Estwing - 100 Years of Strike Tools

Estwing is a brand name synonymous in various trades and professions. Known for premium quality, tough build, precision strike tools made from the finest American steel. A hammer used by brick layers, roofers, axes used by lumber jacks and outdoors folk. Pry bars and sledge hammers in demolition. But among the mining and mineral exploration. Estwing hammers have become symbolic of geologists, the world over. Whether it’s a chisel edge hammer, a pointed rock pick, a leather handle model and so on. All geos have at some point used, or still use Estwing branded hammers to this day. It’s no wonder the brand is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year, 2023!  

Ernest Otto Estwing – The Founder


Ernest Otto Estwing, (right), established Estwing Manufacturing way back in 1923. Ernest Otto Estwing was born in Öland, Sweden in 1885 and emigrated to the United States when he was 16. At 21, Ernest married Hulda Svenson before moving to the Eastcoast to work as a type writter repair man. Both however moved back to Rockford, IL in 1918. Ever the enterprising man and self taught engineer. Ernest often came up with various new ideas, including a self loading shot gun. He however, noted limitations on the market for various strike tools and their wooden handles. So, in 1923, he established Estwing Manufacturing Company in Rockford in 1923. His goal was to build the finest hand tools the world had ever known.

Ernest Otto Estwing. (courtesy of Estwing Mfg).
Estwing hammer head
Estwing Head and Handle -(courtesy of



Estwings most well known innovation was that of the single of piece of steel construction. Many strike tools on the market, even to this day utilise a two piece format. That being the handle, (shaft) and the head. The head is often secure with wedges if the handle is wooden or by resin or epoxy if it is steel or other material. This however, is a potential weak point. Especially in surveying, trade and industrial use, where a tool could be used for house on end through out the day.

In 1925, after advertising in a trade journal, Estwing received a surprising number of orders for his product. This led to interest from investors. And so, Estwing proceeded to open its first factory. 

Geological Tools


The unquestioned tool of choice for geological digs across the globe, Estwing rock picks, chisel edge hammers and accessories are precise, lightweight and engineered to withstand heavy use and extreme conditions. The patented Shock Reduction Grip® minimizes vibration and maximizes comfort while out in the field.


Many a geologist will often be found sporting the now famous, easy to identify. Blue grip hammers with a solid, singled forged shaft and head. In addition, some more keen on the antique look, will casually be holding leather bound rock picks. 


Estwing design process has lent it’s self completely to geological field work the world over. Often during early stage mineral exploration projects. Providing users the ability to chip, chisel, pulverise, pry, split or extract all manner of rocks, minerals, fossils, gemstones and crystals in the field. 

Estwing E30-SE promotional Image (courtesy, Estwing mgf).

It comes as no surprise then, that after 100 years. The unique process and methods Ernest utilised in 1923 are still used in Estwings manufacturing processes today. 


Situated in Rockford, Illinois, the company has remained where it’s roots are, investing in the local community, keep their ear to the ground. And to this day, discuss requirements with everyday users. It is no wonder that they are viewed as the number 1, go to, strike tool manufacturer the world over. 


Axial Exploration and Drilling Supplies Ltd and many of it’s team, as well as our friends in construction and trade have a long history with the brand, and we will continue to do so into the future.

After an Estwing of your own? Click below to view our range!

Product images, promotional images, company images belong to Estwing Manufacturing Co. Rockford, Illinois. 

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Caitlin Palmer – Axial Exploration and Drilling Supplies Content Creator.