mid to premium quality tools often/usually sell at a mid to premium price because of the brand name (and sometimes the guarantee) rather than known and proven attributes per se. Most of the big brands don't even make everything they sell; Facom sockets made in Taiwan are a case in point. When you buy a Snap-On branded tool it may be something that Snap-On make themselves or it may be something that is made for Snap-On by a third party. The same can be said for lots of other tool brands. In fact some brands only
sell third party-made tools; for example Draper branded tools are pretty much always made by a third party. When you buy Brand-X branded allen keys they may be manufactured by a well known brand, e.g. Bondhus, and may even say so. Other times you are left guessing.
So for many years Draper have sold an 'expert' series of tools with a lifetime warranty and the socketry seems of super quality, but I have no idea who makes them. There have been Kennedy and even Kamasa branded combination wrenches which have been 'made in (W.) Germany' and by quality, design and appearance they could be made by Heyco or Hazet.
I keep an oddments box of random sockets and spanners (mostly picked up for peanuts at car boot sales etc, but some picked up new as surplus stock ) which have the sole purpose of providing materials suitable for making special tools as needed. So when I needed some offset wrenches with a slim full ring end for accurately torqueing the head bolts on one of my motorcycles I just modified some ring spanners, shortened them, and welded the female half-inch drive end from some sockets to them. It turns out that most flavours of Cr-V steel can be welded well enough for this sort of duty. A brand new Gedore socket (that might have cost me 10p...
) meets an off-brand spanner and makes a tool that is perfect for this job. I've also made slogging spanners, Bi-Hex flare nut wrenches for limited access situations, weird extension bars and goodness knows what else this way. Obviously needs must when the devil drives etc and in the past I have occasionally ruined a set of spanners or sockets in order to be able to make a special tool to get a job done. If it turns out later you can't buy an exact replacement for the butchered item, this tends to leave a very bad taste in your mouth; hence the existence of the oddments box.
Anyway I was rifling through the oddments box the other day and I pulled out a somewhat bent 'Kamasa W.Germany' spanner. The fate of this spanner is to be either used as is or turned into something else. Out of curiosity I decided to try and straighten it; it was little use as it was (although someone had deliberately bent it for a particular job, with two ~5 degree bends in the shank), and if it broke during straightening, I'd probably not bother with spanners of that sort for making special tools with either. To my surprise the spanner straightened OK, and manifested no signs of distress as a result. Which is more than I can say for myself; I ended up with the spanner in a bench vice and the force on it (which was only achieved with the aid of a substantial cheater bar) was so high that the bench was starting to move around. The spanner itself bent elastically so far that I thought it was going to snap before it yielded. I was somewhat troubled by this idea (the pieces would have flown about like shrapnel) but I managed to reset the thing OK. As a result I can confirm that these spanners are indeed made of very good quality steel, comparable with the Heyco branded ones they so closely resemble.
My most recent used tool purchase is a 'Craftsman' branded 3/8" drive ratchet, like the middle one here
there are several different versions of this tool; mine is the one with a figure 8 shaped access plate at the back, secured with a circlip, USA made, with a thumb reverser and a pushbutton release. 'Craftsman' is essentially Sears and Roebuck's own brand and their spanners/socketry were for may years made by the same foundries as supplied vastly more prestigious American tool brands and carried a good lifetime warranty too. These days a lot of their stuff comes from the far east and is of less assured quality; plus ca change and all that.... but older used Craftsman stuff is always worth having and the 3/8" drive ratchet I bought (which has seen almost no use) cost me less than a fiver.