CHICAGO (CBS) — Thanks to a Chicago-area company, a California do-it-yourselfer has received a $5,000 return on a $3 investment.

“I work with tools all the time, but, not by trade. I’m a collector and avid user,” said Dan Schmidt, who is always on the lookout for vintage tools.

In March, he pounced when he spotted a pair of side-cutting pliers at a swap meet in southern California.

“I knew immediately when I put my eyes on them that these were special pliers, so I snagged them and cleaned them up,” he said.

It turned out they were made in 1904 by Klein Tools, a 156-year-old Chicago-area firm.

The Lincolnshire-based company has been running a contest to find the oldest Klein product out there and still working.

Out of 850 entries, Schmidt’s pliers won.

Mark Klein, who represents the 6th generation of his family to run the firm, said it’s a tribute to the quality and durability of Klein tools.

“The pliers work. They’re in great condition,” Klein said.

Schmidt’s prize included $2,500 in cash – which he said his wife gets – and $2,500 dollars in tools for him.