While studying engineering in the 1970s, Jim spent a fair amount of time working in bicycle shops in Arizona. He experienced many situations where a specific tool would have made the process simpler and easier, but at the time, these tools just did not exist. He began creating some rather crude but effective tools for his own use while working on the bikes of the day.
After earning his engineering degree, he embarked on a career building government projects — a world apart from working on bicycles! Fast forward a few years, to a chance meeting with Phil Wood (www.PhilWood.com). Jim showed Phil a tool he had made that screwed onto a freewheel and simply injected grease — namely Phil grease — into the bearings, thereby ejecting the old sludge. This item was a big hit and sold Phil quite a bit of grease. But, more importantly, it was the beginning of a long-lasting relationship with Phil Wood and Don Milburger that lasted more than 20 years.
Following this, Jim resurrected another tool from his bike shop days that would secure the old flat wrenches that were used for installing and removing fixed cups from bike frames. With a little design and development, the Fixed Cup Clamp was born. For years it was simply known as the “Stein Tool” in bike shops, and it saved many knuckles.
Since these early beginnings, the J. A. Stein Company has designed, manufactured, and sold many useful tools for bicycle mechanics in countries all over the world. All Stein tools are made in the U.S., using only the highest quality materials — nearly all are still manufactured in the original machine shop in Prescott, Arizona. Designs are updated and improved constantly, as most of the items are small lot production.