When Joe Sunnen and his wife, Cornelia, took his fledgling business on the road in 1924 to sell his valve lifter tools from the back of a converted 1916 Hupmobile, the couple had little more than some camping gear, $10 and a spirit to succeed. It was that innovative spirit that proved to be the Sunnens’ greatest asset.
One of the first Sunnen products was the manual cylinder hone which was introduced in 1928 by Joe Sunnen. This product was used first by garages to “touch-up” cylinders when they put in new rings. And where cylinders were resized by boring, the hand hone was used just as a finishing operation. An improved version of the original portable hone is still widely used for automotive and industrial applications.
Joe and Cornelia Sunnen’s vision is still alive and well at Sunnen Product Company, which has grown from its humble beginnings to become the largest integrated precision bore sizing company in the industry. Worldwide, Sunnen employs more than 800 and, with a home base in the heart of the United States, has facilities in Switzerland, Italy, the UK, France, Poland, Russia and China.
The Sunnens on the road c. 1920's
The Sunnen headquarters sits upon a hill just above the original Route 66.
Mr. Joe Sunnen
The Sunnen sign on the south side of Manchester just east of Hanley.