Joan passed away in 1999, and the staff at Draper Tools believe the new centenary catalogue to be a fitting tribute to her legacy.

Furthermore, Draper is currently supporting the charity Care for Veterans in 2019, also celebrating its centenary this year, raising funds for disabled ex-servicemen and women from the RAF, Army, Royal Navy and auxiliary services.

Current Chairman of Draper Tools, John Draper, comments: “We are proud to have reached this important milestone in our company history and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped us get here. Although we have grown a lot over the last century, we still like to think of ourselves as a no-nonsense, customer-focused tool supplier.

“Quality and reliability are still very much at the heart of the business and this will continue as we progress and grow into 2019 and beyond.”

Catch up with our Milestones series here.