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Craftsman Tools: Maker "V" And The Modern Era


Table of Contents

Introduction

In an earlier article we reviewed the Early Craftsman Tools of the late 1920s through mid 1940s, and a separate article covered the Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle line of sockets in greater depth. In this page we'll look at the Craftsman "Modern Era" that began around 1945, with a particular emphasis on the manufacturer of the Craftsman "V" series tools.

Tracking "Maker V"

Since we've made the "V" series tools the centerpiece of this article, we'll begin by establishing the identity of the manufacturer of the "V" series. The "V" series tools were made by Moore Drop Forging of Springfield, Massachusetts, a company with operations going back to the early 20th century. Moore Drop Forging was later reorganized as the Easco Corporation, and then still later became part of the Danaher conglomerate. (See our article on Moore Drop Forging for more information.)

Although Moore Drop Forging was well known as a tool maker in the early to mid 20th century, most of their tool output was contract production for automotive toolkits, items that were generally cheaply made and roughly finished. Without any apparent examples of high quality tools with chrome plated finishes produced by Moore, some readers might be surprised or even skeptical that Moore was really the maker behind the Craftsman "V" series. Thus we'll outline the evidence found to establish Moore Drop Forging as "Maker V", in roughly the order that the clues were discovered.

The first break in identifying "Maker V" came via the patent notice on a "V" series ratchet, specifically for the Haznar 1969 patent #3,467,231. This patent describes the ratchet mechanism used in the Craftsman dual-pawl fine-tooth ratchets and has an explicit assignment to Moore Drop Forging, providing a clear link between Moore and the "V" series line.

Our next clue also came from a patent document, this time for design patent #D185,651, issued to R.W. Vose in 1959 with assignment to Moore Drop Forging. This patent describes and illustrates a distinctive "V"-shaped shift lever for ratchets, and an example of a ratchet with the patented shift lever can be seen as the Craftsman Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter. These popular and familiar ratchets were sold beginning in 1959 and continuing into the early 1960s.

The next clue was found in a court document for the case Peter M. ROBERTS v. SEARS, ROEBUCK AND COMPANY, litigation arising from the patent for the well-known quick-release mechanism on Craftsman ratchets. In the court transcript Moore Drop Forging is described as the "custom manufacturer of wrenches" for Sears.

1947 Photograph of Moore Drop Forging Factory. [External Link]

More direct evidence was found in the book Springfield, Volume II by Ginger Cruikshank (Arcadia Publishing 2000), a collection of photographs and essays related to Springfield, Massachusetts. Moore Drop Forging was included as one of the important businesses in the Springfield area, and the book provides a quick history of the company, noting that Moore began making hand tools for Sears in 1938.

Cruikshank's book includes a photograph of the large modern factory built by Moore in Springfield to support its Craftsman contract, and photographs of the factory and operations can be found beginning on page 52. (See the preview at the left.) The book credits the Danaher Corporation (the later corporate parent of Moore Drop Forging) for several of the photographs, so the information on Moore is presumed to be accurate.

We hope that by now our readers are convinced of the identity of "Maker V", but if not, perhaps one further bit of evidence will help. Patent #2,944,452 describes a chain pipe wrench and was issued to R.W. Vose in 1960, again with assignment to Moore Drop Forging. An example of this patent can be seen as the Craftsman "V" Chain Pipe Wrench.


Patents

Table 1. Patents Used for Craftsman Tools
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedDescriptionExamples
2,112,840 F.A. Haist05/08/193504/05/1938Method of Making Adjustable Wrenches Craftsman Locking Adjustable Wrench
2,181,764 A.T. Murray11/23/193811/28/1939Wrench Set Holder  
2,430,368 J.J. Rearden04/12/194611/04/1947Method for Broaching Sockets  
2,719,449 W.J. Johnson07/27/195310/04/1955Adjustable Wrench Locking Mechanism Craftsman Locking Adjustable Wrench
D185,651 R.W. Vose02/19/195907/07/1959Design for Ratchet Shift Lever Craftsman "V" Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter
D186,188 R.W. Vose04/06/195909/22/1959Design for Ratchet Shift Lever  
2,944,252 R.W. Vose04/10/195907/12/1960Chain Pipe Wrench Craftsman "V" Chain Pipe Wrench
3,208,318 P.M. Roberts04/24/196409/28/1965Quick Release Mechanism Craftsman "V" Quick-Release Ratchet
3,467,231 H.J. Haznar02/12/196809/16/1969Pawl Reversing Mechanism Craftsman 43788 "V" Quick-Release Dual-Pawl Ratchet
3,532,013 H.J. Haznar05/01/196810/06/1970Quick Release Mechanism Craftsman 43788 "V" Quick-Release Dual-Pawl Ratchet

Origins of The Modern Style

In the 1920s and 1930s the Craftsman line was composed primarily by selecting tools from leading makers, with items selected for their quality and functionality.

Early "V" 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Craftsman V 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 1. Craftsman "V" 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 1 shows an early example of the Craftsman "V" series, a 3/4x7/8 open-end wrench marked with the Craftsman double-line logo. The reverse is stamped "Forged in U.S.A." on the raised panel, with a raised-letter "V" code forged into the shank.

The overall length is 9.2 inches.

Early "V" 1/2 Combination Wrench

[Craftsman V 1/2 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 2. Craftsman "V" 1/2 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 2 shows a Craftsman "V" series 1/2 combination wrench, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel. The shank also has a "V" code forged into the reverse, as shown in the inset.

The overall length is 6.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Early "V" 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Craftsman V 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 3. Craftsman "V" 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 3 shows a Craftsman "V" series 5/8 combination wrench, marked "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse. As with the previous figure, the raised panels show the double-line logo, and a raised-letter "V" code is forged into the shank.

The overall length is 7.8 inches.

Early 11/16 Panelled Combination Wrench

[Craftsman Early 11/16 Panelled Combination Wrench]
Fig. 4. Craftsman Early 11/16 Panelled Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 4 shows a Craftsman 11/16 combination wrench in the panelled style, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the front, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Although this wrench is very similar to the other "V" series examples, no manufacturer's marking was found.


Early "V" 5/8x3/4 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Craftsman Early V 5/8x3/4 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 5. Craftsman Early "V" 5/8x3/4 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 5 shows an early Craftsman 5/8x3/4 offset box wrench in the panelled style, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo and fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and the fractional sizess on the reverse panel. The shank has a forged-in "V" code visible at the right.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating, with extensive losses due to wear.

The cadmium finish suggests a manufacturing date in 1945.


Early "V" 3/4x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Craftsman Early V 3/4x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 6. Craftsman Early "V" 3/4x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Mid to Late 1940s.

Fig. 6 shows a Craftsman 3/4x7/8 offset box wrench in the panelled style, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel. The shank has a forged-in "V" code visible at the right.

The overall length is 12.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The chrome finish with a forged "V" (rather than stamped) suggests a manufacturing date in the early post-war years.


Early "V" 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Craftsman Early V 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 7. Craftsman Early "V" 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 7 shows a Craftsman 15/16x1 offset box wrench in the panelled style, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel. The shank has a forged-in "V" code visible at the right.

The overall length is 13.6 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The cadmium finish suggests a manufacturing date in 1945.

Craftsman "P-Circle" 19/32x25/32 Offset Box Wrench

The next several figures show examples of modern raised-panel wrenches marked with a "P-Circle" manufacturer's code, rather than the more common "V" code.

[Craftsman P-Circle 19/32x25/32 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 8. Craftsman "P-Circle" 19/32x25/32 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 8 shows a Craftsman 19/32x25/32 offset box wrench, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the raised panel, and with a P-Circle mark forged into the shank. The reverse is stamped "Forged in U.S.A." on the panel with an "N4" code forged into the shank.

The overall length is 10.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel with traces of cadmium plating.

The "P-Circle" mark is the manufacturer's code for Wilde Tools, a maker known today primarily for their pliers, but a full-line tool maker in the 1930s and 1940s. Examples of their production can be seen in our article on Wilde Tools.

Craftsman "P-Circle" 5/8x3/4 Offset Box Wrench

[Craftsman P-Circle 5/8x3/4 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 9. Craftsman "P-Circle" 5/8x3/4 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 9 shows a Craftsman 5/8x3/4 offset box wrench, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the raised panel, and with a P-Circle mark forged into the shank. The reverse is stamped "Forged in U.S.A." with a "2" forged into the shank.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Craftsman "P-Circle" 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench

[Craftsman P-Circle 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 10. Craftsman "P-Circle" 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 10 shows a Craftsman 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel. The reverse is also marked with an "N4" code and a P-Circle mark forged into the shank.

The overall length is 5.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Craftsman "P-Circle" 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench

[Craftsman P-Circle 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 11. Craftsman "P-Circle" 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1945.

Fig. 11 shows a Craftsman 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel. The reverse is also marked with an "N4" code and a P-Circle mark forged into the shank.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with extensive pitting due to rust.


Craftsman "P-Circle" 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench

[Craftsman P-Circle 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 12. Craftsman "P-Circle" 25/32x13/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 12 shows a Craftsman 25/32x13/16 open-end wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel. The reverse is also marked with an "E3" code and a P-Circle mark forged into the shank.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is cadmium (or possibly zinc) plating.


Wrenches


Open-End Wrenches


Early "V" 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench

The forged-in "V" code on the shank was soon replaced by a stamped code on the wrench panel, as the next example illustrates.

[Craftsman V 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 13. Craftsman "V" 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 13 shows an early example of the Craftsman "V" series, a Craftsman 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench with raised panels. The wrench is stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code stamped on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating with polished faces.


Whitworth (British Standard) Tools

Although less commonly found in the United States, Craftsman did offer wrenches in Whitworth (British Standard) sizes.


"V" 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth Open-End Wrench

[Craftsman V 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 14. Craftsman "V" 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 14 shows an example of a Whitworth-sized wrench, a Craftsman 3/8Wx7/16W open-end wrench with raised panels. The wrench is stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code stamped on the reverse.

The overall length is 5.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The opening sizes were measuered at 0.72 and 0.83 inches.


Early "V" No. 3 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

Although the "V" code is almost always associated with the Craftsman double-line ("=Craftsman=") logo, this next figure shows an example using the older underlined logo.

[Early Craftsman V No. 3 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 15. Early Craftsman "V" No. 3 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1938 to Mid 1940s.

Fig. 15 shows a Craftsman "V" No. 3 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench, stamped with the Craftsman underline logo and "No. 3" on the left face, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "-V-" code stamped on right face. The reverse faces are stamped with the fractional sizes.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The use of the "V" code with the Craftsman underline logo suggests that this is early production by Moore Drop Forging, or possibly a transitional form before the tappet wrench markings were updated to the double-line logo. (Later tappet wrenches weren't made with raised panels, so they continued to use the older face marking.)


Box-End Wrenches


Combination Wrenches


Specialty Wrenches


"V" 9/16x5/8 Battery Wrench

[Craftsman V 9/16x5/8 Battery Wrench]
Fig. 16. Craftsman "V" 9/16x5/8 Battery Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. Late 1940s+.

Fig. 16 shows a Craftsman "V" 9/16x5/8 box-end wrench for battery terminal service, marked with "Craftsman" and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with a "V" code plus "Battery Wrench" and "U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Sockets and Drive Tools

We have an extensive collection of Craftsman "V" series sockets and drive tools and will be adding them to this section, as time permits.


Early Ratchet Style


"V" 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Craftsman V 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 17. Craftsman "V" 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. Late 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 17 shows a Craftsman "V" 1/2-drive ratchet, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel. (Note that the markings are oriented upside-down relative to later production.) The shank also has a forged-in "B" code near the head.

The overall length is 9.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


V-Shaped Shifters

In 1959 the Craftsman ratchet line adopted a distinctive V-shaped shift lever, based on a design described by patent #D185,651, issued to R.M. Vose in 1959 with assignment to Moore Drop Forging.


"V" 1/2-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter

[Craftsman V 1/2-Drive Ratchet with V-Shaped Shifter]
Fig. 18. Craftsman "V" 1/2-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1959 to 1960s.

Fig. 18 shows a Craftsman 1/2-drive ratchet with a "V"-shaped shifter, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 10.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The ratchet head is fitted with an oil hole closed by a steel ball, as can be seen in the middle inset.

Although not marked with a patent notice, the design of the V-shaped shifter is described by patent #D185,651, issued to R.M. Vose in 1959 with assignment to Moore Drop Forging.


"V" 3/8-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter

[Craftsman V 3/8-Drive Ratchet with V-Shaped Shifter]
Fig. 19. Craftsman "V" 3/8-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1959 to 1960s.

Fig. 19 shows a Craftsman 3/8-drive ratchet with a "V"-shaped shifter, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

Although not marked with a patent notice, the design of the V-shaped shifter is described by patent #D185,651, issued to R.M. Vose in 1959 with assignment to Moore Drop Forging.


"V" 1/4-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter

[Craftsman V 1/4-Drive Ratchet with V-Shaped Shifter]
Fig. 20. Craftsman "V" 1/4-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1959 to 1960s.

Fig. 20 shows a Craftsman 1/4-drive ratchet with a "V"-shaped shifter, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 5.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

Although not marked with a patent notice, the design of the V-shaped shifter is described by patent #D185,651, issued to R.M. Vose in 1959 with assignment to Moore Drop Forging.


Quick-Release Ratchets

In 1965 Sears began offering Craftsman ratchets with a convenient quick-release button, based on a design described by patent #3,208,318, filed by P.M. Roberts in 1964 and issued in 1965.


"V" 3/8-Drive Quick-Release Ratchet

[Craftsman V 3/8-Drive Quick-Release Ratchet]
Fig. 21. Craftsman "V" 3/8-Drive Quick-Release Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1965-1970.

Fig. 21 shows a Craftsman 3/8-drive quick-release ratchet, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel. The reverse panel is also stamped with a "Pat. No. 3208318" patent notice.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The patent notice refers to patent #3,208,318, filed by P.M. Roberts in 1964 and issued in 1965. This is the classic patent for the quick-release mechanism.


Quick-Release Dual-Pawl Ratchets

In the late 1960s Sears began offering Craftsman ratchets with a dual-pawl mechanism for ultra fine action, combined with a quick-release button for extra convenience. These ratchets were based on patents #3,467,231 and #3,532,013, issued to H.J. Haznar in 1969 and 1970 respectively, and assigned to the Moore Drop Forging Company.


"V" 1/2-Drive Quick-Release Ratchet with Dual-Pawl Mechanism

[Craftsman V 1/2-Drive Quick-Release Dual-Pawl Ratchet]
Fig. 22. Craftsman "V" 1/2-Drive Quick-Release Dual-Pawl Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1968-1970.

Fig. 22 shows a 1/2-drive Craftsman quick-release ratchet with a dual-pawl mechanism, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "=V=" code on the reverse panel. The reverse panel is also stamped with a "Patent Pending" notice.

The overall length is 10.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The pending status refers to patents #3,467,231 and #3,532,013, issued to H.J. Haznar in 1969 and 1970 respectively, with assignment to the Moore Drop Forging Company.

Note that this ratchet is not marked with a model number, but that a similar Craftsman 43187 "V" 1/4-Drive Ratchet also has a patent pending marking and is marked with the model number. These examples provide evidence that Craftsman model number markings were added in the 1968-1970 time frame.


43788 "V" 3/8-Drive Quick-Release Ratchet with Dual-Pawl Mechanism

[Craftsman 43788 V 3/8-Drive Quick-release Ratchet]
Fig. 23. Craftsman 43788 "V" 3/8-Drive Quick Release Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1970s.

Fig. 23 shows a Craftsman 43788 3/8-drive quick-release ratchet with a dual-pawl mechanism, stamped "Craftsman" on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "-V-" code on the reverse panel. The reverse panel is also stamped with "U.S. Pats. 3467231 3532013" and "Can. Patented 1971" patent notices.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The first patent #3,467,231 was filed by H.J. Haznar in 1968 and issued in 1969, with assignment to the Moore Drop Forging Company. The describes a pawl-reversing mechanism for fine-tooth ratchets.

The second patent #3,532,013 was filed by H.J. Haznar in 1968 and issued in 1970, again with assignment to the Moore Drop Forging Company. This patent describes a quick-release mechanism adapted to fine-tooth ratchets.


43187 "V" 1/4-Drive Quick-Release Ratchet with Dual-Pawl Mechanism

[Craftsman 43187 V 1/4-Drive Quick-release Ratchet]
Fig. 24. Craftsman 43187 "V" 3/8-Drive Quick Release Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1968-1970.

Fig. 24 shows a Craftsman 43187 1/4-drive quick-release ratchet with a dual-pawl mechanism, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "-V-" code on the reverse panel. The reverse panel is also stamped with a "Patent Pending" patent notice.

The overall length is 5.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The pending status refers to patents #3,467,231 and #3,532,013, issued to H.J. Haznar in 1969 and 1970 respectively, with assignment to the Moore Drop Forging Company.


Pliers and Cutters


8 Inch Angle-Nose Pliers

[Craftsman 8 Inch Angle-Nose Gripping Pliers]
Fig. 25. Craftsman 8 Inch Angle-Nose Gripping Pliers, with Insets for Handle and Marking Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 25 shows a pair of Craftsman 8 inch angle-nose gripping pliers, marked with a transitional form of the double-line logo resembling "== U.S.A. ==". No manufacturer's code was found on these pliers.

The overall length is 8.0 inches.

The finish is polished steel with no plating, which together with the double-line logo suggests a manufacturing date around 1945.

The handle pattern closely resembles the "Nested Diamonds" pattern found on many Craftsman Vanadium pliers. (See our article on Early Craftsman Pliers for examples.) The design of the pliers resembles the Wilde Wrench Pliers shown on another page.


4-Position Waterpump Pliers

[Craftsman 4-Position Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 26. Craftsman 4-Position Waterpump Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1947.

Fig. 26 shows a pair of Craftsman waterpump pliers with a distinctive 4-position adjustment mechanism. The pliers are stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the handle, with "Forged in U.S.A." and an N-Square manufacturer's code on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.9 inches fully extended, and the finish is chrome plating.

The adjustment mechanism uses a tabbed pivot post operating in slotted holes. To change the setting, the handles are opened wide to align the tabs with the slots, allowing the handles to be separated and then reinserted in the desired hole.

Other tools with the N-Square manufacturer's code include punches and chisels, but the manufacturer associated with the code is not yet known. If any of our readers have further information on these distinctive pliers, please let us know via email.

Currently our only catalog reference for these pliers is the 1947 Craftsman tools catalog. The catalog notes the advantage of the adjustment mechanism in preventing accidental changes of the setting.


Production by Wilde Tool

The Wilde Tool Company was the dominant supplier of pliers for the Craftsman brand in the post-war era. Wilde production can be generally be recognized by the rope-banded gripping pattern on the handles, and by a P-Circle manufacturer's code stamped on (or forged into) the tools.

In this section we'll look at examples of Craftsman pliers presumed to be contract production by Wilde, including many examples with rope-banded patterns on the handles.

Additional information on Wilde can be found in our article on the Wilde Tool Company.


Craftsman Battery Pliers with Nested-Diamond Pattern

[Craftsman Battery Pliers]
Fig. 27. Craftsman Battery Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. Late 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 27 shows a pair of Craftsman battery pliers with the Nested-Diamond handle pattern, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo and a P-Circle manufacturer's code.

The overall length is 7.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

Battery pliers in this angle-nose style were listed as early as the 1947 Craftsman tool catalog. The upper inset shows the "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern on the handles, which remained in use at least through the early 1960s.


Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers with Rope-Banded Handles

[Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 28. Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 28 shows a fairly recent pair of Craftsman 11 inch waterpump pliers with the rope-banded handle pattern, marked with the Craftsman double-line logo but without a model number. The pliers are also marked with a forged-in "P" code on the underside of the handles (not shown).

The overall length is 10.8 inches.

The pliers are marked with the Craftsman double-line logo, but no model number is marked. Model numbers were generally marked on Craftsman tools after the late 1960s to early 70s, so these pliers were probably made in the 1960s.

The rope-banded handles and forged-in "P" code indicate production by Wilde.


Craftsman 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers

[Craftsman 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 29. Craftsman 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers, with Insets for Handle Pattern and Marking Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 29 shows a pair of Craftsman 10 inch tongue-and-groove waterpump pliers with the rope-banded pattern, marked with the Craftsman double-line logo, but without a model number. The underside of the handles is also marked with a forged-in "P" code (see left inset), presumed to be the manufacturer's code for Wilde.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The tongue-and-groove design dates back to the classic 1934 patent #1,950,362 by the Champion DeArment (now Channellock) company.


Craftsman "Arc-Joint" 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers

[Craftsman 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 30. Craftsman 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1953-1959.

Fig. 30 shows an earlier pair of Craftsman 6 inch tongue-and-groove angle-nose pliers with the older "Nested Diamonds" geometric gripping pattern on the handles. The pliers are stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo near the pivot, with a P-Circle logo below.

The overall length is 6.8 inches fully extended, and the finish is chrome plating.

The stamped P-Circle code identifies the maker as Wilde, and the unusual (for Wilde) use of the geometric gripping pattern suggests transitional production.

The Craftsman tool catalog illustrations show that this "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern remained in use on some pliers into the 1960s, but the tongue-and-groove models had switched to the rope-banded pattern by 1960.


[Craftsman 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 31. Craftsman 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 31 shows a later pair of Craftsman 6 inch tongue-and-groove angle-nose pliers with a rope-banded gripping pattern on the handles. The pliers are stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo near the pivot, with a forged-in "P" code on the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.8 inches fully extended, and the finish is chrome plating.

The forged-in "P" code on the underside of the handles is presumed to be the manufacturer's code for Wilde. By 1960 the Craftsman tool catalogs had illustrations of these tongue-and-groove pliers with the rope-banded gripping pattern.


Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

[Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 32. Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 32 shows a pair of Craftsman 6.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers with the rope-banded pattern, stamped with the double-line logo and a small "P" code near the pivot, and with "Alloy Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The lower inset shows the forged-in "P" code on the underside of the handles, presumed to be the manufacturer's code for Wilde.


Production by J.P. Danielson

The J.P. Danielson Company produced pliers for the Fulton, Merit, and Dunlap brands during the 1930s, and later produced at least some models for the Craftsman brand. After 1947 Danielson operated as a division of Plomb Tool (later Proto Tools).

The later production by Danielson was marked with an "LC" manufacturer's code.

Additional information can be found in our article on the J.P. Danielson Company.


Craftsman 4732 8 Inch Slip-Joint Hose-Clamp Combination Pliers

[Craftsman 4732 8 Inch Slip-Joint Hose-Clamp Combination Pliers]
Fig. 33. Craftsman 4732 8 Inch Slip-Joint Hose-Clamp Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View, Jaw, and Marking Detail, 1965.

Fig. 33 shows a pair of Craftsman 4732 8 inch slip-joint hose-clamp combination pliers, stamped with "Craftsman" and the model number to the right of the pivot, with an "LC" code and "USA" below. The handle also has a forged-in code "C35" faintly visible on the shoulder.

The overall length is 8.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The jaws of the pliers have a drilled recess and milled grooves to hold the ends of a hose-clamp spring (see middle inset), adding another useful feature to these otherwise conventional combination pliers.

The handles of these pliers have a double-chevron gripping pattern, similar to the older Herringbone pattern used by Danielson for a number of years. An example of this pattern on Proto production can be seen as the Proto 202 Combination Pliers. The forged-in "C35" is a Danielson date code probably indicates production in 1965, although a later decade may be possible.


Adjustable Wrenches

In the post-war years Craftsman adjustable wrenches were supplied by J.H. Williams and by other makers not yet identified.


Craftsman "Y-Circle" 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

The next figure shows an example of a series of adjustable wrenches offered during the 1950s, notable for the distinctive placement of the hanging hole in the interior of the shank, rather than at the extreme end.

[Craftsman Y-Circle 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 34. Craftsman "Y-Circle" 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 34 shows a Craftsman 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "8 In." and the Craftsman double-line logo forged into the front, with a "Forged in U.S.A." and a Y-Circle logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the maximum opening is 0.9 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.47 inches.

The finish is plain steel with traces of plating, possibly zinc or cadmium.

Note that the hanging hole is located in the interior of the depressed panel, rather than at the extreme end.


Craftsman "Y-Circle" 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench

The next figure shows an example of a series of adjustable wrenches offered during the 1950s, notable for the distinctive placement of the hanging hole in the interior of the shank, rather than at the extreme end.

[Craftsman Y-Circle 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 35. Craftsman "Y-Circle" 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 35 shows a Craftsman 12 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "12 In." and the Craftsman double-line logo forged into the front, with a "Forged in U.S.A." and a Y-Circle logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 12.1 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.3 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.72 inches.

The wrench has a bright plated finish that resembles zinc, and the finish is soft enough to leave a mark on paper.

The upper inset shows a close-up of the Y-Circle logo forged into the shank.

We hope to be able to identify the manufacturer behind the Y-Circle code in the near future. One construction detail noted is that the screw pin is threaded on the outside (slotted) end, the type of pin generally used by Danielson and Utica. In contrast, Crescent and Diamond used a screw pin threaded on the inside end.


Craftsman 8 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench

The next several figures show examples of Williams adjustable wrenches produced for the Craftsman brand.

[Craftsman 8 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 36. Craftsman 8 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1955-1967.

Fig. 36 shows a Craftsman 8 inch adjustable wrench with a locking pin, marked with "Patd in U.S.A." and the Craftsman double-line logo forged into the front, with "Made in U.S.A." and an AZ-Circle logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.47 inches.

The finish is chrome plating, with minor losses due to rust and wear.

The middle inset shows a close-up of the AZ-Circle logo forged into the shank.

The upper inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the square shoulder used for the sliding jaw and keyway. The square shoulder is a feature patented by J.H. Williams in the 1930s (see patent #2,112,840) and is not known to have been used by any other manufacturers.

The patent notice refers to patent #2,719,449, filed by W.J. Johnson in 1953 and issued in 1955. This patent describes a locking mechanism for adjustable wrenches, actuated by pushing a locking pin (visible in the photograph) through the thumb knurl. An example of a Williams wrench with this locking mechanism can be seen as the Williams APL-6 Adjustable Wrench.


Craftsman 10 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench

[Craftsman 10 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 37. Craftsman 10 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1955-1967.

Fig. 37 shows a Craftsman 10 inch adjustable wrench with a locking pin, marked with "Patd in U.S.A." and the Craftsman double-line logo forged into the front, with "Made in U.S.A." and an AZ-Circle logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.2 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.60 inches.

The finish is chrome plating, with some losses due to rust and pitting.

The middle inset shows a close-up of the AZ-Circle logo forged into the shank.

The upper inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the square shoulder used for the sliding jaw and keyway. The square shoulder is a feature patented by J.H. Williams in the 1930s (see patent #2,112,840) and is not known to have been used by any other manufacturers.

The patent notice refers to patent #2,719,449, filed by W.J. Johnson in 1953 and issued in 1955. This patent describes a locking mechanism for adjustable wrenches, actuated by pushing a locking pin (visible in the photograph) through the thumb knurl. An example of a Williams wrench with this locking mechanism can be seen as the Williams APL-6 Adjustable Wrench.


Craftsman 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Craftsman 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 38. Craftsman 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1968-1972.

Fig. 38 shows a Craftsman 8 inch adjustable wrench, stamped "Forged" on the front with "Made in U.S.A." and "JW - Alloy" on the reverse. The reverse shank also shows a forged-in code "L" next to the hole.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.50 inches.

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The upper inset shows a side view of the wrench, and a close look shows the square shoulder for the sliding jaw and keyway. The square shoulder was a patented feature of the J.H. Williams adjustable wrenches, and is not known to have been used by any other manufacturers.

This wrench can be identified as Williams' production by the square-shouldered keyway, and the stamped "JW" code further confirms the maker. The forged-in "L" code has also been observed on J.H. Williams wrenches; see for example the Williams AP-8 "Superjustable" Wrench.

This particular wrench is believed to have been purchased new in the late 1960s to early 1970s, a time before Craftsman began marking model numbers on its tools. The next figure shows a similar wrench with a Craftsman model number.


Craftsman 44604 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Craftsman 44604 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 39. Craftsman 44604 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1970s+.

Fig. 39 shows a somewhat later example of Williams' production, a Craftsman 44604 10 inch adjustable wrench. The shank is stamped "Forged" on the front with "Made in U.S.A." and "JW - Alloy" on the reverse, and a forged-in code "L" appears on the reverse as well.

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.2 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.60 inches.

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The upper inset shows a side view of the wrench, with the square shoulder visible on the sliding jaw and keyway.


Chisels and Punches


Craftsman 3/16 Pin Punch

[Craftsman 3/16 Pin Punch]
Fig. 40. Craftsman 3/16 Pin Punch.

Fig. 40 shows a Craftsman 3/16 pin punch, stamped with the double-line logo and an "N-Square" manufacturer's code.

The overall length is 6.1 inches.

The manufacturer associated with the "N-Square" code is not yet known. This code has also been noted on a Dunlap Punch shown in onother article.


Craftsman 3/4 Star Drill

[Craftsman 3/4 Star Drill]
Fig. 41. Craftsman 3/4 Star Drill, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 41 shows a Craftsman 3/4 star drill, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo and a "G-Circle" manufacturer's code.

The overall length is 11.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The manufacturer associated with the "G-Circle" code is not yet known.


Specialty Tools


Craftsman "V" 12 Inch Chain Pipe Wrench

[Craftsman V 12 Inch Chain Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 42A. Craftsman "V" 12 Inch Chain Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 42A shows a Craftsman 12 inch chain pipe wrench, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and "Pat. No. 2944452" plus a "V" code on the reverse panel.

The overall length of the handle is 12.0 inches, and the length of the chain is 16.3 inches. The finish is chrome plating.

The patent notice refers to patent 2,944,452, filed by R.W. Vose in 1959 and issued in 1960, with assignment to Moore Drop Forging.


Craftsman 8-In-1 Multi-Socket Wrench

[Craftsman 8-In-1 Multi-Socket Wrench]
Fig. 42. Craftsman 8-In-1 Multi-Socket Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1954-1968.

Fig. 42 shows a Craftsman 8-In-1 multi-socket wrench, marked with the Craftsman double-line logo on the raised panel, and with the fractional sizes and "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel.

The socket sizes are 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, and 19/32 on the small head, with 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, and 7/8 on the large head.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

A close comparison with the Williams No. 1999 Multi-Socket Wrench showed that the tools are virtually identical except for markings, confirming that Williams was the contract manufacturer for Sears for this tool. The small forged-in "T" code to the left of the panel is one of several forge codes used by Williams (the others include B, II, O, and V) and is not interpreted as a Craftsman manufacturer's code.

The Craftsman 8-In-1 wrench was first introduced in the 1954 catalog at a price of $3.98. By 1957 the price had been reduced to $2.98, and the 8-In-1 model remained available at least through 1968, with the price gradually rising to $3.99 in 1968.


Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers

[Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers]
Fig. 43. Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 43 at the left shows a pair of Craftsman snap-ring specialty pliers with rope-banded handles, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo and "USA", and with a small "P" in a circle code.

The overall length is 9.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The lower inset shows the forged-in "P" code on the inside of the handles, presumed to be the manufacturer's code for Wilde.


Craftsman Brake Spring Pliers

[Craftsman Brake Spring Pliers]
Fig. 44. Craftsman Brake Spring Pliers, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail.

Fig. 44 shows a pair of Craftsman brake spring pliers, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the upper jaw, with a small P-Circle code below.

The overall length is 13.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The P-Circle code indicates production by Wilde.


Craftsman 1/4x5/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench

[Craftsman 1/4x5/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 45. Craftsman 1/4x5/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949+.

Fig. 45 shows a Craftsman 1/4x5/16 ratcheting box wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the panel. The body is stamped "Made U.S.A." at the left, with "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off." at the right.

The overall length is 4.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The construction of the wrench uses symmetrical stamped steel formed panels held together by rivets. The raised panel in the center of each half is a distinctive feature found in the Duro/Indestro production of ratcheting box wrenches.

Ratcheting box wrenches in this design were listed in the Craftsman tool catalogs as early as 1949.


Craftsman 3/8x7/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench

[Craftsman 3/8x7/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 46. Craftsman 3/8x7/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949+.

Fig. 46 shows a Craftsman 3/8x7/16 ratcheting box wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the panel. The body is stamped "Made U.S.A." at the left, with "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off." and a "D.I." code at the right.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The construction of the wrench uses symmetrical stamped steel formed panels held together by rivets. The raised panel in the center of each half is a distinctive feature found in the Duro/Indestro production of ratcheting box wrenches, and the "D.I." code is believed to denote "Duro Indestro".


Craftsman 13/16x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench

[Craftsman 13/16x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 47. Craftsman 13/16x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949+.

Fig. 47 shows a Craftsman 13/16x7/8 ratcheting box wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the panel. The body is stamped "Made U.S.A." at the left, with "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off." code at the right.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The construction of the wrench uses symmetrical stamped steel formed panels held together by rivets. The raised panel in the center of each half is a distinctive feature found in the Duro/Indestro production of ratcheting box wrenches.

Note that this particular example is not marked with a "D.I." code seen in the previous figure.


Dunlap Tools

Sears continued to use the Dunlap brand for economy tools into the early 1960s, but by 1964 the Craftsman catalog no longer included Dunlap tools.


Dunlap "V" 11/16x3/4 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Dunlap V 11/16x3/4 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 48. Dunlap "V" 11/16x3/4 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 48 shows a Dunlap 11/16x3/4 offset box wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Dunlap" and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Dunlap "LC" 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Dunlap LC 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 49. Dunlap "LC" 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s to 1960s.

Fig. 49 shows a Dunlap 5/8 combination wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Dunlap" and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse. The front panel also has a forged-in code "LC" visible at the right, shown as a close-up in the middle inset.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The "LC" code on this wrench is believed to indicate production by J.P. Danielson, which after the late 1940s operated as a division of the Plomb Tool Company or its successors.


Dunlap 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Dunlap 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 50. Dunlap 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 50 shows a Dunlap 10 inch adjustable wrench, marked with the Dunlap double-line logo and "Dependable Quality" forged into the shank, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse. The shank is also marked with a forged-in Y-Circle logo, visible at the right near the hanging hole.

The overall length is 10.0 inches and the maximum opening is 1.1 inches. The finish is chrome plating.

The forged-in Y-Circle logo is believed to be the manufacturer's code, but the maker has not yet been identified. The Y-Circle logo also appears on Craftsman adjustable wrenches, as for example the Craftsman "Y-Circle" 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench.


References and Resources

Photographs and observations of particular tools are based on items in the Alloy Artifacts collection.


Catalog Coverage

We have fairly extensive catalog coverage for the Craftsman post-war production, as summarized in the table below.

Year Format Notes
1947 Full Full selection of modern style tools. Some older "BE" socket sets still listed.
1949 Half No "BE" socket sets, but scattered illustrations of "BE" style sockets.
1952 Half  
1953 Half  
1954 Full Lists Craftsman 8-In-1 ("Dogbone") wrench. Lists "Arc-joint" tongue-and-groove pliers.
1955 Full  
1957 Full  
1960 Full  
1962? Full Dunlap brand tools still listed.
1964 Full No references to Dunlap brand found.
1966 Full  
1968 Full  

Patents and Trademarks

Patent and trademark information was obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uspto.gov web site. Patent documents were obtained from web sites offering free downloads, notably freepatentsonline.com.


Feedback

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