My Craftsman flex handle (breaker bar) was made in the '60s. Still good,
but I wanted a longer one. I chose a Chinese import. Both are 1/2 inch
When compared, the Chinese tool is very well made, appearance wise. It is
smooth, polished, and has a rubber grip on the handle end. The old
Craftsman is a rough, all metal, "ugly stick."
There is a notable difference in design philosophy, however. The new
Chinese design is cylinderical of uniform section from the drive end to the
handle. In contrast, the Craftsman is a tapered "I" beam, being of larger
section at the drive end and narrowing until the handle where the forging
has been flattened to form a suitable handle. It is clear that the
American-made Craftsman was more intelligently designed for function. Its
tapered I-beam configuration provides a higher strength-to-weight ratio due
its more efficient use of material than is the case of a plain cylinder.
Obviously the designer of the Craftsman flex handle took into consideration
direction and magnitude of applied force and used formulae to calculate the
optimum shape. The Chinese tool is less elegantly designed, though better
executed in fabrication.
The point of this post is Americans are no dummies and the Chinese are not
supermen. If you are shopping for price, pick the Chinese stuff;
otherwise, you are better buying American-made goods.