Dating craftsman tools

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Sign up for a new account in our community. Already have an account? Collector's Resource Search In. Posted January 17, Share this post Link to post Share on other sites. Posted June 5, Posted June 11, Posted July 3, Posted July 4, Posted November 1, Posted November 6, Gary has an updated version of this that I need to put up. Create an account or sign in to comment You need to be a member in order to leave a comment Create an account Sign up for a new account in our community.

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Member Statistics 12, Total Members. Week Month Year All Time. The use of the Craftsman block logo and distinctive diamond checkered gripping pattern suggest an early production date for these pliers. The next two figures show later examples of the Craftsman Button's Pattern pliers in the 8. A review of the catalogs shows that this size was offered as model in the late s up through , but had been discontinued by The top inset provides a side view of the pliers, showing the "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern on the handles.

Note the curved transition from the convex surface of the angled side to the flat side of the pliers. The middle inset shows a close-up of the jaw construction, illustrating an important feature of the center cutting slot. Craftsman diagonal cutting pliers were first offered in the Fall and Winter catalog, initially with model number and in two sizes, 5 and 6 inches.

In the Spring and Summer catalog the model number changed to , and the Fall and Winter catalog offered an additional 7 inch size. By the 5 inch diagonal cutters had been discontinued. The underside of one handle is also stamped with "6" or "9" digit see lower inset. The underside of the handles is also stamped with a C-Circle mark see lower inset. The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the distinctive "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern on the handles.

This handle pattern is found on most of the Craftsman Vanadium series pliers. Sears had discontinued the diagonal cutters in the 5 inch size by , giving us an estimated mid s to production date for this tool. These cutters are not marked with a manufacturer's code, a detail that suggests a mid s manufacturing date. The next two figures show examples of the Craftsman Vanadium 7 inch diagonal cutters.

Diagonal cutters in the 7 inch size were first offered in the Sears catalog. The lower inset shows the stamped or forged C-Circle mark on the inside of the handles, probably an identification mark for the manufacturer. Craftsman offered lineman's style side-cutting pliers in two similar models, a lighter version generally listed in the catalogs as "Electrician's Side-Cutting Pliers", and a heavier-duty model called "Lineman's Pliers".

The Electrician's pliers were listed with model number before and under model from onward. These pliers were typically available in sizes 6, 7, and 8 inches, but some years specified the smallest size as 6. Since Craftsman tools of this early era were generally not marked with model numbers, there may be some ambiguity as to whether a given example of the lineman's style should be classified as the Electrician's or Lineman's model. With the limited examples available so far, we have classified the pliers with heavy faceted heads the "Klein Pattern" as the Lineman's model, and the remaining examples as the Electrician's model.

The top inset shows a side-view of the pliers, illustrating the "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern on the handles.

Alloy Artifacts

The lower inset shows the stamped C-Circle mark found on the inside of the handles, which is likely an identification mark for the manufacturer. The rounded head of these pliers is characteristic of the "New England" style of lineman's pliers. The Craftsman tools catalog illustrates the "Electrician's" pliers with this rounded head style, although by this time the pliers were available only in the 7 inch size. Craftsman's heavier-duty lineman's pliers were listed under model number before and under model from onward. The description for these pliers sometimes mentioned the "Klein Pattern" style, a reference to the well-known style popularized by M.

The heavy-duty lineman's pliers were typically available in sizes 6, 7, and 8. Some editions of the Sears catalogs did not list the model Lineman's Pliers, possibly an accidental omission or perhaps a problem with the supplier of the tools. The next two figures show examples of Craftsman 7 inch lineman's pliers from the Vanadium generation.

The underside of one handle is stamped with an "AM42" code, as shown in the lower inset. The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the distinctive "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern generally found on pliers of the Craftsman Vanadium series. The underside of the handles is stamped with a C-Circle mark, which is likely an identification mark for the manufacturer. The handles of these pliers have a distinctive "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern generally found on pliers of the Craftsman Vanadium series.

The next figure shows a later example of Craftsman 7 inch lineman's pliers from the post-Vanadium generation. The underside of one handle is stamped with an "AM43" code, as seen in the lower inset. The next figure shows an example of the Craftsman 8. The next two figures show later examples of the Craftsman 8. The lower inset shows the C-Circle mark forged into the inside of the handles.

A careful examination of this mark shows that the "C" has been incised into a circular depression in the forging die, rather than stamped into the finished handle. The lack of a "Vanadium" marking and the use of a forged-in C-Circle mark suggest a later production date for these pliers, likely from The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the smooth handles without the standard gripping pattern.

Craftsman long nose or needlenose pliers were first listed in the Fall and Winter catalog. The pliers featured side-cutters and were offered as model number , in sizes 6 and 7 inches. By the long nose pliers had changed to model number , and by the 7 inch size had been discontinued. The known catalog illustrations are not detailed enough to show the handle gripping pattern until , at which time the "Nested Diamonds" pattern was definitely in use.

The next two figures show examples of the 6 inch long nose pliers, with differences in the manufacturer's code. The inside of one handle is also marked with an "AM41" code, as shown in the lower inset.

Vintage Craftsman Ratchet | eBay

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern. This pattern can be found on most of the pliers in the Craftsman Vanadium series. The inside of the handles is marked with a forged-in or deeply stamped C-Circle code, as shown in the lower inset. The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the distinctive "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern featured on most of the pliers in the Craftsman Vanadium series. The next figure shows an example of Craftsman needlenose pliers with cutters in a rare 8 inch size.

The inside of each handle is also marked with a forged-in C-Circle code, as illustrated in the lower inset. The next figure shows a rarely-seen example of Craftsman short-jaw chain nose pliers, sometimes called "assembly" pliers. The inside of each handle is also marked with a forged-in C-Circle code see lower inset , and the lower handle has a forged-in "0" code visible near the center. Currently we don't have a catalog reference for this style of pliers.

The lack of the "Vanadium" marking suggests production from Craftsman also offered end nippers in its "Vanadium" line, but we haven't yet located a catalog reference for these pliers. The inside of one handle is also stamped with a C-Circle code, as shown in the lower inset, and the reverse side of one handle has a forged-in "0" code. The handles of these nippers are plain, without the distinctive diamond gripping pattern usually found on Craftsman Vanadium pliers.

This suggests an earlier production date for these nippers. The inside of one handle is also stamped with a stamped C-Circle code not shown , and the lower handle has a forged-in "0" code visible near the center. The handles of these nippers have the distinctive "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern found on most of the Craftsman Vanadium series of pliers. The inset illustrates the distinctive rope-banded gripping pattern, a feature that indicates production by the Wilde Tool Company.

A very similar pair of battery pliers can be seen as the Wilde No. The "C-F" marking is believed to be a manufacturer's code, but was previously unknown before this example was found. These pliers were compared with the Herbrand No. The design and dimensions are very similar, suggesting that Herbrand may be the manufacturer for the "C-F" code. Craftsman adjustable wrenches were first offered in the Fall and Winter catalog in sizes 4, 6, 8, and 10 inches. By a 12 inch size was available as well.

Based on the known examples, these early adjustable wrenches were made for Craftsman by the Diamond Calk Horseshoe Company. By the fall of Craftsman adjustable wrenches were being illustrated with a double-hex broached hanging hole, a feature that along with other production characteristics identifies the manufacturer as the J. The available sizes at this time were 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches. Danielson continued as the maker of Craftsman adjustable wrenches until at least In addition to the Craftsman adjustable wrenches, Sears also offered Merit brand adjustable wrenches.

The Merit models generally had similar features and construction, but with a cheaper finish. Examples of Merit wrenches can be seen in the section on Merit Adjustable Wrenches. The overall length is 4. The head thickness was measured at 0. The construction and markings of this wrench are very similar to the wrenches produced by the Diamond Calk Horseshoe Company during the s and s, such as the Diamond "Tool Steel" 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench. In particular, the "Tool-Steel" and "Drop-Forged" markings are nearly identical to the markings found on Diamond's production. The shank is also marked with "Tool Steel" and "Made in U.

Diamond's production of the late s and s was typically marked with "Tool Steel", "Drop Forged", and "Made in U. Another detail noted for this wrench is that the pin for the adjusting knurl is threaded on the inside end, the standard used by Diamond and Crescent. In contrast, the pins for J. Danielson wrenches are threaded on the outside slotted end. Examples of wrenches in this style are shown in the figures below. Several details noted on this wrench closely resemble the features of the "Bet'R-Grip" adjustable wrenches made by J.

Most importantly, the "Bet'R-Grip" wrenches were also equipped with a double-hex broached opening for the hanging hole, an unusual feature for adjustable wrenches. In addition, a careful look at this wrench shows that the "Craftsman" and "Vanadium" markings were made using a distinctive "Typewriter" font. Danielson is known to have used this Typewriter font on its earlier adjustable wrenches, and on earlier Auto-Kit wrenches as well. Based on these similarities in features and markings, the maker of this wrench can be identified as J.

Although the code is similar to the J.

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Danielson date code, it doesn't match the letter-digit-digit pattern used by Danielson. At first we thought that the "A. Based on this finding, we now believe that the "A. In the absence of a Danielson date code marking, this wrench was likely made in , prior to the introduction of the date codes.

In addition, the shank has a forged-in code "K" visible near the hanging hole, shown as a close-up in the middle inset. The "K" forged-in code on this wrench matches the date code pattern used by J. Danielson, and the "9" year code would indicate production in The next two figures show examples of Craftsman Vanadium wrenches in the 6 inch size, both equipped with broached hanging holes. The shank also has a forged-in code "A. In addition, a careful look at this wrench shows that the "Craftsman-Vanadium" and "Forged in U. Based on the similarities in features and markings, this wrench was very likely made for Craftsman by J.

There is one major difference to be noted between this wrench and the Danielson models, and that is the use of a hexagonal gullet in the opening. All other known Danielson wrenches were made with a square opening, and in fact noted it as a feature. However, Sears Roebuck was a major retailer, and it's reasonable to expect that they could dictate specifications for a large order of tools.

Thus it's likely that J. Danielson readily agreed to modify its wrench openings for the large Craftsman order. The shank also has forged-in codes " The overall length is 6. The "J" forged-in code on this wrench matches the date code pattern used by J. Danielson, and the "0" year code would indicate production in Danielson, as this code has been observed on other Craftsman wrenches. The shank is also marked with a " This example shares the features noted on other Craftsman adjustable wrenches made by J. Danielson, in particular the broached hanging hole, typewriter font markings, and forged-in date code "S" in this particular case.

See for example the Craftsman 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench. The year code "0" in the Danielson date code indicates production in The shank also has the "10 In. The overall length is This example shares most of the features of the other Craftsman wrenches made by J. Danielson, in particular the broached hanging hole and typewriter font markings. The notable difference is the lack of a forged-in date code. Since Danielson is believed to have added the forged-in date codes to adjustable wrenches in , the missing code for this example suggests production in or earlier.

The Danielson "Bet'R-Grip" wrenches were also equipped with a double-hex broached opening for the hanging hole, and the forged-in code "C. These codes have been established as a manufacturing date code system used by Danielson. In addition, a careful look at this wrench shows that the "Vanadium" and "Forged in U. The similarities in features and markings indicate that this wrench was made for Craftsman by J.

One major difference to be noted between this wrench and the Danielson models is the use of a hexagonal gullet in the opening -- all other known Danielson wrenches used a square opening, and in fact noted it as a feature. The finish is plain steel. The "BT" code has been identified as the manufacturer's code for Vlchek Tool, a well-known maker of hammers and striking tools as well as wrenches. The finish is chrome plating. The overall length is 9. The chisel has a plated finish with a dull gray matte surface.

We will need to review the catalogs to estimate the manufacturing date for this chisel. Note that the lack of a "Vanadium" marking does not necessarily indicate later production -- wood chisels typically are made of high carbon steel. This Craftsman offset screwdriver is virtually identical to the Millers Falls No. We measured both tools with digital calipers and found that the cross dimensions matched within a few thousandths, and that the lengths matched within less than 0.

As these differences are likely within normal manufacturing tolerances, Millers Falls is likely the manufacturer for the F-Circle code. Generally we would prefer to have more than one tool available to determine the maker of a manufacturer's code, and we hope to find more examples of the Craftsman F-Circle marking. No discussion of Craftsman tools would be complete without at least some mention of the Dunlap brand, a sister brand used for a line of economy tools.

The Dunlap brand was supposedly named after Tom Dunlap, the manager of the Sears hardware division from the s through the s. Sears filed a trademark application for the Dunlap brand in and the trademark was issued as , on August 1, The trademark registration shows an oval design enclosing the text "Dunlap", and the first use date was listed as January 23, Dunlap tools began appearing in the Sears catalogs in the Fall and Winter edition, and often the new brand was used for tools that had previously been offered under the Merit or Fulton brands.

Dunlap tools continued to be offered at least into the late s. C" code below see lower inset. This pattern closely resembles the gripping pattern used by J.

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Danielson in the s to early , suggesting Danielson as the likely maker of the pliers. See for example the Danielson 8 Inch Combination Pliers. The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the geometric "herringbone" gripping pattern on the handles. This is easily recognized as the pattern used by J.

Danielson for their later pliers, indicating that Danielson was the contract maker for Sears. An example of Danielson's use of this pattern can be seen on the Danielson 8 Inch Combination Pliers.


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  • The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the small diamond checkered gripping pattern. Danielson, in use from the mid to late s on adjustable wrenches. The checkered gripping pattern also matches the pattern used on Danielson production in the s and early s. Although not marked with a model number, the Craftsman Tools catalog lists these pliers as the Dunlap number "Thin Bent Nose Pliers", with a 7 inch nominal length and a 39 cent price.

    The description notes the polished nickel plated finish. The next two figures show examples of Dunlap battery pliers, both marked with a "BT" manufacturer's code. The handles also have a forged-in number "5", one of which is visible in the photograph. The overall length is 7. The finish appears to be nickel plating, with losses due to wear and rust.

    One handle also has a forged-in number "7", visible in the top inset. The manufacturer associated with the "BT" code has been identified as Vlchek Tool, based on a distinctive ratchet marked with this code. The shank is stamped with the Dunlap oval logo and an "A. The finish is nickel plating.

    The "Bet'R-Grip" marking on this example trivially identifies the wrench as production by J. Note also that the forged-in markings use a "Typewriter" font, a characteristic of Danielson's wrenches during the s and early s. This particular wrench is not marked with a Danielson date code, a detail that suggests production before Since Dunlap adjustable wrenches were first offered in , we can estimate the production date as The shank is marked with "Drop Forged" and "Made in U. A close look at the markings on the shank shows the use of a distinctive "Typewriter" font, a marking style used by J.

    Danielson from the early s or earlier through the early s. The construction and markings on this wrench are very similar to the Danielson pipe wrenches, as for example the Danielson 10 Inch Stillson Pipe Wrench. The reverse shank also has a forged-in code "CI" visible at the left. The original finish was black paint, but only a few traces remain due to extensive rust.

    This wrench closely resembles the "CI" marked wrenches made for the Fulton brands. A forged-in code "V" can be seen on the reverse shank as well. The wrenches closely resemble the examples in the previous figures, and each wrench is marked with "Dunlap" forged into a depressed panel, with "Forged in U. The lengths range from 3. The lower left inset shows the patent notice for patent 2,, stamped on the bottom of the holder. This patent was issued in to A.

    Murray, with assignment to the Moore Drop Forging Company, and the patent serves to identify Moore Drop Forging as the contract maker for these tools. This wrench set is highly significant as the earliest known connection to Moore Drop Forging as a contract manufacturer for Sears. The pending status refers to patent 2,, , filed by E. Schultz in and issued in , with assignment to the Nagel-Chase Manufacturing Company.