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Sockets and Drive Tools

During the 1920s Herbrand produced socket tools based on forged sockets with male drive tangs, a style also made by Billings, and used by Plomb for their largest ("Big Bertha") drive size. The Herbrand examples of this early male-drive style are less commonly found, suggesting that production may have been quite limited.

Herbrand is not known to have produced sockets of the still-earlier pressed-steel type, the sockets made popular by Mossberg and others, although it's possible that some examples might turn up. Herbrand is also not known to have produced cold-broached machined sockets, the dominant socket technology during the 1920s and early 1930s.

During the early 1930s Herbrand developed a hot-forging process for broaching sockets and began producing industry-standard female drive sockets. Their hot-forging process was definitely in production by 1934 or earlier, based on the description in the Herbrand catalog 47-M of that year. The catalog notes that the sockets were hot-forged from chrome molybdenum steel, and offers this explanation for the superiority of hot-forged sockets:

"Hot forging insures clean, extra thin, straight side walls and super strength -- no chatter marks, no tears, no chips. They are structurally better, lighter in weight and have increased utility, unbreakable strength and unrivaled performance."

Later catalogs even included comparison photographs to highlight the difference between hot-forged and cold-broached sockets. We recently found the patent document for the Herbrand hot-forge process as patent #2,182,922, issued to E.A. Heschel in 1939. Although this patent wasn't filed until 1938, it's likely that the process described in the patent represents a refinement of the methods in use since the early 1930s.

Herbrand's hot-forge process was somewhat different from that used by others in the industry such as Blackhawk or Duro Metal Products. Instead of producing a small ring of displaced material, to be left in place or trimmed away, Herbrand's broaching pushed the displaced steel ahead until it merged with the bottom of the socket. This left the sockets either with a smoothly rounded bottom or with a flattened mass of material, depending apparently on the size of the socket and the broach design.

By 1934 Herbrand was already offering a substantial selection of sockets and drive tools, with drive sizes ranging from 3/8 to 3/4-drive. The product line was soon expanded to include 1/4-drive, and 1 inch drive was added at a later time. In 1934 the J-10 and S-10 reversible ratchets had just been introduced recently, and later improvements added a linear slide shifter to the ratchets.


Early Male-Drive Sockets and Tools

Herbrand male-drive sockets and the associated drive tools are rather rare, and currently we have only a few examples to display. These early socket tools are known only in 1/2 square drive, with each drive tool offering a 1/2 square female opening to fit the square drive tang of the service socket. The drive tools were fitted with a spring clip to help secure the inserted sockets.

The Herbrand socket tools were all made as forgings with only minimal machining afterwards, leaving them with a rough surface finish.

A representative example of a socket set built in the male-drive style can be seen in the Billings No. 52 Socket Set.


Early Male-Drive 6 Inch Extension with Spring-Clip

[Herbrand Early Male-Drive 6 Inch Extension]
Fig. 116. Herbrand Early Male-Drive 6 Inch Extension, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 116 shows an early Herbrand male-drive 6 inch extension, stamped "Herbrand Co." and "Fremont, O. U.S.A." with the H-Diamond logo.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The upper right inset shows a close-up of the drive socket of the extension. Note the spring clip fitted in the opening, which provides a bit of friction to hold the inserted socket.

The male end of the extension (the drive end for this style) has two pinched tabs on the corners, a typical construction technique for early drive tools.


Early Male-Drive 7/16 Socket

[Herbrand Early Male Drive 7/16 Socket]
Fig. 117. Herbrand Early Male Drive 7/16 Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 117 shows a Herbrand 7/16 male-drive socket, stamped "Herbrand Co." and "Fremont, O. U.S.A." with the H-Diamond logo.


Early Male-Drive 3/4 Socket

[Herbrand Early Male-Drive 3/4 Socket]
Fig. 118. Herbrand Early Male-Drive 3/4 Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 118 shows a Herbrand 3/4 male-drive socket, stamped "Herbrand Co." and "Fremont, O. U.S.A." with the H-Diamond logo.

The overall height is 2.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Hot-Forged Sockets with Simple Knurling

The earliest examples of Herbrand's hot-forged sockets were made with straight walls and a band of simple parallel knurling around the center. The standard finish was nickel plating.


Early S-129 1/2-Drive Socket

Our first example is believed to be representative of Herbrand's earliest socket production.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-129 29/32 Socket]
Fig. 119. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-129 29/32 Socket, with Insets for End and Broaching Details, ca. 1935.

Fig. 119 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-129 29/32 socket, marked "Van-Chrome" and "U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo, although the markings were too worn to photograph easily..

The finish is nickel plate, polished on the upper walls but with a rough finish at the base.

The rough base actually provides valuable clues to Herbrand's socket forging process. A careful look at the center panel shows a slightly raised ridge of material on the base, and it's also visible in the left panel as a small ridge on the shoulder. A comparable ridge is present on the other side of the base, in a diametrically opposite position. (The marks are subtle, so you'll need to enlarge the photograph with your browser.)

This ridge is a remnant of the forging operation, showing that the hot socket blank was clamped between two dies while the broaching mandrel was forced in. (This is the method described in the Heschel 1939 patent #2,182,922.) Later sockets typically show tooling marks where the base was turned in a lathe after forging, but the earlier sockets were apparently left with the base in its rough forged finish.

The other panels show additional finishing operations done to the socket. The left panel shows that the drive end has been given a chamfer, for easy insertion of the drive tool, and the right panel shows a comparable chamfer for the 12-point broached end. The bottom of the interior shows the mass of displaced steel, pushed ahead until it piled up against the square shaft of the broaching mandrel.

The center panel shows the finely polished upper walls and the knurled band around the center. Note that the knurling here has simple parallel lines; this style was apparently used from the earliest sockets until some time in the 1940s.


S-118 1/2-Drive Socket

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-118 9/16 Socket]
Fig. 120. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-118 9/16 Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Markings.

Fig. 120 shows another relatively early 12-point socket, a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-118 9/16 socket marked "Van-Chrome" and "U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo.

The finish is nickel plating with polished upper walls. The base of the socket is smoothly finished, with no trace of the forging marks noted in the previous example.


S-126 1/2-Drive Socket

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-126 13/16 Socket]
Fig. 121. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-126 13/16 Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Markings.

Fig. 121 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-126 13/16 socket, marked "Fremont, O. U.S.A." and "Van-Chrome" on the base.

The finish is cadmium plating, indicating that this socket was likely made in 1942-1945.


DS-xx 1/2-Drive Deep Sockets

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive DS-xx Deep Sockets]
Fig. 122. Herbrand 1/2-Drive DS-xx Deep Sockets, with Insets for Broaching and Markings.

Fig. 122 shows a group of three 1/2-drive Herbrand DS-xx deep sockets with a knurled band around the base, all marked "Fremont, O. U.S.A." with the "Van-Chrome" trademark. The models and sizes are, from the left, DS-22 (11/16), DS-26 (13/16), and DS-26 (13/16).

The finish is nickel plating for the left and middle sockets, and cadmium plating for the righthand socket. Nickel plating was the standard finish during the 1930s and early 1940s, and the cadmium plating on the righthand socket likely indicates production during 1942-1945.

The sockets are equipped with cross-bar holes, a standard feature for deep sockets at the time, as this allowed spark-plug service with just a socket and bar.

The Herbrand name is marked in block letters on the lefthand socket, but with the script logo on the other two. Herbrand appears to have used the script and block markings interchangeably over a period of many years, without any known meaning associated with one use over the other.


Sockets with Cross-Hatched Knurling

Sometime in the mid 1940s Herbrand changed their socket design slightly, introducing a cross-hatched knurled band to replace the earlier parallel knurling. The change probably occurred during the latter part of the 1942-1945 war years, as examples of both knurling styles are available with cadmium finishes.

Although the change in knurling style is not indicated by the regular catalog illustrations, the Supplement No. 1 to catalog 54 definitely shows the new cross-hatched style. This Supplement is included at the back of the 1948 catalog 54-MS, and pages 7-9 of the Supplement show examples of sockets with cross-hatched knurling.

By 1954 Herbrand's socket design had been updated again, this time to a simple style with no knurling or other ornamentation. Thus the approximate time range for the cross-hatched style can be estimated as 1944-1953.


DS-26 1/2-Drive Deep Socket

The next several figures show examples of Herbrand deep sockets with cross-hatched knurling.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive DS-26 13/16 Deep Socket]
Fig. 123. Herbrand 1/2-Drive DS-26 13/16 Deep Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. 1944-1945.

Our first example is shown in Fig. 123, a 1/2-drive Herbrand DS-26 1 inch deep socket marked "Made in U.S.A." on the base, but without the "Van-Chrome" trademark. The finish is plain steel with polished upper walls.

The plain steel finish and lack of a Van-Chrome marking strongly suggest that this socket was made during the wartime years, when material shortages sometimes forced changes not only in the finish, but in the steel composition as well.

The knurled band just above the base shows the cross-hatched pattern that replaced the simple knurling seen on earlier sockets. Herbrand appears to have switched to the cross-hatch knurling during the mid 1940s, and this socket is probably one of the earlier examples of the new pattern.

The socket has been drilled with a cross-bar hole, a common feature for deep sockets at the time.


DS-28B 1/2-Drive Deep Socket

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive DS-28B 57/64 Inch Deep Socket]
Fig. 124. Herbrand 1/2-Drive DS-28B 57/64 Inch Deep Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. 1944-1945.

In Fig. 124 we see another example of cross-hatched knurling, a 1/2-drive Herbrand DS-28B deep socket in the 57/64 size, marked "Made in U.S.A." on the base without the "Van-Chrome" trademark.

The finish is cadmium plating. As with the previous example, the finish and markings suggest manufacture during 1944-1945.

The socket is equipped with a cross-bar hole, as was standard for deep sockets at the time. The odd 57/64 size was needed for certain spark plugs, and is one of the few cases of 64ths sizing in sockets.


DS-32 1/2-Drive Deep Socket

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive DS-32 1 Inch Deep Socket]
Fig. 125. Herbrand 1/2-Drive DS-32 1 Inch Deep Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. 1944-1945.

Fig. 125 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand DS-32 1 inch deep socket, marked "Made in U.S.A." on the base and without the "Van-Chrome" trademark. The socket is equipped with a cross-bar hole.

The finish is plain steel with polished upper walls. As with the previous examples, the finish and markings suggest manufacture during 1944-1945.


S-1xx 1/2-Drive Sockets

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-1xx Sockets]
Fig. 126. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-1xx Sockets, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail.

Fig. 126 shows a group of five 1/2-drive Herbrand S-1xx 12-point sockets, all marked "Van-Chrome" and "Fremont, O. U.S.A." on the base. The sizes and models are, from the left, 1/2 (S-116), 9/16 (S-118), 5/8 (S-120), 3/4 (S-124), and 7/8 (S-128).

The finish of the sockets is chrome plating over nickel, except for the middle (S-120) socket, which has a cadmium plated finish. The middle socket was likely made in 1944-1945, and the others probably date from 1946-1953.


[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-1xx Sockets]
Fig. 127. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-1xx Sockets, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail, ca. 1946-1953.

Fig. 127 at the left shows another group of 1/2-drive Herbrand S-1xx sockets in some of the larger sizes. As with the previous figure, all are marked "Van-Chrome" and "Fremont, O. U.S.A." on the base. The sizes and models are, from the left, 1 inch (S-132), 1-1/16 (S-134), and 1-1/8 (S-136).

The finish of the sockets is chrome plating over nickel, but the chrome has worn down to the nickel layer in some areas.

The upper inset shows the broached openings, and for these larger sockets the material displaced by the broach has merged smoothly with the bottom, leaving no separate layer or shelf of material.


S-39 1/2-Drive Drag Link Driver

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-39 Drag Link Driver]
Fig. 128. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-39 Drag Link Driver, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1944-1953.

Fig. 128 at the left shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-39 drag link driver, marked "Fremont, O. U.S.A." and "Van-Chrome".

The overall length is 1.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

Drag link drivers were offered in two models, the S-37 with a 3/4 nominal width, and the present S-39 with a 1 inch nominal width. (The actual width measures 15/16 for this tool.)


1/2 Drive Tools


S-17 1/2-Drive 15 Inch Speeder

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-17 15 Inch Speeder]
Fig. 129. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-17 15 Inch Speeder, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1930s.

Fig. 129 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-17 15 inch speeder, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the knurled end-piece.

The overall length is 15.3 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with losses due to wear and rust.


Early S-10 1/2-Drive Pivoting-Shift Ratchet

[Herbrand Early 1/2-Drive S-10 Lever-Shift Ratchet]
Fig. 130. Herbrand Early 1/2-Drive S-10 Lever-Shift Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1933-1935.

Fig. 130 shows an early 1/2-drive Herbrand S-10 ratchet with a pivoting shift lever and knurled handle, stamped "Van-Chrome" and "Fremont, U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.


S-10 1/2-Drive Pivoting-Shift Ratchet

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-10 Lever-Shift Ratchet]
Fig. 131. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-10 Lever-Shift Ratchet, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1935-1939.

Fig. 131 shows an early 1/2-drive Herbrand S-10 ratchet with a pivoting shift lever, marked "Van-Chrome" and "U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plate with a polished head.

The ratchet mechanism uses a 28-tooth main gear with dual pawls, and a lobed cam alternately deactivates one pawl to select the direction. Note the use of an external detent ball to secure the shift lever position; this idea was later used by Armstrong for its ratchets. (See the Armstrong SA-51 Ratchet for an example.)

The forged handle includes deeply recessed panels, serving to provide a firm grip and reducing the weight as well. This style of ratchet and shifter is illustrated in the 1935, 1937 and 1939 Herbrand catalogs. Earlier ratchets may have used knurled handles, and later ratchets (by 1941 or earlier) used a sliding shift button.


S-10 1/2-Drive Slide-Shift Ratchets

By 1941 Herbrand had developed a distinctive shift mechanism for ratchets, using a linear slider and pawls with a special contour. As the slide pin moved to one end of its travel, one pawl was released while the other was pushed aside to become inactive.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-10 Slide-Shift Ratchet]
Fig. 132. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-10 Slide-Shift Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1941-1942.

Our first example of this linear slide shifter is shown in Fig. 132, a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-10 ratchet with a slide shifter, marked on the cover plate with the Herbrand script and "Made in U.S.A." (see middle inset). Note that the "Van-Chrome" trademark is not marked on this ratchet.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating with polished faces.

A forged-in code "8742" can be seen on the shank to the left of the handle depression, indicating the use of AISI 8742 steel, an alloy of nickel, chromium, and molybdenum favored by Herbrand. Chrome-molybdenum steel was standard for sockets and drive tools by 1941, and its use here explains the absence of the Van-Chrome trademark.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-10 Slide-Shift Ratchet]
Fig. 133. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-10 Slide-Shift Ratchet, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 133 at the left shows another example of the Herbrand S-10 slide-shift ratchet, marked "Van-Chrome" and "U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating, now worn away in most areas.

The cadmium finish indicates that this ratchet was likely made during 1942-1945.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-10 Slide-Shift Ratchet with Bullet Handle]
Fig. 134. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-10 Slide-Shift Ratchet with Bullet Handle, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. late 1940s.

Fig. 134 shows a later example of the Herbrand S-10 ratchet with a bullet-shaped handle, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo on the cover plate.

The overall length is 10.0 inches. The finish is chrome plating with polished faces, with some loss due to rust.

The distinctive bullet-shaped handle on this example is illustrated in the 1948 Herbrand catalog, suggesting a post-war manufacturing date for this ratchet.


S-11 1/2-Drive Slide-Shift Long-Handled Ratchet

In addition to the standard S-10 ratchet, Herbrand also offered a long-handled version, the model S-11 ratchet.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-11 Slide-Shift Long Ratchet]
Fig. 135. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-11 Slide-Shift Long Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1944-1945.

Fig. 135 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-11 long-handled ratchet with a slide shifter, marked "Made in U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo, but without the Van-Chrome trademark. The overall length is 15.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

As with a previous example, the cadmium finish indicates a wartime manufacturing date, but in addition other details point to manufacturing changes. In particular, the ratchet is not marked with the usual Van-Chrome trademark, and the number "1340" forged into the shank offers the explanation (see middle inset).

The forged-in "1340" indicates the use of AISI 1340 steel, a carbon-manganese alloy with good hardening properties, but not up to the standards of the chrome-vanadium or nickel-chrome-moly steels normally used by Herbrand. Wartime shortages sometimes forced the substitution of a lesser steel, and Herbrand recorded the change with the forged-in code.

In addition to the substitute steel, the ratchet shank and handle can be seen to be rather roughly finished, possibly due to a labor shortage or simply a change to meet the production demand.


S-5 1/2-Drive Transverse Slide-Shift Ratchet

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-5 Transverse Slide-Shift Ratchet]
Fig. 136. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-5 Transverse Slide-Shift Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View.

Fig. 136 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-5 ratchet with a transverse slide shifter, marked "Van-Chrome" and "Made in U.S.A." on the cover plate, along with the Herbrand script logo. (See middle inset.)

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


S-6 1/2-Drive Transverse Slide-Shift Ratchet

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-6 Transverse Slide-Shift Long Ratchet]
Fig. 137. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-6 Transverse Slide-Shift Long Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View.

Fig. 137 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-6 long-handled ratchet with a transverse slide shifter, marked "Van-Chrome" and "Made in U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo.

The overall length is 14.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


S-7 1/2-Drive Ratchet

By around 1960 Herbrand had switched from dual-pawl ratchets to a design with a single oscillating pawl.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-7 Ratchet]
Fig. 138. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-7 Ratchet, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1960+.

Fig. 138 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-7 ratchet, stamped "USA" on the shank.

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


S-9 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-9 Ratchet]
Fig. 139. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-9 Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1960+.

Fig. 139 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-9 ratchet, stamped "USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 14.8 inches, and the finish is polished chrome.


S-8 1/2-Drive Ratchet Adapter

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-8 Ratchet Adapter]
Fig. 140. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-8 Ratchet Adapter, with Inset for Detail.

Fig. 140 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-8 ratchet adapter, marked "Fremont, O. U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo, and with a "Pat. Pend." notice.

The overall length is 2.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The inset shows the end of the adapter, marked with the On/Off directions and the name "Ratch-A-Daptor".

The patent corresponding to the pending status has not yet been found.


S-13 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handles

The next figures show two generations of the Herbrand S-13 flex handle.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-13 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 141. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-13 Flex-Head Handle, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 141 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-13 flex-head handle with a knurled hand grip, stamped "Van-Chrome" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

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

The flex head is notched for five detent positions, a feature noted in the Herbrand catalogs from the late 1930s up through 1948. Note also that the handle end has been broached for 1/2-drive and drilled for a cross-bar, allowing use as an extension and Tee-handle.

The cadmium finish suggests production during the 1941-1945 war years.


[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-13 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 142. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-13 Flex-Head Handle, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1946-1947.

Fig. 142 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-13 flex-head handle in the forged-handle version, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

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

The flex head is notched for five detent positions, a feature noted in the Herbrand catalogs from the late 1930s up through 1948.

The distinctive forged-handle design of this example is believed to date from the early post-war period, although at present we don't have an exact catalog reference. Additional discussion is available with the similar Herbrand S-15 Forged-Handle Breaker Bar in a later figure.


S-15 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handles

The next figures show several generations of the Herbrand S-15 breaker bar.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-15 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 143. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-15 Flex-Head Handle, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, ca. 1941-1945.

Fig. 143 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-15 flex-head handle with a knurled handle, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 17.9 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The left inset shows a close-up of the flex head, with notches in the head for five detent positions. The Herbrand catalogs from the late 1930s up through 1948 mention these extra detent positions.

The right inset shows the details of the handle construction. This example is equipped with a cross-bar hole to allow use as a Tee handle, and the handle is broached for 1/2 square drive, allowing use as an extension. The end broaching is noted in catalogs from the mid 1930s through 1941, but had been discontinued by 1948. (The later bullet-style handle made an end broaching impossible.)


[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-15 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 144. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-15 Flex-Head Handle, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1946-1947.

Fig. 144 shows a Herbrand S-15 flex-head handle with a forged, deeply panelled shank. The shank is stamped "Made in U.S.A." in the depressed panel, and a forged-in code "8642" is visible at the left and in the lower inset.

The overall length is 17.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The flex head is notched for five detent positions, a feature noted in the Herbrand catalogs from the late 1930s up through 1948.

Currently we don't have a catalog illustration for this distinctive forged-handle design, but the combination of features and finish suggest an early post-war production time. In particular, this example retains the use of the notched flex head offered from the latter 1930s through at least 1948. In addition, this example no longer provides an end broaching, a feature available from the mid 1930s and known to have been discontinued by 1948. Based on these characteristics (or lack thereof), production was likely in the 1946-1947 time frame.


[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-15 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 145. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-15 Flex-Head Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1950.

Fig. 145 shows a later example of the Herbrand S-15 with a bullet-shaped handle, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 18.0 inches. The original finish was chrome plating, but extensive wear has exposed the copper underplating.

This style of bullet-shaped handle with two knurled bands is illustrated in the 1948 Herbrand catalog. The 1948 catalog also mentions the use of a flex head with notches for five detent positions, but this feature had been discontinued by 1954. The lack of the extra notches in this particular example suggests a somewhat later manufacturing date.


[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-15 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 146. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-15 Flex-Head Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1954-1960.

Fig. 146 shows a still later Herbrand S-15 flex-head handle, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 18.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

This breaker bar has a cylindrical handle with two knurled bands, a style illustrated in the 1954 Herbrand catalog.


S-21 1/2-Drive Sliding Tee Handles

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-21 Sliding Tee Breaker Bar]
Fig. 147. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-21 Sliding Tee Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 147 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-21 sliding Tee handle, stamped "Herbrand" and "Made in U.S.A." on the bar.

The overall length is 11.0 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The sliding head is secured on the bar by a stop-ball on each end.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-21 Sliding Tee Breaker Bar]
Fig. 148. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-21 Sliding Tee Handle.

Fig. 148 shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-21 sliding Tee handle, marked "Made in U.S.A." on the bar.

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

On this tool the sliding head is secured by a stepped groove on each end of the bar.


S-27 1/2-Drive 5 Inch Extension

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-27 5 Inch Extension]
Fig. 149. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-27 5 Inch Extension.

Fig. 149 shows a Herbrand S-27 5 inch extension marked "USA".

The overall length is 5.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


S-28 1/2-Drive 10 Inch Extensions

The next figures show two generations of the Herbrand model S-28 extension.

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-28 Extension with Cross-Bar Hole]
Fig. 150. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-28 10 Inch Extension with Cross-Bar Hole, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 150 at the left shows a 1/2-drive Herbrand S-28 10 inch extension with a cross-bar hole, marked "Van-Chrome" with "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse side.

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

[Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-28 10 Inch Extension]
Fig. 151. Herbrand 1/2-Drive S-28 10 Inch Extension.

Fig. 151 at the left shows a later 1/2-drive Herbrand S-28 extension, marked "Made in USA" but without the "Van-Chrome" trademark.

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


1/2-Drive Socket Sets

Herbrand offered its 1/2-drive tools in several sets of varying size, ranging from the 12-piece SA-71 1/2 set up to the 47-piece SA-78 1/2 set.


SA-73 1/2 Socket Set

The Herbrand SA-73 1/2 socket set was an intermediate-sized collection consisting of a metal box with an S-15 flex handle, S-33 cross-bar, and 16 S-1xx series sockets.

The socket models and sizes are S-112 (3/8), S-114 (7/16), S-116 (1/2), S-118 (9/16), S-119 (19/32), S-120 (5/8), S-121 (21/32), S-122 (11/16), S-124 (3/4), S-125 (25/32), S-126 (13/16), S-128 (7/8), S-130 (15/16), S-132( 1 Inch), S-134 (1-1/16), and S-136 (1-1/8).

Fig. 152. Herbrand 1/2-Drive SA-73 1/2 Socket Set, ca. 1947-1950 To Be Added.

3/8-Drive Tools


J-10 Early 3/8-Drive Pivoting-Shift Ratchet

[Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-10 Pivoting-Shift Ratchet]
Fig. 153. Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-10 Pivoting-Shift Ratchet, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 153 shows an early 3/8-drive Herbrand J-10 ratchet with a pivoting shift lever, marked "Van-Chrome" and "Fremont, O U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The ratchet model is the 3/8-drive equivalent of the Early Herbrand S-10 Ratchet shown earlier in this article. The pivoting shift lever is shown in the 1934 through 1939 Herbrand catalogs, and the deeply recessed forged handle is illustrated in 1937 and later. The 1934 and 1935 catalogs show a knurled handle for the J-10 ratchet.


J-5 3/8-Drive Transverse Slide-Shift Ratchet

[Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-5 Transverse Slide-Shift Ratchet]
Fig. 154. Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-5 Transverse Slide-Shift Ratchet, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1954.

Fig. 154 shows a 3/8-drive Herbrand J-5 ratchet with a transverse slide shifter, marked "Van-Chrome" and "Made in U.S.A." with the Herbrand script logo on the reverse.

The overall length is 6.9 inches. The original chrome plated finish has worn off to reveal the copper underplating over much of the surface. The extensive loss of finish has been seen in other Herbrand tools, and may indicate a problem with their plating process.

The ratchet mechanism consists of a 24-tooth gear with dual pawls, each with a single tooth contact area. The transverse slide shifter alternately disengages one pawl, and is held in position by a detent ball. The ratchet operates very smoothly and has a soft action with very low back-drag, as would be expected for this dual-pawl design.

This ratchet model is shown in the 1954 Herbrand catalog, providing an approximate manufacturing date. The earlier model J-10 ratchet was similar, but had a longitudinal slide shifter and a 20-tooth main gear.


J-13 3/8-Drive Flex-Head Handles

The next figures show two generations of the Herbrand J-13 flex handle.

[Herbrand J-13 3/8-Drive Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 155. Herbrand J-13 3/8-Drive Flex-Head Handle, with Inset for Side View, ca. Mid to Late 1940s.

Fig. 155 shows a 3/8-drive Herbrand J-13 flex-head handle with a forged handle, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

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

[Herbrand J-13 3/8-Drive Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 156. Herbrand J-13 3/8-Drive Flex-Head Handle, ca. Late 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 156 shows a 3/8-drive Herbrand J-13 flex-head handle with a bullet-shaped handle, stamped "Made in U.S.A." on the shank.

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


J-9 3/8-Drive "Speedratchet" T-Handle Ratchet

[Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-9 Speedratchet]
Fig. 157. Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-9 Speedratchet, with Inset for Detail, ca. 1949-1950.

Fig. 157 shows a 3/8-drive Herbrand J-9 "Speedratchet" T-handle ratchet, marked "Fremont O. USA" with the Herbrand script logo, and with a "Pat. Pend." notice.

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

The ratchet mechanism has a 20-tooth drive gear, and the slide shifter moves along the axis of the handle to alternately deactivate one of the contoured pawls.

The pending status refers to design patent D158,073, filed by E.A. Heschel in 1949 and issued in 1950.


J-27 3/8-Drive Extension

The next figures show two generations of the Herbrand J-27 extension.

[Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-27 5 Inch Extension]
Fig. 158. Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-27 5 Inch Extension.

Fig. 158 at the left shows a 3/8-drive Herbrand J-27 5 inch extension, marked "Van-Chrome" and "Made in U.S.A." on the drive head.

The overall length is 5.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

[Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-27 5 Inch Extension]
Fig. 159. Herbrand 3/8-Drive J-27 5 Inch Extension.

Fig. 159 at the left shows another 3/8-drive Herbrand J-27 extension, marked "Made in U.S.A." on the shank, but without the "Van-Chrome" trademark.

The overall length is 4.9 inches.


3/4-Drive Tools


H-144 3/4-Drive 1-3/8 Socket

[Herbrand 3/4-Drive H-144 1-3/8 Socket]
Fig. 160. Herbrand 3/4-Drive H-144 1-3/8 Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail, ca. 1946-1953.

Fig. 160 shows a 3/4-drive Herbrand H-144 1-3/8 socket, stamped "Fremont, O. U.S.A." with the "Van-Chrome" trademark.

The finish is chrome plating with polished upper walls.

The cross-hatched band and chrome finish indicate production in the late 1940s to early 1950s.


H-11 3/4-Drive Slide-Shift Ratchet

[Herbrand 3/4-Drive H-11 Slide-Shift Ratchet]
Fig. 161. Herbrand 3/4-Drive H-11 Slide-Shift Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 161 shows a 3/4-drive Herbrand H-11 slide-shift ratchet, stamped "Made in U.S.A." with "Fremont O. U.S.A." in the Herbrand script logo.

The overall length is 21.2 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating. The cadmium finish instead of the standard chromium plating indicates a manufacturing date during 1942-1945.

The lower inset shows the very faint numbers "87__" forged into the shank, presumed to be an "8742" code frequently seen on Herbrand tools. This code indicates the use of AISI 8742 steel, a triple alloy of nickel, chromium, and molybdenum. The 1941 Herbrand catalog advertised the use of chrome-molybdenum steel as standard for all of the sockets and drive tools, notwithstanding the "Van-Chrome" branding.


H-15 3/4-Drive Flex-Head Handle

[Herbrand 3/4-Drive H-15 Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 162. Herbrand 3/4-Drive H-15 Flex-Head Handle, with Insets for Marking Detail, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 162 shows a 3/4-drive Herbrand H-15 flex-head handle, stamped "Van-Chrome" and "Made in U.S.A." with a forged-in code "8742" on the shank.

The overall length is 20.8 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating. The cadmium finish instead of the standard chromium plating indicates a manufacturing date during 1942-1945.

The left inset shows the forged-in "8742" code that normally indicates the use of AISI 8742 steel; however, this tool is also stamped with the Van-Chrome trademark, which was generally not marked when chrome-molybdenum steels were used. This inconsistency may be the result of the wartime production, possibly a substitution of chrome-vanadium steel without a corresponding change to the forging die.

The handle is equipped with a cross-bar hole for use with a H-33 cross-bar, an accessory normally supplied with the handle, but of course lost by the time the tool arrived at our virtual museum. Another detail worth noting is the use of a spring-backed plunger to control movement of the head; the larger contact area provides better friction than the detent ball typically used.


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