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History

In 1984 David Broomhead bought a company his father had worked in for 40 years and Air Tools and Equipment was born. Based in Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, Air Tools and Equipment are New Zealand Distributors for top international brands, Desoutter, ARO, Suhner and Ingersoll-Rand Air Tools.

But the story of company doesn’t start in 1984. To understand how Air Tools and Equipment got to where they are today, we must go back to World War One.
 
The story of air tools began when English Aviator Marcel Desoutter, lost his leg in an aeroplane accident. With the help of his brother Charles, an aeronautical engineer, the first aluminum prosthesis was made for Marcel. To make the hinge for the prosthesis, Charles had to invent a tool that would do the job. From their Baker Street workshop in London, the Desoutter brothers went on to develop tools for the aircraft industry and around the late 1920’s produced their first electric drill.
 
This tool revolutionized the aircraft industry and was also widely used in the automotive industry. In 1934 a New Zealand based company, de Pelichet and McLeod heard about the drill and wanted to purchase one for their garage.
 
This is where David’s father, Jack, comes into the story. Desoutter said they could not send just one, but would send them 12 and so the association with Desoutter began.
 
Jack worked as a mechanic at DPM for 40 years and worked with Desoutter tools most of his working life. He knew the tools and he knew the business.
 
When the opportunity came up to buy the engineering part of the company, David Broomhead and a business partner decided to take the plunge.
 
David explains
“I can remember it clearly. Two weeks after we took over the business the 1984 Labour Government was elected and I guess you could say my introduction to business was more like a baptism of fire. Interest Rates and the New Zealand Dollar went through the roof and Rogernomics began in earnest. Still we got through those times.”
 
At this stage, Air Tools and Equipment were only distributors of Desoutter and de soutter Medical products. In 1994 this changed.
 
“Desoutter International was taken over and we felt we needed to have a back-up.”
 
Through some American contacts, Air Tools and Equipment became New Zealand distributors for Ingersoll-Rand, while still maintaining their distribution network for Desoutter products.
 
Air Tool and Equipment’s client base is diverse and includes manufacturing, medical equipment, automotive, construction and aerospace industries. Air Tools and Equipment has the knowledge and experience that comes from over 50 years in and around the air tool business.
 
Now Air Tools and Equipment have a staff of 10 and sell to customers either directly or through their network of nationwide distributors.
 
Like the Desoutter Brothers in 1912, finding engineering solutions, is what Air Tools and Equipment does best.
 
Contact us today for all your Air Tool and Equipment needs.