The dictionary defines tradition as: “the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice...”. That in a nut shell best describes the 100 year history of the Fanno Saw Works. Being the latest of a three generation family business, we have a philosophy that has been instilled in us. That is to treat the customer like we would want to be treated, offer a product that possesses only quality materials and is made to the highest quality standards, and to take pride in our reputation for quality pruning and utility saws.
Our founder, A. A. Fanno, was a man of tremendous common sense and possessed the talent of a craftsman. His early years were spent learning his trade as a boat builder and carpenter in the northwest. Later his skills moved him to California to work on the river barges. Around the turn of the century he settled in the Chico area and became the owner/operator of a local retail housewares business. His interests later moved to the area of agriculture when he bought an almond orchard.
Around the time he purchased the orchard, he developed his first pole saw to remove limbs high in the trees from the ground. From these first pole saws, many designs later emerged.
The development of the “Fanno” tooth design takes us back to our company's beginnings. The key feature of the design is the strength of the cutting edge. Also, the heel of the tooth forms an open mouth, referred to as the “gullet”. These features give the saw a faster cut that doesn't bind in green wood, and allows it to stay sharp longer in hardwoods.
The tooth design was not the only innovation. The blade's curved edge enabled the cutting teeth to work at their optimum. The blade's curve allows the user to maximize the cutting effectiveness of the downward stroke, or pull, of the tool. Our first tool, the pole saw, was a product of this design.
The early saws were hand-cut out of broken band saw blades that were obtained from lumber mills in the area. The teeth were punched out by a hand tool and then hand-filed.
The first marketing of the “Fanno” saws consisted of grandfather and father putting saws in the trunk of the car and calling on growers and retailers in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. The bulk of the advertising effort for Fanno Saws was word-of-mouth. The innovative design and dependability of the tool became common knowledge along the west coast. Eventually the popularity of the tools spread to government agencies. Right-of-way maintenance, parks and recreation, and utility companies grabbed these tools up.
In the 1940's, we were requested to develop a saw that could be carried like a pocket knife. We designed six models of folding saws that found instant acceptance in orchards, vineyards, nurseries, campsites, backyards, and parks.
Around 1949 the leadership of Fanno Saws transferred to A.A.'s son Carl Fanno. His personality enabled the business to move from a small locally based operation to that of a manufacturing / marketing company. His first contributions were in updating manufacturing processes, and his main strength setting up the distribution network. His ease-of-manner and respect of people were traits that customers readily accepted.
To this day, we encounter people that remember the friendships that were established 40 years ago. The early networking rewarded us with some important contacts. From our exposure to tree-care professionals and our affiliation with the tree-care associations, we developed, designed, and manufactured saws for companies like Davey Tree Expert Co., Pacific Gas and Electric and Bell Laboratories (the early phone system supplier).
The real strength in our operation continues to be focusing on the needs of the tool user. We are not just trying to sell a tool, but take suggestions from the professional users, and utilize our expertise to turn their ideas into actual tools. We meet a wide range of specialized needs—from the pruning of fruit and nut trees from ground level, to developing prototype saws for survival kits; from working atop utility poles, to gardeners fussing with prize roses.
We endeavor to be the specialist in an industry of generalities. We are proud of our quality and cherish our reputation of service and dependability, with 100 years of history in this business. Our desire to continue the tradition motivated us to get involved. Our dedicated staff of loyal employees continue to offer tools of the highest quality and dependability—we make sure that it's done right! This is especially true when we are introducing a new tool or service.
A few years back we added a new section to our marketing effort. Due to the fact that we started to produce a tool that was not 100% manufactured by Fanno Saw Works here in the U.S.A., we wanted our customers to be informed of this. Fanno-International is the designation that we give to those tools that meet this criteria. Fanno Saw is definitely aware of the world marketplace and is always on the lookout for products that meet our rigid standards to offer to our loyal customers.
The years ahead will bring us new technologies in the area of tree-care, however we cannot lose sight of the need for quality products. A superior hand tool in the hands of a trained professional will always be the best combination for the health of our urban forests.