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1/2-Drive Tools

The drive tools offered in 1920 were for 1/2-drive only, and consisted of a breaker bar, short and long T-handle spinners, and short and long speeder (crank) handles. These five drive tools, along with the ten matching sockets, formed the subject of the somewhat famous Snap-On advertisement, "15 Do the Work of 50", extolling the virtues of interchangeable tools.

Later offerings added extensions, a T-slider breaker bar, a universal joint, and an odd splined ratchet adapter (1923 patent #1,443,413). Apparently ratchets were not considered rugged enough for heavy-duty operation at first, but became available some time in the mid 1920s. Additional drive sizes were offered later as well, with 5/8-drive in early 1923, 7/8-drive in 1924 or 1925, and eventually 9/32- and 3/8-drive.

As with the sockets, the very earliest drive tools may not have been marked, and would therefore be difficult to identify. The first markings for drive tools consisted of the logo and city, "Snap-On Milwaukee U.S.A.", or in some cases just the "Snap-On" logo.

Model numbers were added somewhat later, starting with "No. 1" for the No. 1 Offset Handle, continuing with "No. 2" for the No. 2 Short Tee-handle Spinner, and so on. (The catalogs were using model numbers well before the numbers were added to the tools, perhaps to assist with mail-order sales.)

Snap-On remained in Milwaukee until 1930 but then moved its operations to Kenosha, WI, so the presence of "Milwaukee" on a tool is a reliable indication of manufacture in or before 1930. Some tools (e.g. ratchets) were marked with the "Kenosha" city name up until at least 1940.


Fixed Offset Handles and Sliding Tee Handles

The next several figures show 1/2-drive handles ("breaker bars") of various styles, representing the time span from the early 1920s up to 1929.

Early [No. 1] Offset Handle

[Snap-On Early 1/2-Drive No. 1 Offset Handle]
Fig. 23. Snap-On Early 1/2-Drive [No. 1] Offset Handle, with Inset Showing Logo, ca. 1923-1925.

Fig. 23 shows an early model with the gradual bend, marked "Snap-On Milwaukee U.S.A." but with rather faint letters; the inset provides close-up detail.

The overall length of the tool is 9.3 inches.

One detail to note about this early breaker bar is that the drive end has three balls, a detent ball plus two fixed balls to limit the socket travel. Even earlier models used pinched tabs instead of the fixed balls, at first two tabs and then four. These minor details can potentially be used to determine the relative age of tools from the 1920-1923 era, although the interpretation may be subject to debate.


Later No. 1 Offset Handles

[Snap-On No. 1 1/2-Drive Offset Handle]
Fig. 24. Snap-On No. 1 1/2-Drive Offset Handle, with Inset for Detail and Construction, 1927.

Fig. 24 shows a later 1/2-drive Snap-On No. 1 offset handle from a "Super Service" set, marked "No. 1 Snap-On Milwaukee U.S.A." and with a date code of "-7" for 1927. The overall length is 11.4 inches.

The 1926 and 1927 catalogs show No. 1 breaker bars in the round-head style of this figure. The catalog notes that the head was milled separately from special steel, and then permanently attached to the handle with a pin. By 1927 the head was being made of chromium-vanadium alloy steel.

If you've ever wondered how Snap-On attached the grips for these early tools, the top right inset has your answer. The grip is simply a friction-fit, installed after raising a series of ridges on the handle.

[Snap-On No. 1 1/2-Drive Offset Handles]
Fig. 25. Snap-On No. 1 1/2-Drive Offset Handles, from Top: Earlier (Left Inset), Later (Right Inset).

In Fig. 25 we see two more examples of later No. 1 breaker bars with sharp right-angle heads. Both of these are marked "No. 1 Snap-On Milwaukee U.S.A.", and the bottom one has a date code for 1929. Both have an overall length of 11.6 inches.

The No. 1 breaker bar remained in production until at least 1948, in a form substantially similar to the lower tool in the photograph.


S-10 Sliding Tee Handle

Although Snap-On's earliest breaker bars were all of the fixed-head L-handle style, the company soon offered a sliding T-handle breaker bar, and the 1923 catalog listed it as a model S-5. These S-5 sliding T-handles were made with a 9/16 diameter bar, although some very early examples may be found with a 1/2 inch bar.

By 1926 Snap-On had upgraded the sliding T-handle to a stronger 5/8 diameter bar, and the model number was changed to S-10.

[Snap-On 1/2-Drive S-10 Sliding Tee Handle]
Fig. 26. Snap-On 1/2-Drive S-10 Sliding Tee Handle.

Fig. 26 shows a 1/2-drive Snap-On sliding T-handle breaker bar marked with just the Snap-On logo on the sliding head. Although the model number is not marked, the 5/8 diameter bar identifies this as a model S-10.

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


Flex Handles

In the late 1920s Snap-On introduced the first of its flex-head handles, a tool that would later became one of their most important and popular drive tools. Flex-head handles had been first offered by Plomb Tools based on the Eagle 1921 patent #1,380,643. Snap-On modified the basic design by putting the fork on the flex drive end, rather than at the end of the handle, the so-called "Outer-Head" version. This change was probably intended to avoid patent infringement, and several other companies made similar changes.

The interesting later history of the Eagle patent can be found in the section on the Eagle Patent Lawsuit.


No. 11 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle

Examples of the Snap-On flex handles from the 1920s are not very common, and we are fortunate to be able to present the next figure.

[Snap-On No. 11 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 26B. Snap-On No. 11 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail, 1929.

Fig. 26B shows an early 1/2-drive Snap-On No. 11 flex-head handle, stamped with the Snap-On logo and "Patent Applied For" on the shank, with a "-9" date code for 1929 on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with losses due to wear.

The knurled handle is equipped with a 3/8-diameter cross-bar hole, allowing use as a (light-duty) Tee-handle.

The patent corresponding to the pending status, if issued, has not been identified.

Although not visible in the photograph, the drive end of the handle has an axially drilled hole, apparently for a spring tensioning mechanism pressing against the pin for the flex head.


Tee Handles

Snap-On offered several models of fixed T-handles, a No. 2 short version, a No. 3 long version, and (at least in some early catalogs) a No. 3A extra-long version.


No. 2 Short Tee Handle

[Snap-On No. 2 Short Tee Handle]
Fig. 27. Snap-On 1/2-Drive Short Tee Handle, with Inset for Logo, Catalog Model No. 2.

Fig. 27 shows a 1/2-drive short Tee handle spinner marked with just the Snap-On logo. (The extraneous marks to the right are previous owner markings.) The overall length is 7.2 inches, and no date code was marked.

The drive end has a detent ball plus two fixed ball-stops. The short T-handle spinners came with a plain shaft, but rotating grips were available on the longer model shown below.

No. 3 Long Tee Handle

[Snap-On 1/2-Drive Standard Tee Handle]
Fig. 28. Snap-On 1/2-Drive Standard Tee Handle, Catalog Model No. 3, ca. 1923-1925.

In Fig. 28 at the left we see an early Tee handle spinner marked "Snap-On Milwaukee U.S.A.". (The markings are very faint and difficult to read though.)

The overall length is 12.3 inches.

The model shown includes a rotating hand grip and is referred to as model No. 3 in the catalogs. The early catalogs also offered a longer version (24 in.) as model No. 3-A.

As with the Early No. 1 Offset Handle above, this Tee handle uses three balls in the drive end, a spring-loaded detent plus two fixed ball-stops. However, the rotating grip is secured by pinched tabs on each end.

Apparently this arrangement didn't work well enough, and later T-handles secured the grip with ball-stops instead of pinched tabs. By 1926 the catalogs were showing T-handles with ball-stops, so this example likely dates to 1923-1925.

Later No. 3 Long Tee Handle

[Snap-On 1/2-Drive Standard Tee Handle]
Fig. 29. Snap-On 1/2-Drive Standard Tee Handle, with Inset for Detail, Catalog Model No. 3, ca. 1926-1927.

Fig. 29 shows a very similar but slightly later model Tee handle spinner, again marked "Snap-On Milwaukee U.S.A".

The overall length is 12.2 inches and no date code was marked.

On this example the rotating grip is secured with ball-stops, rather than the pinched tabs we saw in the previous figure. The drive end has two ball-stops as with the previous example.


Speeder Handles

Speeder handles are undoubtedly the most confusing group of early tools, as there are numerous models differing by only minor details. What started simply with a No.4 speeder and No. 5 "brace" (named for the familiar carpenter's tool) had expanded to nine different models by 1927! Even the distinguishing feature of the brace, the rotating hand grip, later appeared on the speeder models.

Fortunately this situation persisted for only a few years: by the early 1930s, Snap-On had reduced the speeder models to just four, the K4, K4-A, K4-B, and K4-C. All of the K4 series models had similar features and differed only in length.

In an attempt to tame this confusion, we'll first present a table showing the expected speeder features by production year, then will look at some examples (when available) of the tools.


Speeder and Brace Feature Table

Table 1 below shows the speeder and brace models available in various catalog years. The primary features are the length, throw (measured center-to-center), and the hand grip type (plain or swivel). The models in the table are ordered by increasing length. Note that the particular years in the table were chosen by the availability of catalogs for reference.

Table 1. Speeder and Brace Model Features By Catalog Year
Model
No.
Length
(In.)
Throw
(In.)
Grip
Type
Years Available Example
        1920-1922 1923 1926 1927 1933  
4-F 13.0 N/A Plain   Yes Yes Yes    
5 13.5 5.3 Swivel Yes Yes Yes Yes   No. 5 Brace
5-A 14.5 4.9 Swivel     Yes Yes   No. 5-A Brace
4-C 15.0 4.0 Plain     Yes Yes    
K4-C 15.0 4.0 Swivel       Yes Yes K4-C Speeder
4 19.0 4.0 Plain Yes Yes Yes Yes   No. 4 Speeder
K4 19.0 4.0 Swivel       Yes Yes K4 Speeder
4-A 21.0 4.0 Plain   Yes Yes Yes    
K4A 21.0 4.0 Swivel         Yes  
4-B 27.0 4.0 Plain   Yes Yes Yes    
K4-B 27.0 4.0 Swivel         Yes  

For simplicity, the table ignores the model difference due to changes in the drive stops and hand grip stops.

In the table we see the original two models, Nos. 4 and 5, expanding to five models by 1923 and to nine by 1927. In 1927 we also see the first appearance of the K4 series, which would become the successor models.

By the time of the 1933 catalog, the speeder models had settled to just the four K4 variants.


No. 4 Long Speeder

[Snap-On No. 4 1/2-Drive Long Speeder]
Fig. 30. Snap-On No. 4 1/2-Drive Long Speed Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1923-1929.

Fig. 30 shows a 1/2-drive Snap-On No. 4 long speeder handle, stamped "Snap-On Milwaukee U.S.A." as shown in the inset.

The overall length is 19.0 inches, and no date code was marked.

The drive end on this model has a detent plus two fixed balls. This was the standard construction for drive ends by 1923 on, continuing until forged shoulders were introduced in 1929 or 1930.


No. 5 Short Braces

The next two figures show examples of the Snap-On No. 5 brace.

[Snap-On No. 5 1/2-Drive Short Brace]
Fig. 31. Snap-On No. 5 1/2-Drive Short Brace, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1923-1925.

Fig. 31 shows a short speeder or brace with a rotating grip, marked "Snap-On" as shown in the center inset. Although no model number was marked, the length and features identify this in the catalogs as the No. 5 brace.

The overall length is 13.4 inches, and the throw is 5.3 inches. The finish is plain steel with traces of nickel plating.

The No. 5 brace was one of the original tools offered by Snap-On, so models similar to this were available from 1920 on. This particular example has a detent ball and two fixed balls on the drive end, features that indicate a production date in 1923 or later.

The rotating grip for this tool is secured with pinched tabs rather than ball-stops. By the time of the 1926 catalog, the brace models were shown with ball-stops for the rotating grip, so this particular example likely dates from 1923-1925.

[Snap-On No. 5 1/2-Drive Short Brace]
Fig. 32. Snap-On No. 5 1/2-Drive Short Brace, with Insets for Marking and Construction Detail, ca. 1923-1925.

Fig. 32 shows another example of the Snap-On No. 5 brace, marked "Snap-On" as shown in the center inset. As with the previous figure, no model number is marked on the tool, but the length and features identify this as a No. 5 brace.

The overall length is 13.1 inches, and the throw is 5.3 inches. The finish is plain steel with a few traces of nickel plating, and with extensive pitting due to rust.

The construction of this speeder is very similar to the previous example, but with a slightly shorter length, making it the shortest Snap-On brace in our current collection. The speeder is made with a detent ball and two fixed balls on the drive end, and with pinched tabs to secure the rotating grip. features that indicate a likely manufacturing date from 1923-1925.


No. 5-A Short Brace

[Snap-On No. 5-A Short Brace]
Fig. 33. Snap-On No. 5-A 1/2-Drive Short Brace, with Insets for Construction and Marking Details, ca. 1924-1925.

In Fig. 33 we see another short brace with a rotating grip, marked "Snap-On Milwaukee U.S.A." as shown in the center inset. No model number was marked on the tool, but the length and features identify this as a No. 5-A brace in the 1926 catalog. (The No. 5-A brace was not available in the 1923 catalog.)

The brace has a throw of 4.9 inches and an overall length of 14.2 inches.

The rotating grip is secured with pinched tabs, and the drive end has a detent and two fixed balls. By the time of the 1926 catalog, the brace models were shown with ball-stops for the rotating grip, so this particular example likely dates from 1924-1925.


K4 1/2-Drive Long Speeders

The next two figures show examples of the model K4 speeder.

[Snap-On K4 1/2-Drive Long Speeder]
Fig. 34. Snap-On K4 1/2-Drive Long Speeder Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1927-1929.

Fig. 34 shows a 1/2-drive Snap-On K4 long speeder handle with a rotating grip. Although no model number was marked on the tool, the features correspond to the catalog model K4 produced from 1927 onward.

The overall length is 19.0 inches, and no date code was marked.

Based on the 1927 or later production date, one might expect to have a date code and possibly model number marked on this tool, but the actual marking is just "Snap-On" as the inset shows. It's possible that a date code was marked but has been lost due to wear on the tool, or it may just have been omitted.

The rotating grip for the K4 series tools was not secured by any kind of stop, but instead was left free to slide within the narrow confine of the bend. The drive end of the tool has a detent ball and two stop-balls.


[Snap-On K4 1/2-Drive Long Speeder]
Fig. 35. Snap-On K4 1/2-Drive Long Speeder Handle, with Insets for Marking Detail, 1928.

Fig. 35 shows another 1/2-drive Snap-On K4 long speeder handle with a rotating grip, stamped with the model number and Snap-on logo on the shank, and with a "-8" date code for 1928.

The overall length is 19.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


K4C Short Speeder

At this point I sense that the reader is growing weary of speeders, so this next figure will be the last for this group of tools.

[Snap-On K4-C Short Speeder]
Fig. 36. Snap-On K4-C 1/2-Drive Short Speeder Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1927-1929.

In Fig. 36 we see a 1/2-drive Snap-On K4-C short speeder handle with a rotating grip, similar to the brace shown earlier but corresponding to the features for catalog model K4-C. As with the K4 model, the K4-C model was introduced in 1927.

The overall length is 14.8 inches, and no date code was marked.

The comments made for the K4 model apply to this example as well. Note again the lack of any stops for the hand grip.


Ratchet Adapters

Although Snap-On didn't offer a true ratchet until the mid 1920s, they did provide an unusual splined ratchet adapter beginning in 1920 or possibly early 1921.


Early No. 6 Coarse-Tooth Ratchet Adapter

[Snap-On No. 6 Ratchet Adapter]
Fig. 37. Snap-On 1/2-Drive Splined Ratchet Adapter, Catalog No. 6, ca. 1920-1923.

Fig. 37 shows an early example of the 1/2-drive No. 6 ratchet adapter, marked "Snap-On" and "Pat. Pend." on the body.

The overall length (fully extended) is 3.4 inches, and the barrel has a minor diameter of 1.0 inches and a major diameter of 1.37 inches. The drive gear has 9 teeth.

In operation, the gear teeth are forced apart by a spring when no pressure is applied, and the tool can then be rotated freely. When the two parts are pushed together to engage the teeth, the adapter and the attached socket can be rotated with full force in either direction. The adapter is extremely well made, with precisely fitting rotating parts and a hardened body.

Note that technically this tool should be referred to as a "clutch adapter", since the drive end can be rotated in either direction once the gears are engaged. However, in common usage this type of tool is almost universally called a ratchet adapter, so we have maintained this terminology.

Snap-On's ratchet adapter design appears to have been developed in-house. The patent was filed by J. Johnson on July 1 of 1920, only a few of months after the company's founding, and was issued as patent #1,443,413 on January 30 of 1923. (This gives it the distinction of being the first patent issued to the new Snap-On Wrench Company.) The particular tool shown here was likely made in 1920-1923, based on the patent pending notation.

No. 6 Fine-Tooth Ratchet Adapter

The No. 6 ratchet adapter remained in production for a number of years, and later versions showed some incremental improvements.

[Snap-On No. 6 Ratchet Adapter]
Fig. 38. Snap-On 1/2-Drive Splined Ratchet Adapter, Catalog No. 6, ca. 1923-1926.

Fig. 38 shows a later No. 6 ratchet adapter with a finer pitch to the gear teeth, marked with "Snap-On" and "P. 1-30-23" for the patent date.

In this later model, the overall length has been reduced to 2.4 inches and the major diameter has been reduced to 1.25 inches. In addition, the drive gear has a finer pitch with 15 teeth. The reductions in length and diameter and finer gear pitch would help improve operation in tight places.


Universals and Extensions


No. 8 Universal

Among the early tools, Snap-On offered only a single universal joint, the model No. 8 for 1/2-drive.

[Snap-On No. 8 Universal Joint]
Fig. 39. Snap-On 1/2-Drive Universal Joint, Catalog No. 8, ca. 1923-1926.

Fig. 39 shows an example of a No. 8 universal, marked with just "Snap-On". The overall length is 2.6 inches.

The tapered base is characteristic of the universals made in the 1920s, but by 1933 the No. 8 model was being made with the familiar cylindrical base. At this time universal joints were also offered for other drive sizes, such as the model MU-8 for 9/32-drive and the F-8 for 3/8-drive.

Early [S-12] 10 Inch Extension with Square Shaft

[Snap-On Early S-12 1/2-Drive 10 Inch Extension]
Fig. 40. Snap-On Early [S-12] 1/2-Drive 10 Inch Extension.

Fig. 40 shows an early 1/2-drive Snap-On 10 inch extension with a square shaft, marked with just the Snap-On logo. The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The drive stud has a spring-loaded detent ball and two fixed stop-balls, the standard construction for early drive tools.

Extensions were not among of the first tools offered by Snap-On, but were added at an early date. The 1926 catalog offered two 1/2-drive extensions, a 5 inch model No. S-6 and a 10 inch No. S-12.


S12 Extension

By the end of the 1920s, the square shaft extensions had been replaced by the now familiar round shafts. The new extensions were made as a single forging with a shoulder stop instead of ball-stops.

[Snap-On S12 1/2-Drive Extension]
Fig. 41. Snap-On 1/2-Drive S12 Extension, 1929.

Fig. 41 shows a 1/2-drive Snap-On S12 extension, marked with the Snap-On logo and with a date code for 1929. The overall length is 10.0 inches.

As the inset shows, the model numbers were being marked on the tools by this time.


SG-12 Swivel-Grip Extension

In addition to plain extensions, Snap-On also offered extensions with a rotating hand grip, which it termed "Swivel-Grip Extensions". The 1926 catalog listed two models, the SG-6 and SG-12, with nominal lengths of 6 and 10 inches, respectively. Interestingly enough, the catalog shows that the swivel-grip extensions were being forged from round bar stock, at a time when plain extensions were still made using a square shaft and a drive socket.

[Snap-On SG-12 Swiverl-Grip Extension]
Fig. 42. Snap-On 1/2-Drive SG-12 Swivel-Grip Extension, 1929.

Fig. 42 shows a 1/2-drive Snap-On SG-12 swivel-grip extension, marked with the Snap-On logo and with a date code for 1929. The overall length is 10.1 inches.

The finish is a thin chrome plating, most of which has now peeled off.

The knurled hand grip is secured with two stop-balls, visible in the photograph. The drive stud on this 1929 model has a milled shoulder, but earlier extensions used two ball-stops.


A17 Drag Link Driver

[Snap-On A17 Drag Link Driver]
Fig. 43. Snap-On A17 Drag Link Driver, with Inset for Date, 1928.

Fig. 43 at the left shows a Snap-On 1/2-drive A17 drag link driver, marked with the Snap-On logo. The overall length is 1.6 inches.

The inset shows the date code "8-" for 1928.


Ratchets

Snap-On introduced its first ratchet in about 1925, the 1/2-drive model No. 7. These early ratchets were all of the female drive type, with a removable plug to change directions. (Reversible ratchets became available in the early 1930s.)


No. 7 1/2-Drive Ratchets

The next figures show two generations of the Snap-On No. 7 ratchet.

[Snap-On Early No. 7 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 44. Snap-On Early No. 7 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1925-1927.

Fig. 44 shows an earlier 1/2-drive Snap-On No. 7 ratchet, marked with the Snap-On logo and "Milwaukee USA" forged into the shank, and with a faint "DIF" forge mark (see lower inset).

The overall length is 9.6 inches. The finish shows traces of nickel plating, although much has been lost due to wear.

This is a relatively early ratchet and is not yet marked with the model number. Later versions have the No. 7 model forged into the shank.

The "DIF" forge mark indicates that the ratchet body was forged by Interstate Drop Forge, a merchant drop-forge operator located in Milwaukee.

[Snap-On No. 7 Ratchet]
Fig. 45. Snap-On 1/2-Drive No. 7 Ratchet, 1929.

Fig. 45 shows a later 1/2-drive Snap-On No. 7 ratchet, marked with "No. 7 Snap-On Milwaukee, U.S.A." forged into the shank, and with a "-9" date code stamped on the cover plate. (The date code is very faint, but if you look closely, you can see the "-9" on the cover plate.)

The overall length is 9.4 inches.

Although not marked with a patent notice, the later ratchet is believed to be covered by patent #1,827,202, filed in 1927 by W.F. Klein and issued in 1931.


5/8-Drive Tools

By 1923 Snap-On was offering a line of "Heavy-Duty" tools in 5/8-drive, initially consisting of a sliding Tee handle, two extensions, and hex sockets in sizes from 15/16 up to 1-7/16. A 5/8-drive ratchet became available a few years later.

In this section we'll look at the heavy-duty drive tools. The heavy-duty sockets have been covered in a previous section on Snap-On 5/8-Drive Sockets.


[HD-5] 5/8-Drive Sliding Tee Handle

[Snap-On 5/8-Drive HD-5 Sliding Tee Handle]
Fig. 46. Snap-On [HD-5] 5/8-Drive Sliding Tee Handle, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 46 shows a 5/8-drive Snap-On [HD-5] sliding Tee handle, marked with just the "Snap-On" logo. The overall length is 18.0 inches.

The 1926 catalog listed this as a model HD-5 "sliding bar", and refers to the 5/8-drive models in general as "Heavy Duty" tools. Other 5/8-drive tools available included an HD-4 speeder, HD-6 and HD-12 extensions, and an HD-7 ratchet.

[HD-7] 5/8-Drive Ratchet

[Snap-On HD-7 5/8-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 47. Snap-On [HD-7] 5/8-Drive Ratchet, ca. 1925-1926.

Fig. 47 shows a 5/8-drive Snap-On HD-7 ratchet, marked with a bold Snap-On logo in forged raised letters, and with "Manufactured by Snap-On Wrench Co. Milwaukee U.S.A." forged into the shank.

The overall length is 18.0 inches.

No date code was found, so the ratchet is presumed to date from 1925-1926.

Later versions (e.g. from 1929) of the 5/8-drive ratchets had a "Pat. Applied For" marking forged into the handle. A search of the patent records identified this as patent #1,827,202, filed in 1927 by W.F. Klein and issued in 1931.

[HD-6] 5/8-Drive 8 Inch Extension

[Snap-On HD-6 5/8-Drive 8 Inch Extension]
Fig. 48. Snap-On [HD-6] 5/8-Drive 8 Inch Extension, with Inset for Date Code, 1927.

Fig. 48 shows a 5/8-drive extension with a square shaft, marked with "Snap-On" and a date code of "-7" for 1927. The overall length is 8.1 inches.

The drive stud has two stop-balls and two detent balls as well. Earlier 5/8-drive tools had only a single detent ball. The shaft of this extension is slightly twisted, a common condition for the 5/8-drive extensions.

This tool was part of a "Super Service" set of tools with a carrying case. Although not marked with a model number, the catalogs show this as a model HD-6 extension; also available was the 16 inch model HD-12, as shown in the next figure.


HD-12 5/8-Drive 16 Inch Extensions

[Snap-On 5/8-Drive HD-12 16 Inch Extension]
Fig. 49. Snap-On [HD-12] 5/8-Drive 16 Inch Extension with Single Detent.

Fig. 49 shows a 5/8-drive extension with a square shaft, marked with just "Snap-On". The overall length is 16.0 inches, and no date code was marked.

The catalog shows this as a model HD-12 extension, and also offered an 8 inch version as model HD-6. This particular extension is an early model and has only a single detent ball on the drive end.

[Snap-On HD-12 5/8-Drive 16 Inch Extension]
Fig. 50. Snap-On [HD-12] 5/8-Drive 16 Inch Extension, with Inset for Marking Detail.

In Fig. 50 we see a somewhat later version of the HD-12 5/8-drive extension, again marked with just "Snap-On".

The overall length is 16.0 inches, and no date code was marked.

This extension has two detent balls on the drive end, to provide a better grip for the heavy 5/8-drive sockets. The sockets of this time all had smooth walls in the drive opening, so the detent balls had to hold the socket by friction alone.

As the photograph shows, the shaft of this extension has been bent by excessive force. This is seen fairly frequently in the 5/8-drive tools, showing that even these heavy-duty tools were sometimes not up to the demands of certains jobs.


7/8-Drive Sockets and Tools

Snap-On's largest drive size for the 1920s was 7/8 (square) drive, the so-called "Giant" series of sockets and tools. These tools were listed in the 1926 catalog with model numbers in the XHD series, which included a T-slider breaker bar, a ratchet, two extensions, and eight hex sockets.

The 7/8-drive tools were not sold in large numbers, as not every repair shop needed (or could afford) these large tools. In addition, the 7/8-drive series was produced only for a short period from the mid 1920s through early 1930s, after which it was superseded by the 1 inch drive size. As a result, these tools are less commonly found today.

Since we have only a few 7/8-drive examples for display, we have grouped the sockets and tools together in this section.

Additional examples of later 7/8-drive tools (from the 1930s) can be seen as 5/8-Drive and 7/8-Drive Tools on a later page.


7/8-Drive Sockets

Hex sockets were available in eight sizes ranging from model XHD-480 (1-1/2) up to model XHD-760 (2-3/8). In addition, two square sockets were also offered, models XHD-446 (1-7/16) and XHD-452 (1-5/8).

The construction and markings for the 7/8-drive sockets are very similar to their 5/8-drive counterparts, but as these tools were introduced later, no S/O-Overstrike markings are known for this drive size.


XHD-640 7/8-Drive 2 Inch Hex Socket

[Snap-On 7/8-Drive XHD-640 2 Inch Hex Socket]
Fig. 51. Snap-On 7/8-Drive XHD-640 2 Inch Hex Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Date Code, 1927.

Fig. 51 shows a 7/8-drive Snap-On 2 inch hex socket with catalog model XHD-640, marked with the Snap-On logo and a "-7" date code for 1927.

The lower inset shows the interior of the socket with the standard cold-broached construction.


XHD-760 7/8-Drive 2-3/8 Hex Socket

[Snap-On 7/8-Drive XHD-760 2-3/8 Hex Socket]
Fig. 52. Snap-On 7/8-Drive XHD-760 2-3/8 Hex Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Date Code, 1929.

Fig. 52 shows a 7/8-drive Snap-On 2-3/8 hex socket with catalog model XHD-760, marked with the Snap-On logo and with a date code "-9" for 1929.

The right inset shows the interior of the socket with the standard cold-broached construction. A careful look at the expanded photograph will show the small burrs left by the broaching, suggesting that this socket probably wasn't used very often.


7/8-Drive Tools

The Giant drive tools consisted of an XHD-5 sliding Tee handle, XHD-6 and XHD-12 extensions, and an XHD-7 ratchet. The XHD-7 ratchet was actually just an HD-7 model with a 5/8-drive to 7/8-drive adapter plug.

XHD-5 7/8-Drive Sliding Tee Handle

[Snap-On XHD-5 7/8-Drive Sliding Tee Handle]
Fig. 53. Snap-On [XHD-5] 7/8-Drive Sliding Tee Handle, with Insets for Marking Detail, 1928.

Fig. 53 shows a 7/8-drive Snap-On XHD-5 sliding Tee breaker bar, stamped with the Snap-On logo and with a "-8" date code for 1928.

The bar has a diameter of 1 inch and an overall length of 23.5 inches. The finish is plain steel for the bar and nickel plating for the drive head.

The drive head has two detent balls on the drive stud and an internal detent to keep the head in place along the bar.

XHD-12 7/8-Drive 16 Inch Extension

[Snap-On XHD-12 7/8-Drive 16 Inch Extension]
Fig. 54. Snap-On [XHD-12] 7/8-Drive 16 Inch Extension, with Insets for Marking Detail, 1928.

Fig. 54 shows a 7/8-drive Snap-On XHD-12 16 inch extension, stamped with the Snap-On logo and with a "-8" date code for 1928.

The overall length is 15.6 inches. The finish is plain steel for the shank and nickel plating for the drive head.

The extension has two detent balls and two stop-balls on the drive end. The dual detent balls provide increased friction to help secure the heavy 7/8-drive sockets.


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