Obituary: Arnold Kammerling (1935 – 2024)

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Carl Kammerling International are sad to announce that Arnold Kammerling, former Chairman and Managing Director of Carl Kammerling International (CKI), passed away on 29th January 2024 at 88 years of age. He was the last surviving family member of his generation.

Arnold joined CKI, the home of C.K Tools, in 1956 and played a pivotal role in transforming the business from a general hardware tool supplier to owner and supplier of the leading premium tool brand for professionals and electricians it has become today.

CKI was founded by the Kammerling family in Germany in 1904 and has been at the forefront of hand tool manufacturing for over 100 years. Arnold was born in Wuppertal in 1935 and faced adversity during World War 2 when his home and the family business were decimated by an RAF bombing raid. Arnold’s family relocated to Pwllheli in Wales in 1950 when he was just fifteen years old, establishing the company’s global headquarters there.

Arnold studied at The London School of Economics and decided at a young age to dedicate his career to C.K Tools, starting at the business as an apprentice and taking over the reins on his father’s death at only 32 years of age; he remained an instrumental figure in the company beyond his retirement in 2020. 

Committed to the company’s growth, Arnold was the driving force in establishing ‘Ceka Works’, as it was originally known, as a leading hand tool provider to independent retailers throughout Europe. Passionate about driving quality and innovation, Arnold helped to shape the company’s reputation for engineering excellence.

Under his stewardship, the company expanded from a six-person enterprise to Pwllheli’s largest private employer, with a workforce of 120 and with its products sold to over 20,000 stockists in over 40 countries across the globe.

Arnold was passionate about producing high-quality, durable products and coined the original ‘Friend for Life’ strapline C.K Tools was known for, conveying his firm belief that ‘recollection of quality remains long after the price has been forgotten’.

In 1993 Arnold was awarded an MBE for his contributions to Welsh industry and the region’s economic prosperity. He was further celebrated in 2004, receiving the prestigious Businessperson of the Year accolade at the Daily Post’s Achievement Wales Awards.

Arnold remained connected to his German roots throughout his life and will be laid to rest in his hometown of Wuppertal. 

Known for his kindness, gentleness, dignity and hard work, he leaves behind a legacy which will be cherished by his five children and five grandchildren, as well as his industry peers, colleagues and the local community of Pwllheli.

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