Alloy Artifacts  

Appendix A: Review of Sears Catalogs

Sears began as a mail-order enterprise and published extensive catalogs to offer their wares, typically with two major editions (Spring-Summer and Fall-Winter) for each year. These catalogs provide an excellent source of information on the types and brands of tools (and many other items) available at the time.

The Sears catalog listings shows that the company was selling tools long before the Craftsman trademark was developed. Earlier tool listings used a combination of internal brands such as Fulton or Merit along with the well-known brands of other companies.

As part of our research activities for this article, we have acquired a substantial number of Sears catalogs. The sections below will provide a brief summary of the tool sections of selected Sears catalogs.


1929-1930 Catalog No. 159 (Fall and Winter)

The 1929 catalog shows only a limited number of Craftsman tools, almost exclusively in the woodworking category. There are Craftsman saws, axes, bit braces, chisels, and planes, but no open-end or adjustable wrenches, no pliers, and no socket sets. It does list a Craftsman tap and die set, however, so the Craftsman selection was expanding into the area of machinist's tools.

The catalog lists a number of other brands of tools, including Millers Falls, Greenfield Tap & Die, Stanley, Starrett, and of course the ubiquitous Fulton and Merit.

The automotive supplies section from pages 584 to 599 offers some tools, including bearing scrapers, fixed-socket wrenches, and other specialty tools. No brands are mentioned though, and the tools are fairly generic in nature.

Socket Sets

Several socket sets are listed in the automotive supplies section on pages 598 and 599. Although no brand names are given, the illustrations show some details that match the known production from Duro Metal Products, but other details leave some ambiguity.

The tool section of the catalog lists five more socket sets on page 1122, with four of the sets giving "Merit Tool" as the brand. All of the sets appear to have been made by Duro Metal Products, with the illustrations for three of the sets showing a convertible handle matching the Duro version, and the other two sets showing large sockets with a turned-down base, a distinctive style used by Duro. (Hinsdale also made a convertible handle, but the sheath has a slightly different shape.)

Chrome Vanadium Open-End Wrenches

Page 1122 lists a "Genuine Chrome Vanadium Steel 5-Piece Wrench Set" for $1.75 postpaid. Although no brand name is given, the metal holder for the set has slots in the back and matches the holder in advertisements for Hinsdale wrenches in Popular Science. The sizes are given as 7/16x1/2, 9/16x19/32, 5/8x11/16, 3/4x25/32, and 13/16x7/8. Examples of these wrenches can be seen in the section on Hinsdale Alloy Steel Open-End Wrenches.

Merit Open-End Wrenches

Page 1122 lists a set of six "Merit Tool" open-end wrenches in a metal holder for $0.68 postpaid. The text notes drop-forged construction and sizes from 1/4 to 7/8.

Merit Adjustable Wrenches

"Crescent Pattern" adjustable wrenches in the Merit brand are listed on page 1122 in both single-ended and double-ended styles. The description notes the use of drop-forged carbon steel for the body and handle, but with "special analysis" tungsten steel for the movable jaw. The illustration shows wrenches with a hexagonal gullet, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches for the single-ended style, and 4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12 inches for the double-ended.

Fulton Pliers

Fulton pliers are listed on page 1122 in a number of styles and sizes.


1930 Catalog No. 160 (Spring and Summer)

Some highlights from this catalog:

This catalog includes 15 pages of tools in the general hardware section (pages 844-858), plus one page of tools in the automobile accessories section. As with the 1929 catalog, the available Craftsman tools are primarily in the woodworking category, including axes, hammers, saws, planes, bit braces, and auger bits. Other Craftsman items included combination squares, calipers, hand drills, electric drills, files, and tin snips.

Items not yet available in the Craftsman brand included box-end wrenches, adjustable wrenches, socket sets, and pliers.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Page 858 of the catalog lists Craftsman open-end wrenches under the heading "Craftsman Chrome Vanadium Wrenches", the earliest known listing for these tools in the Craftsman brand. The illustration shows wrenches with "Craftsman" in an oval on the shank, and the text notes a nickel plated finish. A set of six wrenches in a holder was available for $1.95, with industry-standard sizes 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1031, and 1033C. Individual wrenches were available in 13 sizes from model 1723 through 1033C.

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Page 858 lists tappet wrenches as "Craftsman Chrome Vanadium Steel Tappet Wrench", with two models available, 3002 (7/16x1/2) and 3006 (9/16x5/8). The text notes a satin finish and nickel plated heads. Both models were priced at $0.55 each.

Other Craftsman Tools

Craftsman tools of the following types were listed on pages 844 through 858.

DuroBilt Socket Sets

Page 402 of the automotive section has a paragraph at the top with the heading "DuroBilt - The Height of Durability", and the following text notes the use of "Special Analysis Steel" and heat-treated construction. The remainder of the page includes illustrations and descriptions for a number of DuroBilt socket sets in varying configurations, along with some other socket sets and automotive tools.

When we first found the illustrations and "DuroBilt" brand name in the Sears catalogs we tentatively identified Duro Metal Products as the maker of these sets, and a later acquisition of a DuroBilt Socket Set confirmed Duro Metal Products as the manufacturer. In addition, we belatedly located the "Duro-Bilt" trademark issued to Duro Metal Products in 1930.

The list below describes the DuroBilt socket sets offered on page 402 of the automotive section. Note that all of these sets include hex sockets -- double-hex sockets didn't appear until 1931.

These DuroBilt socket sets are significant in several ways. They establish Sears Roebuck as a retailer of early Duro products, and illustrate the type of socket sets sold by Sears prior to the first Craftsman models. In addition, the Sears catalog descriptions have provided valuable information on the development of Duro socket sets, as we currently don't have Duro Metal Products catalogs covering the late 1920s and early 1930s period.

Merit and Hinsdale Socket Sets

Page 858 lists several socket sets under the Merit and Hinsdale brands.

Merit Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches in the Merit brand are listed on page 858 in both single-ended and double-ended styles. The description notes the use of carbon steel for the body and handle, but with vanadium steel for the movable jaw. The illustration shows wrenches with a hexagonal gullet, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches for the single-ended style, and 4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12 inches for the double-ended.


1930-1931 Catalog No. 161 (Fall and Winter)

Some highlights from this catalog:

This catalog includes 14 pages of tools in the general hardware section (pages 1050-1063), plus one page of tools in the automobile accessories section. As with the earlier catalogs, the available Craftsman tools are primarily in the woodworking category, including axes, hammers, saws, planes, bit braces, and auger bits. Other Craftsman items included combination squares, calipers, hand drills, electric drills, files, and tin snips. This catalog includes the first listings in the Ctraftsman brand for two important tool categories, pliers and adjustable wrenches.

Items not yet available in the Craftsman brand included box-end wrenches and socket sets.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Page 1060 of the catalog lists Craftsman open-end wrenches under the heading "Craftsman Chrome Vanadium Wrenches". The illustration shows a set of six wrenches in a metal carrier, and the text notes a nickel plated finish. A set of six wrenches in a holder was available for $1.75, with industry-standard sizes 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1031, and 1033C. Individual wrenches were available in 13 sizes from model 1723 through 1033C.

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Page 1060 lists tappet wrenches as "Craftsman Chrome Vanadium Steel Tappet Wrench", with two models available, 3002 (7/16x1/2) and 3006 (9/16x5/8). The text notes a satin finish and nickel plated heads. Both models were priced at $0.55 each.

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on page 1060 in a number of styles and sizes, along with cheaper models in the Fulton brand. This is currently our earliest catalog reference for Craftsman pliers.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches are listed on page 1060, along with Merit brand wrenches. The illustration shows a hexagonal gullet and a plain (non-reinforced) hanging hole. The description notes the use of a movable jaw made of vanadium steel and the highly polished nickel plated finish. This is the earliest catalog listing for these tools in the Craftsman brand. Sizes available were 4, 6, 8, and 10 inches in the single-ended style, with prices $0.45, $0.52, $0.64, and $0.79. One double-ended model was available in the 6-8 inch size for $1.10.

Other Craftsman Tools

Craftsman tools of the following types are listed on pages 1050 through 1063.

Merit Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches in the Merit brand are listed on page 1060 in both single-ended and double-ended styles. The description notes the use of carbon steel for the body and handle, but with vanadium steel for the movable jaw. The illustration shows wrenches with a hexagonal gullet, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches for the single-ended style, and 4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12 inches for the double-ended.

DuroBilt Socket Sets

Page 759 lists several DuroBilt socket sets in models similar to those in the previous catalog edition.


1931 Catalog No. 162 (Spring and Summer)

Some highlights from this catalog:

The 1931 Sears spring and summer catalog includes about 15 pages of tools in the general hardware section, plus several additional pages in the automotive supplies section. A wide variety of tool brands can be found, including such names as Fulton, Merit, Pexto, Millers Falls, Hinsdale, and many others. This time was about four years after the Craftsman trademark was registered, and a number of Craftsman-branded tools were available, mostly in the area of woodworking -- saws, planes, files, axes, etc.

At this time Sears frequently offered other brands alongside the Craftsman tools, but almost always as a less-expensive alternative; Craftsman was clearly being groomed as the top-quality brand. Fulton and Merit were probably the most frequently noted alternative brands.

Within the category of mechanic's and automotive service tools, two notable absences deserve mention: there were no Craftsman brand socket sets available at this time, although other brands of socket sets were offered. In addition, no box-end wrenches of any brand were found.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches were listed as "Craftsman Vanadium Steel Wrenches", and the text notes a nickel plated finish. A set of six wrenches in a holder was available for $1.85, with sizes 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1031, and 1033C. Individual wrenches were available in 13 sizes.

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Listed as a "Craftsman Vanadium Steel Tappet Wrench", two models were available, 3002 (7/16x1/2) and 3006 (9/16x5/8), both priced at $0.50. The text notes a satin finish and nickel plated heads.

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers were listed on page 866 in a number of styles and sizes, along with cheaper models in the Fulton and Merit brands. The text notes that the Craftsman models were drop forged of alloy steel; however, only the angle-nose gripping pliers use the phrase "Craftsman Vanadium".

Other Craftsman Tools

DuroBilt Socket Sets

Page 483 of the automotive section has a prominent heading for "DuroBilt Socket Wrench Sets" at the top of the page, followed by illustrations and descriptions for several DuroBilt sets of varying size. Based on the illustrations and brand name, we had tentatively identified the maker of these sets as Duro Metal Products. Somewhat later we were able to acquire a DuroBilt Socket Set, which enabled us to confirm Duro Metal Products as the manufacturer. In addition, we belatedly located the "Duro-Bilt" trademark issued to Duro Metal Products in 1930.

The list below summarizes the DuroBilt and other socket sets listed in the automotive section.

These DuroBilt socket sets are significant in several ways. They establish Sears Roebuck as a retailer of early Duro products, and illustrate the type of socket sets sold by Sears prior to the first Craftsman models. In addition, these sets provide a benchmark for the change from hex to double-hex sockets in the mass markets.

Hinsdale, Merit, and Bobcat Socket Sets

Page 866 in the general hardware and tools section of the catalog lists several socket sets under the Hinsdale, Merit, and "Bob Cat" brand names. (The "Bob Cat" name has been identified as a brand used by Hinsdale for alloy-steel socket sets and other tools).

The listings for alloy-steel socket sets (including the DuroBilt "Super Socket" set mentioned above) show that Sears had recognized the importance of alloy sockets by 1931.

Hinsdale Vanadium Steel 5-Piece Wrench Set

Page 866 lists a set of Hinsdale Vanadium open-end wrenches just below the Craftsman Vanadium open-end wrenches, and at a somewhat lower $1.15 price.

Billings Engineers' Wrench Set

Page 866 listed a set of six Billings open-end wrenches with sizes from 5/16 to 7/8 in a metal holder for $0.65 postpaid. Individual wrenches were offered in industry-standard models from No. 21 to No. 39, with prices ranging from $0.08 up to $0.56 postpaid.

These listings for Billings wrenches would have been carbon-steel models and are notable for their very inexpensive price. Billings was still considered a major brand at this time, and the fact that their carbon-steel models were priced so much lower than other alloy-steel brands shows that the superiority of alloy steel had been recognized at the retail level.

Pexto (Peck, Stow, & Wilcox or P.S.W.)


1931-1932 Catalog No. 163 (Fall and Winter)

The 1931-1932 Sears fall and winter catalog is generally similar to the preceding spring and summer edition.

Within the category of mechanic's and automotive service tools, two notable absences deserve mention: there were no Craftsman brand socket sets available at this time, although other brands of socket sets were offered. In addition, no box-end wrenches of any brand were found.

Craftsman Vanadium Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 845 with the heading "Craftsman Vanadium Wrenches". Wrenches were available in 13 sizes with industry standard model numbers, ranging from model 1723 (3/8x7/16) up to 1033C (15/16x1). The description states that the wrenches are made of vanadium steel and are nickel plated. The illustration shows a set of 13 wrenches with "Craftsman Vanadium Steel" across the front and "Guaranteed a Lifetime" in the upper left corner.

A set of six wrenches in a metal holder was available for $1.90, and a set of 13 wrenches in a canvas roll was priced at $4.15 postpaid.

Craftsman Vanadium Tappet Wrenches

Two models of tappet wrenches are listed on page 845, models 3002 (7/16x1/2) and 3006 (9/16x5/8). The description notes a satin finish with nickel plated heads. Prices $0.50 each.

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers were listed on page 845 in a number of styles and sizes, along with cheaper models in the Fulton and Merit brands. The text notes that the Craftsman models were drop forged of alloy steel; however, only the angle-nose gripping pliers use the phrase "Craftsman Vanadium".

DuroBilt Socket Sets

Page 654 of the automotive section lists several DuroBilt socket sets. As noted in the previous section, the maker of these sets has been identified as Duro Metal Products.

Hinsdale and Bob Cat Socket Sets

Page 845 in the general hardware and tools section of the catalog lists several socket sets under the heading "Save Here on Hinsdale Sets", with brands listed as Hinsdale and "Bob Cat". (The "Bob Cat" name has been identified as a brand used by Hinsdale for alloy-steel socket sets and other tools).


1932 Catalog No. 164 (Spring and Summer)

The 1932 Sears Spring and Summer catalog is generally similar to the 1931 editions, with the listings for tools split between an automotive supplies section (pages 383-385) and a general hardware section (pages 920-931).

Some highlights from this catalog:

As we noted for 1931, the 1932 Spring and Summer catalog still has no listings for Craftsman brand socket sets.

Craftsman Vanadium Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 929 in 13 sizes with industry standard model numbers, with the sizes ranging from 1723 (3/8x7/16) up to 1033C (15/16x1). The description states that the wrenches are made of vanadium steel and have a highly polished nickel plated finish. The illustration of the set of 13 has "Craftsman Vanadium Steel" across the front.

Sets of wrenches were available as follows.

Craftsman Vanadium Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 929 in two sizes, model 1090 (1/2x9/16) and 1092 (5/8x11/16). The description states that the wrenches are made of vanadium steel and have a highly polished nickel plated finish.

The model numbers noted in the catalog suggest that these are references to the examples Craftsman 1090-D and Craftsman 1092-F shown in this article.

Craftsman Pliers

Page 928 lists Craftsman pliers in a number of styles and sizes, along with cheaper models in the Fulton and Merit brands. The text notes that the Craftsman models were drop forged of alloy steel; however, only the angle-nose gripping pliers use the phrase "Craftsman Vanadium".

Note that in this catalog the lighter-duty Electrician's Pliers (model 5778) were not listed.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches are listed on page 928, with the illustration showing a hexagonal gullet and a plain (non-reinforced) hanging hole. The description states that the wrenches are made of vanadium steel ("50% Thinner - 200% Stronger") and have a highly polished nickel plated finish. Sizes available were 4, 6, 8, and 10 inches in the single-ended style, with one 6-8 inch double-ended model.

Merit Wrenches

Merit wrenches are shown on pages 928 and 929 in adjustable, open-end, and right-angle styles.

The Merit adjustable wrenches have a hexagonal gullet and a plain (non-reinforced) hanging hole, and were available in sizes of 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches. Double-headed adjustable wrenches were also available in sizes 4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12 inches.

The Merit right-angle wrenches were available in six sizes, and the illustrations closely resemble the examples shown as the Merit 2725B and Merit 2027 obstruction wrenches. A set of six wrenches in a metal clip was priced at $0.85.

First Listing of Double-Hex Box-End Wrenches

One of the more notable new listings in this catalog is the inclusion of (non-Craftsman) double-hex box wrenches, the first known offering of this type of wrench by Sears. Page 385 in the automotive section lists six models of offset box wrenches, with sizes ranging from 3/8x7/16 up to 15/16x1, and with prices from 39 cents to 65 cents.

The illustration of the wrenches doesn't provide enough detail to directly identify the manufacturer, but it shows a deep offset style, and an inset for the openings describes them as "Twin Hex or 12-Point". The wrenches are on the same page with the Duro-Bilt socket sets described in the next section, which known to have been made by Duro Metal Products. Since Duro is known to have used the term "Twin Hex" for its sockets, Duro would be the likely maker of the box-end wrenches.

Duro-Bilt Socket Sets

Page 385 of the automotive section lists a number of "Duro-Bilt" socket sets in both 6-point and 12-point broachings. (This catalog adds the hyphen to Duro-Bilt, the form used for the trademark registered by Duro.)

Hinsdale and Bob Cat Socket Sets

Page 928 of the general hardware section lists several socket sets under the Hinsdale and "Bob Cat" brands. ("Bob Cat" was a brand used by Hinsdale for its alloy steel tools.)


1932-1933 Catalog No. 165 (Fall and Winter)

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Page 928 of the general hardware section lists two Craftsman socket sets, making this the earliest known listing of socket sets in the Craftsman brand.

Craftsman Vanadium Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 928 in 13 sizes with industry standard model numbers, with the sizes ranging from 1723 (3/8x7/16) up to 1033C (15/16x1). The description states that the wrenches are made of vanadium steel with nickel plated heads, and the illustration shows the marking "Vanadium Steel" on the shank with "Craftsman" on the face.

A set of six wrenches in a metal holder was available for $1.75, and a set of all 13 wrenches in a canvas roll was priced at $3.90 postpaid.

Craftsman Vanadium Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 928 in two sizes, model 1090 (1/2x9/16) and 1092 (5/8x11/16). The description states that the wrenches are made of vanadium steel and have a highly polished nickel plated finish.

The model numbers noted in the catalog suggest that these are references to the examples Craftsman 1090-D and Craftsman 1092-F shown in this article.

Craftsman Pliers

Page 928 lists Craftsman pliers in a number of styles and sizes, along with cheaper models in the Fulton and Merit brands. The text notes that the Craftsman models were drop forged of highest quality carbon tool steel, with fully polished nickel plated finishes.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches are listed on page 928, with the illustration showing a hexagonal gullet and a plain (non-reinforced) hanging hole. The description states that the wrenches are made of vanadium steel ("50% Thinner - 200% Stronger") and have a highly polished nickel plated finish. Wrenches were available in the single-ended style only, in nominal sizes of 4, 6, 8, and 10 inches.

Merit Wrenches

Merit wrenches are listed on page 928 in adjustable, open-end, and right-angle styles.

The Merit adjustable wrenches have a hexagonal gullet and a plain (non-reinforced) hanging hole, and were available in sizes of 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches. Double-ended adjustable wrenches were also available in sizes 4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12 inches.

Open-end wrenches were available in a "Merit Engineers' Wrench Set" with six models, with sizes ranging from 5/16 up to 7/8. The set of six wrenches in a metal holder was priced at $0.65.

The Merit right-angle wrenches were available in six sizes, and the illustrations closely resemble the examples shown as the Merit 2725B and Merit 2027 obstruction wrenches. A set of six wrenches in a metal clip was priced at $0.85.

Super Chrome Vanadium Steel Socket Set

Page 539 of the automotive section lists a 27-piece "Super Twin Hex" socket set under the heading "Super Chrome Vanadium Steel Wrench Set". This set is easily recognized as Duro production by the forged body ratchet, and the description notes that no rivets or bolts are used in the ratchet construction.

The set consists of a drop-forged ratchet, long speeder, flex-head handle, drive plug with screwdriver end, and 11 "Super Twin-Hex" sockets from 7/16 to 1 inch. Also includes a 12-piece "Junior" carbon-steel socket set. The illustration of the ratchet matches the Indestro 3202 Ratchet, an inexpensive forged ratchet widely used by Duro/Indestro. Furnished in an enameled steel box. Price $6.95 postpaid.

Duro-Bilt Socket Sets

Page 539 of the automotive section lists two "Duro-Bilt" socket sets, a 12-point set in chrome nickel steel and a 6-point economy set in "special analysis" steel.


1933 Catalog No. 166 (Spring and Summer)

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Page 774 of the general hardware section lists two Craftsman socket sets.

Hinsdale 9-Piece Set

Page 774 lists a Hinsdale 9-piece socket set as catalog number 5872, in the same section as the Craftsman C-Series sets noted above. The description notes the short "junior" 12-point sockets, presumed to mean 3/8-drive, and the illustration shows sockets with tapered walls and a band of knurling around the base. The set consists of a flex handle with cross-bar and eight sockets from 7/16 to 7/8, furnished in a metal box. Price $0.98.

An example of a Hinsdale set very similar to the description can be seen as the Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Socket Set. This listing is significant in that the description and illustration are similar to known examples of "Craftsman Vanadium" socket sets with a style distinct from the C-Series and "BE" lines.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed as "Craftsman Vanadium Steel Wrenches", finished with nickel plated heads. Thirteen sizes were listed, with industry-standard numbers 1723, 1723A, 1725A, 1725B, 1025, 1027, 1027C, 1729, 1029, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. The illustration shows "Vanadium Steel" marked on the shank. The set of six wrenches in a metal holder was priced at $1.75, with a set of thirteen priced at $3.90 postpaid.

No Craftsman Tappet Wrenches?

No listings for Craftsman-brand tappet wrenches were found, which is somewhat puzzling since these wrenches were listed in previous catalogs.

Craftsman Box-End Wrenches

Page 774 of the general hardware section offers two sets of Craftsman box wrenches, the first known listings for box wrenches under the Craftsman brand. The wrenches were available in two styles: long angled and short offset.

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on page 774 in a number of styles, along with cheaper models in the Merit and Fulton brands. The general description of Craftsman pliers states use of highest quality alloy steel, with large tempered rivets to reduce wear. The illustrations sometimes show a handle pattern, but are not sufficiently detailed identify a specific pattern.

Note that in this catalog Lineman's Pliers (model 5782) were not listed.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches are listed on page 774 as catalog number 5829. The illustration shows a hexagonal gullet and a plain (non-reinforced) hanging hole. The description states that the wrenches are made of vanadium steel ("50% Thinner - 200% Stronger") and have a highly polished nickel plated finish. Wrenches were available in the single-ended style only, in nominal sizes of 4, 6, 8, and 10 inches.

Merit and Fulton Pliers

Merit and Fulton brand pliers were listed on page 774 in a number of styles. The following list is a partial summary of the available models.

"Super Chrome Vanadium" and DuroBilt Socket Sets

Page 385 in the automotive supplies section offers a "Super Chrome Vanadium" set and two DuroBilt socket sets. All of these sets are production by Duro/Indestro.

Box-End Wrenches

Page 385 in the automotive supplies section offers 12-point box-end wrenches in three styles, either as sets or as individual wrenches. The description notes the use of chrome vanadium steel.


1933-1934 Catalog No. 167 (Fall and Winter)

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Page 793 lists Craftsman socket sets with illustrations in the C-Series style described later in this article. A total of five sets were offered:

In addition to the sets listed above, the bottom of page 793 lists two additional socket sets without a clear brand name. A "9-Pc. Socket Wrench Set" is listed as catalog number 5872, with the same illustration as the Hinsdale 9-piece set in the previous catalog edition. The text notes the "short junior 3/8" sockets with eight sizes from 7/16 to 7/8, plus a flex handle and cross-bar. Price $1.19.

Also offered was a "7-Pc. Socket Wrench Set" as catalog number 5784, with no illustration but appearing to be a smaller version of the above set. This set includes six sockets from 1/2 to 7/8 and an offset handle. Price $0.48

These two "no brand" socket sets are significant in appearing to be a transition from sets offered under the Hinsdale brand to sets offered as the Craftsman brand. In the next catalog edition (1934 Spring and Summer), these same catalog numbers are listed as Craftsman sets, with the same illustration and descriptions. One possible explanation is that as this catalog went to press, it was not yet decided whether the brand would be Hinsdale or Craftsman, so the brand was omitted.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 793 under the heading "Craftsman Vanadium Steel Wrenches". The illustrations show depressed panels with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings using the Craftsman underline logo, and this is the earliest known catalog reference for this standard style. The description notes the use of vanadium steel, and the finish is highly polished chrome plating. Eight sizes were available with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. Several sets of wrenches in metal clips are offered, with three wrenches for $0.79, six wrenches for $1.79, and a full set of eight wrenches for $2.55.

As a side note, the illustration of the metal clip for the 6-piece set has distinctive concave front edges, matching the design of the Billings patented wrench holder used for a later Merit "AF" Wrench Set.

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 793 under the heading "Craftsman Vanadium Tappet Wrenches", with three sizes available: 7/16x17/32, 1/2x9/16, and 5/8x11/16. The description notes the highly polished chrome plated finish, but doesn't specify the lengths. Individual wrenches were priced at $0.30 each, and a set of four (two each of sizes 7/16x17/32 and 1/2x9/16) in a metal clip was priced at $1.00.

Craftsman Box-end Wrenches

Craftsman box-end wrenches are listed on page 793 in the short offset and standard offset styles. Somewhat curiously, the standard angled style offered in the preceding Spring-Summer catalog are missing from this edition. The description notes the use of chrome vanadium steel and chrome plated finishes. The illustration of the standard wrenches appears to show a panelled shank, but is not sufficiently detailed to show the markings or whether the panels are raised or depressed. A set of three short offset box wrenches is priced at $1.00, and a set of six standard offset box wrenches is priced at $2.95.

Craftsman Pliers

Page 792 lists Craftsman pliers in a number of styles and sizes, along with cheaper models in the Fulton and Merit brands. The text notes that the Craftsman pliers are drop forged of highest quality steel and have large tempered rivets to reduce wear, and most models have highly polished nickel plated finishes.

Two other Craftsman pliers were listed, but not illustrated: the 5776 Magneto pliers in a 4.5 inch length for $0.45, and the 5774 waterpump pliers in a 9 inch size for $0.95.

Cross Country Socket Sets

Page 496 lists three Cross Country socket sets under the heading "Cross Country Wrenches". The description and illustration for the larger set are almost identical to the "Super Chrome Vanadium Steel Wrench Set" listed in prior catalogs. This catalog and the following Spring-Summer edition are currently our only known references for Cross Country brand tools.

Cross Country Wrenches

Page 496 lists wrenches in the Cross Country brand in a number of styles, including box-end, tappet, and obstruction.


1934 Catalog No. 168 (Spring and Summer)

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman C-Series Socket Sets

Page 827 lists several Craftsman socket sets with illustrations matching the C-Series style described later in this article. A total of five Craftsman C-Series sets were available:

"Craftsman Vanadium" Socket Sets

In addition, page 827 lists two 3/8-drive socket sets of a different style, which are believed to represent the "Craftsman Vanadium" sets.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 827 under the heading "Craftsman Vanadium Steel Wrenches". The illustrations show small oval depressed panels with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings using the Craftsman underline logo. The description notes the use of vanadium steel, and the finish is highly polished chrome plating. Eight sizes were available with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. Several sets of wrenches in metal clips are offered, with three wrenches for $0.85, six wrenches for $1.79, and a full set of eight wrenches for $2.75.

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 827 under the heading "Craftsman Vanadium Tappet Wrenches", with three sizes available: 7/16x17/32, 1/2x9/16, and 5/8x11/16. The description notes the highly polished chrome plated finish, but doesn't specify the lengths. Individual wrenches were priced at $0.32 each, and a set of four (two each of sizes 7/16x17/32 and 1/2x9/16) in a metal clip was priced at $1.15.

Craftsman Box-end Wrenches

Craftsman box-end wrenches are listed on page 827 in the short offset and standard offset styles. The description notes the use of chrome vanadium steel and chrome plated finishes. The illustration of the standard wrenches appears to show a panelled shank, but is not sufficiently detailed to show the markings or whether the panels are raised or depressed. A set of three short offset box wrenches is priced at $0.98, and a set of six standard offset box wrenches is priced at $2.89.

Craftsman Pliers

Page 828 lists Craftsman pliers in a number of styles and sizes, along with cheaper models in the Fulton and Merit brands. The text notes that the Craftsman pliers are drop forged of highest quality steel and have large tempered rivets to reduce wear, and most models have highly polished nickel plated finishes.

Two other Craftsman pliers were listed, but not illustrated: the 5776 Magneto pliers in a 4.5 inch length for $0.45, and the 5774 waterpump pliers in a 9 inch size for $0.95.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman Crescent-style adjustable wrenches are listed on page 827 as "Craftsman Vanadium Adjustable End Wrenches", with model number 5829. The illustration shows the wrenches with plain hanging holes and hexagonal gullets. The text notes the thin jaws and chromium plated finish. In sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, prices $0.48, $0.58, $0.68, $0.89, and $1.15.

Merit Adjustable Wrenches

Page 827 also offers Merit brand adjustable wrenches in both single-ended and double-ended styles. The illustration shows polished faces with a dark body and handle. Available in single-ended sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches, and double-ended sizes 4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12 inches.

Cross Country Socket Sets

Page 416 lists three Cross Country socket sets under the heading "Cross Country Wrenches". The description and illustration for the larger set are almost identical to the "Super Chrome Vanadium Steel Wrench Set" listed in prior catalogs. This catalog and the previous edition are the only known references for Cross Country brand tools.

Cross Country Wrenches

Page 416 lists wrenches in the Cross Country brand in a number of styles, including box-end, tappet, and obstruction.


1934-1935 Catalog No. 169 (Fall and Winter)

The 1934-1935 catalog lists three pages of automotive and mechanic's tools beginning on page 814.

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Craftsman socket sets are listed on page 814 with illustrations matching the C-Series style described later in this article. Four sets are listed:

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed as "Craftsman Vanadium Steel Wrenches", with the finish described as highly polished chrome plating. Eight sizes were available with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. The illustrations show depressed panels with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, using the Craftsman underline logo. The set of eight wrenches in a metal clip was priced at $2.95.

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed in three sizes: 7/16x17/32, 1/2x9/16, and 5/8x11/16, with lengths given as 8, 8.5, and 9 inches respectively. The description notes the use of chrome vanadium steel. A set of six (two of each size) in a steel box was offered at a $1.89 price.

Craftsman Box-end Wrenches

Craftsman box-end wrenches are listed in four style combinations: short or standard length, plus angled or offset models. The standard models are listed as "Craftsman Vanadium 12-Point Box End Wrenches", and the text notes the use of chrome vanadium steel with a chromium plated finish. The larger illustrations show the wrenches with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, and the Craftsman underline logo is used in both the catalog text and the illustrations. The following sets were available:

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on page 816 in a number of styles, along with alternate models in the Merit and Fulton brands. The illustrations sometimes show a handle pattern, but are not sufficiently detailed identify a specific pattern. The following Craftsman pliers are listed:

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman Crescent-style adjustable wrenches are listed as "Craftsman Vanadium Adjustable End Wrenches" with model number 5829. The wrenches are illustrated with broached hanging holes, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached ends. The finish is polished chrome plating. In sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, prices $0.48, $0.58, $0.68, $0.88, and $1.35.

Merit Open-End Wrenches

Sets of Merit brand open-end wrenches are shown on page 815 in a distinctive metal clip with concave edges on the front. An example of this Merit 6-Piece Wrench Set allowed us to identify the metal clip as a patented design assigned to Billings & Spencer, thereby identifying the maker of the wrenches.

Merit Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches are also listed in the Merit brand, with the finish unspecified but appearing to be plain steel with polished faces. Interestingly, the Craftsman models are shown with hexagonal gullets, but the Merit models have a square gullet. Based on the known examples, the catalog descriptions would confirm that these adjustable wrenches were produced for Sears by J.P. Danielson. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches.

Fulton Socket Sets

Economy-grade socket sets were available in the Fulton brand. The catalog lists a Fulton 30-piece "General Purpose" set for $2.49, plus a Fulton 13-piece "Utility" set for $0.89. Based on the illustrations, these Fulton sets are believed to have been made for Sears by S-K tools.

An example of the smaller "Utility" set can be seen as the Fulton 1/2-Drive Socket Set.


1935 Catalog No. 170 (Spring and Summer)

This review is based on the Minneapolis edition of the 1935 Spring and Summer catalog. Craftsman tools are listed on pages 652 through 666, beginning with socket sets and automotive wrenches.

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Craftsman socket sets are listed on page 652 with illustrations matching the C-Series style described later in this article. Four sets are listed:

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 653 in eight sizes, with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. The illustrations show wrenches with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings using the underline logo, but some wrenches are illustrated with wide, gently-sloped depressed panels, while others have a narrow depressed panel. The finish is listed as highly polished chromium plating. Sets of open-end wrenches were available as follows:

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 653 in three sizes: 7/16x17/32, 1/2x9/16, and 5/8x11/16. Curiously, the heading states "10-Inch Tappet Wrenches", but the listing of individual sizes shows lengths of 8, 8.5, and 9 inches, possibly indicating older stock left over. The description notes the use of chrome vanadium steel. A set of six (two of each size) was offered at a $1.89 price.

As the 1934 catalog listed tappet wrenches in shorter lengths, we can take 1935 as the year that the Craftsman 10 inch extra-long tappets became the standard.

Craftsman Box-end Wrenches

Craftsman box-end wrenches are listed on page 652 in four style combinations: long angled, long offset, short angled, and short offset. The illustrations show "Craftsman Vanadium" markings with the underline logo on the long wrenches, but just "Craftsman" on the short styles, and the shanks appear to be flat in the illustrations. Notes the use of chrome vanadium steel with chromium plated finishes. Sets of box wrenches were available as follows:

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on page 654 in a number of styles, along with alternate models in the Merit and Fulton brands. The listings are similar to the 1934 catalog, but the waterpump pliers were not longer available in the Craftsman brand, and the lineman's pliers were no longer available in the 6 inch size. The illustrations sometimes show a handle pattern, but are not sufficiently detailed identify a specific pattern. The following Craftsman pliers are listed:

Merit and Fulton Pliers

Merit and Fulton brand pliers were listed on page 654 in a number of styles. The following list is a partial summary of the available models.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman Crescent-style adjustable wrenches are listed on page 653 as "Craftsman Vanadium Adjustable End Wrenches" with catalog number 4470. The wrenches are illustrated with broached hanging holes, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached ends. The finish is polished chrome plating. In sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, prices $0.45, $0.55, $0.65, $0.85, and $1.25.

Merit Adjustable Wrenches

Merit brand adjustable wrenches are also listed on page 653, with the finish unspecified but appearing to be plain steel with polished faces. Interestingly, the Craftsman models are shown with hexagonal gullets, but the Merit models have a square gullet. Sizes from 4 to 12 inches are noted as having broached holes in the handle. Based on the known examples, the catalog descriptions would confirm that these adjustable wrenches were produced for Sears by J.P. Danielson, at least for the sizes up to 12 inches. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches.

Fulton Socket Sets

Several economy-grade socket sets in the Fulton brand were listed on page 652. The catalog lists a Fulton 30-piece "General Purpose" set for $2.45, plus a Fulton 13-piece "Utility" set for a $0.95 price. Based on the illustrations, these Fulton sets are believed to have been made by S-K tools.

An example of the smaller "Utility" set can be seen as the Fulton 1/2-Drive Socket Set.


1935-1936 Catalog No. 171 (Fall and Winter)

This review is based on the Minneapolis edition of the 1935-1936 Fall and Winter catalog, which shows many significant changes in the mechanic's and automotive tools. Craftsman tools are listed on pages 824 through 843, beginning with socket sets and automotive wrenches.

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Page 824 lists a number of "BE" series socket sets sourced from New Britain Machine, described in detail in our article on the Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle Tools. (This is the earliest known catalog listing for the "BE" style.) In addition, the Craftsman C-Series socket sets listed in earlier catalogs were still available in this catalog, although they were apparently discontinued shortly after this time.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 825 in eight sizes, with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. The illustrations show wide, gently-sloped depressed panels with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, using the Craftsman underline logo. The finish is listed as highly polished chrome plating. Sets of open-end wrenches were available as follows:

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 825 in three sizes: 7/16x17/32, 1/2x9/16, and 5/8x11/16. The description notes the use of chrome vanadium steel, and states that the length is 10 inches, significantly longer than typical 8 inch size favored by other makers. A set of six (two of each size) was offered at a $1.89 price.

Craftsman Box-end Wrenches

Craftsman box-end wrenches are listed on page 825 in four style combinations: long angled, long offset, short angled, and short offset. The illustrations show the wrenches with raised panels and "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, and the illustrations show the Craftsman underline logo in use at this time. Notes the use of chrome vanadium steel with chromium plated finishes. Sets of box wrenches were available as follows:

Craftsman Pliers

The 1935 fall catalog listings for Craftsman pliers are similar to the 1934 spring catalog, but the combination pliers with side cutters were not longer available in the Craftsman brand. The illustrations sometimes show a handle pattern, but are not sufficiently detailed identify a specific pattern. Note that the catalog numbers have changed from prior editions.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches in the Crescent style are listed on page 825 with catalog number 4470. The illustration shows a wrench with a hexagonal gullet and a broached hanging hole, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached opening. The description notes the use of "strongest vanadium steel" with "30% thinner and 200% stronger" jaws, and the finish is noted as chrome plating. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, at prices $0.48, $0.58, $0.68, $0.88, and $1.25 respectively.

Based on the known examples, the catalog descriptions would confirm that these adjustable wrenches were produced for Sears by J.P. Danielson. Examples of these wrenches can be seen in the section on Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches.

Other Craftsman Tools

Pages 825 through 843 included Craftsman tools of the following types.

Merit Adjustable Wrenches

Merit brand adjustable wrenches are listed on page 825 along with the Craftsman models. Both brands are illustrated with broached hanging holes, but the Merit models have a square gullet instead of the hexagonal gullet shown for the Craftsman models. The Merit wrenches have a plain finish with polished faces. Merit wrenches were offered in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches, at prices $0.29, $0.35, $0.45, $0.55, $0.79, $1.19, and $1.65 respectively.

As with the Craftsman models, the Merit adjustable wrenches were produced for Sears by J.P. Danielson, but the Merit versions more closely resemble the "Bet'R-Grip" line. Examples of these wrenches can be seen in the section on Danielson Bet'R-Grip Adjustable Wrenches.

Fulton Socket Sets

Several economy-grade socket sets in the Fulton brand were listed on page 825. The catalog lists a Fulton 30-piece "General Purpose" set for $2.45, plus a Fulton 13-piece "Utility" set for a $0.95 price. Based on the illustrations, these Fulton sets are believed to have been made by S-K tools.

An example of the smaller "Utility" set can be seen as the Fulton 1/2-Drive Socket Set.


1936 Catalog No. 172 (Spring and Summer)

This review is based on the Minneapolis edition of the 1936 Spring and Summer catalog.

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Page 660 lists several "BE" style socket sets sourced from New Britain Machine, described in detail in our article on the Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle Tools. The C-Series socket sets listed in earlier catalogs are no longer available, but similar sets with "BE" style tools are offered instead.

In addition to the above "BE" socket sets, the catalog lists a Craftsman "Heavy Duty" 10-Piece set of 3/4-drive tools, recognizable as production by S-K Tools. This set included a sliding Tee handle, two extensions, and seven double-hex sockets from 1-1/16 to 1-5/8. Furnished in a heavy steel box as as catalog number 6179, with an $8.95 price. This is the earliest listing for a 3/4-drive socket set.

Another notable listing was for a reversible ratchet wrench matching the Craftsman "BT" Ratchet, offered as catalog number 6155 with a $1.98 price. This is the first listing noted for this distinctive ratchet, known to have been made by Vlchek Tool.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 661 under the heading "Craftsman Chromium Plated Vanadium Steel Wrenches". Notes super-thin pear shaped heads, with vanadium steel and highly polished chrome plated finish. The illustrations show wide, gently-sloped depressed panels with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, using the Craftsman underline logo. Eight sizes were available, with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. Sets of open-end wrenches were available as follows:

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 661 under the heading "Chromium Plated 10-Inch Tappet Wrenches". The description notes the use of chrome vanadium steel, and states that the length is 10 inches, "the length mechanics want". Tappet wrenches were available in three sizes: 7/16x17/32, 1/2x9/16, and 5/8x11/16. A set of six (two of each size) in a steel box was offered at a $1.95 price.

Craftsman Box-end Wrenches

Craftsman box-end wrenches are listed on page 661 under the heading "Craftsman Chrome Vanadium Box-End Wrenches", with four style combinations available: long angled, long offset, short angled, and short offset. The illustrations show the wrenches with raised panels and "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, using the Craftsman underline logo. Notes the use of chrome vanadium steel with chromium plated finishes. Sets of box wrenches were available as follows:

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on page 662, along with lower-priced alternatives in the Merit and Fulton brands. Some of the illustrations show a gripping pattern on the handles, but without sufficient detail to identify a specific pattern.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches in the Crescent style are listed on page 661 with catalog number 4470. The illustration shows a wrench with a hexagonal gullet and a broached hanging hole, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached opening. The description notes the use of "strongest vanadium steel" with "30% thinner and 200% stronger" jaws, and the finish is noted as chrome plating. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, at prices $0.48, $0.58, $0.68, $0.88, and $1.25 respectively.

These wrenches have been identified as production for Sears by J.P. Danielson, and several examples are available in the section on Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches.

Merit Adjustable Wrenches

Merit brand adjustable wrenches are listed on page 661 along with the Craftsman models. Both brands are illustrated with broached hanging holes, but the Merit models have a square gullet instead of the hexagonal gullet shown for the Craftsman models. The Merit wrenches have a plain finish with polished faces. Merit wrenches were offered in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches, at prices $0.32, $0.38, $0.45, $0.55, $0.85, $1.39, and $1.95 respectively.

As with the Craftsman models, the Merit adjustable wrenches were produced for Sears by J.P. Danielson. However, the Merit versions more closely resemble Danielson's "Bet'R-Grip" wrenches, with at least some Merit production retaining the "Bet'R-Grip" marking. An example can be seen as the Merit 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench.

Other Tool Listings


1937 Catalog No. 174 (Spring and Summer)

This review is based on the Kansas City edition of the 1937 Spring and Summer catalog. Craftsman tools are listed on pages 641 through 654.

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Page 642 lists several "BE" style socket sets sourced from New Britain Machine, described in detail in our article on the Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle Tools. The C-Series socket sets listed in earlier catalogs are no longer available, but similar sets with "BE" style tools are offered instead.

The reversible ratchet wrench matching the Craftsman "BT" example was also listed separately as catalog number 6155, with a $1.98 price.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 642 under the heading "Craftsman Vanadium Steel Wrenches". Notes super-thin pear shaped heads, with vanadium steel and chrome plated finish. The illustrations show wide, gently-sloped depressed panels with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, using the Craftsman underline logo. Eight sizes were available, with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. Sets of open-end wrenches were available as follows:

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 642 in three sizes: 7/16x17/32, 1/2x9/16, and 5/8x11/16. The description notes the use of chrome plated vanadium steel, and states that the length is 10 inches, "the mechanic's choice". A set of six (two of each size) in a steel box was offered at a $2.35 price.

Craftsman Box-end Wrenches

Craftsman box-end wrenches are listed on page 642 under the heading "Craftsman Chrome Vanadium Box End Wrenches", with four style combinations available: long angled, long offset, short angled, and short offset. The illustrations show the wrenches with raised panels and "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, using the Craftsman underline logo. Notes the use of chrome vanadium steel with chromium plated finishes. Sets of box wrenches were available as follows:

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on page 643, along with lower-priced alternatives in the Merit and Fulton brands. Some of the illustrations show a gripping pattern on the handles, but without sufficient detail to identify a specific pattern.

The Craftsman Button's pattern pliers offered by previous catalogs are not listed here and have apparently been discontinued. Also missing from this catalog are the "Electrician's pliers" (light-duty lineman's style), but these pliers return to later catalogs.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches in the Crescent style are listed on page 643 with catalog number 4470. The illustration shows a wrench with a hexagonal gullet and a broached hanging hole, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached opening. The description notes the use of "strongest vanadium steel" with "30% thinner and 200% stronger" jaws, and the finish is noted as chrome plating. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, at prices $0.45, $0.58, $0.68, $0.88, and $1.25 respectively.

Examples of these wrenches can be seen in the section on Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches.


1938-1939 Catalog No. 177 (Fall and Winter)

This review is based on the Kansas City edition of the 1938 Fall and Winter catalog. Craftsman tools are listed on pages 834 through 851.

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

Page 834 lists several "BE" style socket sets sourced from New Britain Machine, described in detail in our article on the Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle Tools.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Craftsman open-end wrenches are listed on page 834 under the heading "Craftsman Vanadium Steel Wrenches". Notes super-thin pear shaped heads, drop forged chrome vanadium steel, and chrome plated finish. The illustrations show wide, gently-sloped depressed panels with "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, using the Craftsman underline logo. Eight sizes were available, with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. Sets of open-end wrenches were available as follows:

Note: the illustration of the metal clip for the wrench sets closely resembles the Billings patented holder known to have been used for Merit "AF" wrenches.

Merit Open-End Wrenches

A set of Merit brand open-end wrenches is shown on page 834 in a distinctive metal clip with concave edges on the front, closely resembling the patented Billings holder in the Merit 6-Piece Wrench Set. The set is offered as catalog number 4450 at a $0.85 price.

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

Craftsman tappet wrenches are listed on page 834 in three sizes: 7/16x17/32, 1/2x9/16, and 5/8x11/16. The description notes the use of chrome plated, drop forged chrome-vanadium steel, with a 10 inch length. A set of six (two of each size) in a steel box, catalog number 4446, was offered at a $2.15 price.

Craftsman Box-end Wrenches

Three sections of Craftsman box-end wrenches are listed on page 834, with the headings "Craftsman 45-Degree Offset Box Wrenches", "Craftsman Short Box-End Wrenches", and "Craftsman 10-Degree Box Wrenches". According to the text, the short box wrenches actually have 45-degree offsets, so the short angled box wrenches previously offered have been discontinued.

The illustrations show the wrenches with raised panels and "Craftsman Vanadium" markings, using the Craftsman underline logo. The text notes the use of drop forged chrome vanadium steel with chromium plated finishes. Sets of box wrenches were available as follows:

One additional size of long offset box wrench was available, a 1-1/16x1-1/4 model.

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on page 835, along with lower-priced alternatives in the Dunlap Fulton brands. The illustrations show the familiar "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern on the handles.

The Craftsman Button's pattern pliers, omitted from the previous catalog, are back again in 6 and 8 inch sizes. Missing from this catalog are diagonal cutting pliers in the 5 inch size.

Dunlap Pliers

Four models of Dunlap pliers were offered on page 835.

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches in the Crescent style are listed on page 835 with catalog number 4470. The illustration shows a wrench with a hexagonal gullet and a broached hanging hole, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached opening. The description notes the use of drop forged chrome vanadium steel with "30% thinner and 200% stronger" jaws, and the finish is noted as highly polished chrome plating. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, at prices $0.43, $0.53, $0.63, $0.84, and $1.23 respectively.

Examples of these wrenches can be seen in the section on Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches.

Dunlap Adjustable Wrenches

Dunlap adjustable wrenches are listed on page 835 with catalog number 4468, along with the Craftsman models described above. The illustration shows a wrench with a square gullet and a broached hanging hole, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached opening. The description notes the use of drop forged steel with polished jaws. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 18 inches, at prices $0.26, $0.34, $0.42, $0.54, $0.78, $1.29, and $1.89 respectively.

An example of these wrenches can be seen as the Dunlap 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench.

Fulton Socket Sets

Several economy-grade socket sets in the Fulton brand were listed on page 834. The catalog lists a Fulton 30-piece "General Purpose" set for $3.35, a Fulton 13-piece set for $1.25 price, and a 9-piece set for $0.69. Based on the illustrations, these Fulton sets are believed to have been made by S-K tools.

An example of the 13-piece set can be seen as the Fulton 1/2-Drive Socket Set.


1938 Craftsman Tools Catalog

This is the earliest known Sears catalog devoted exclusively to hand tools, mostly of the Craftsman brand but with some other brands listed. The cover shows a semi-transparent adjustable wrench in the foreground with a streamlined automobile, train, and airplane in the blue background. The catalog has no obvious date, but the valve tappet table in the back lists automobiles up through the 1937 model years, so 1938 is probably a good guess. (Others have said 1939 or 1940 though.)

Whatever the year, the contents show a fully developed line of Craftsman mechanics tools, with the sockets and ratchets of the style described in our article on Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle Tools. Of particular note, the "Super Socket Set" shows the ratchets and drive tools with attractive amber plastic handles, a cosmetic feature supplied only on the top end set.

One interesting note is that the catalog text does not use "Craftsman Vanadium" as a brand, although some of the illustrations do show "Craftsman Vanadium" on the tools, and the text frequently notes the use of chrome vanadium steel for the tools. These observations suggest that by this point Sears had begun to distance itself from "Vanadium" as a sub-brand, but was still reminding customers of the use of top-quality alloy steel.

One other change noted with this catalog is that the model numbers for the various tools are all different from those in use earlier in the 1930s.

Craftsman Socket Sets

Pages 3 through 13 of this catalog list a variety of Craftsman socket sets, in drive sizes 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and 3/4. All of the socket sets and tools are part of the "BE" and H-Circle line, except for the 3/4-drive size, which was supplied by S-K.

Craftsman Open-End Wrenches

Open-end wrenches are listed in eight sizes, with industry-standard numbers 1020, 1723, 1725B, 1027, 1729, 1731, 1031, and 1033C. As with previous catalogs, the illustrations that closely resemble the depressed panel Craftsman Vanadium wrenches shown in this article. The text mentions the use of drop forged chrome vanadium steel. A set of all eight sizes in a metal clip holder was offered at a $3.29 price.

Craftsman Tappet Wrenches

The tappet wrench illustrations don't show much detail for the markings, but the text notes use of heat-treated chrome vanadium steel with a chrome-plated finish, and the "popular" 10 inch length. A set of six wrenches (two of each size) was offered at a $2.45 price.

Craftsman Box-End Wrenches

Box-end wrenches are shown in all combinations of offset and straight with standard and short lengths. The illustrations closely resemble the raised panel Craftsman Vanadium wrenches shown in this article, and some of the illustrations are sufficiently detailed to show the "Craftsman Vanadium" marking on the panels, although no manufacturer's codes are visible. The text refers to the use of chrome vanadium steel in the wrenches.

Craftsman Combination Wrenches

Combination wrenches are listed in six sizes from 7/16 to 3/4 inch. The illustration shows the wrenches with a raised panel marked with "Craftsman Vanadium" and the size. A set of six wrenches in a metal box was priced at $2.75.

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on pages 20 and 21 in a number of styles, and the illustration shows five particular styles with the distinctive "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern clearly visible on the handles. These five types are described as being made of drop forged chrome vanadium steel, and the catalog mentions the "attractive knurled handles". The five types are:

Note that in this catalog the Craftsman Button's Pattern pliers were no longer listed. Also, a number of size options have been discontinued: diagonal cutting pliers in the 5 inch size, electrician's pliers in 6 and 8 inch sizes, and lineman's pliers in the 6 inch size, and long nose pliers in the 7 inch size were no longer listed.

Two additional Craftsman pliers are illustrated without detail on the gripping pattern:

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches are listed on page 17, and the illustration shows a broached hanging hole and hexagonal gullet. The description notes "40% thinner jaws" yet "200% stronger", and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached ends. Illustrated with a chrome finish. Craftsman wrenches were offered in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, at prices $0.59, $0.69, $0.80, $1.10, and $1.59 respectively.

Based on the catalog description and illustration, these adjustable wrenches were produced for Sears by J.P. Danielson. Examples of these wrenches can be seen in the section on Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches.

"Dunlap" Brand

On another interesting note, the "Dunlap" brand used by Sears makes an appearance in this catalog. Dunlap tools listed include adjustable wrenches, pipe wrenches, pliers, body and fender tools, screwdrivers, and hand drills.

Dunlap Adjustable Wrenches

Dunlap adjustable wrenches are listed on page 17 along with the Craftsman models. The Dunlap wrenches have a broached hanging hole like the Craftsman version, but are illustrated with a square gullet and black finish. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 16 inches, at prices $0.35, $0.39, $0.49, $0.79, $0.98, and $1.79 respectively.

These Dunlap wrenches are basically identical to the adjustable wrenches listed under the "Merit" brand in the 1934-1937 catalog editions.


1941 Catalog No. 182 (Spring and Summer)

This review is based on the Boston edition of the 1941 Spring and Summer catalog. Craftsman tools are listed on pages 914 through 936.

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Combination Wrenches

Combination wrenches are listed on page 925 in six sizes, ranging from 7/16 to 3/4 inch. The style resembles the box-end wrenches with the raised panel, marked with "Craftsman Vanadium" on the panel. A set of six wrenches in a metal box was priced at $1.98.

Craftsman Pliers

Craftsman pliers are listed on page 923, along with lower-priced alternatives in the Dunlap and Fulton brands. The illustration of the angle-nose pliers clearly shows the "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern.

Craftsman "Button Pattern" pliers are listed again, after being omitted from some previous editions, but are available only in an 8.5 inch size. (Previously they were offered in 6, 8, and 10 inch sizes.)

Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches

Craftsman adjustable wrenches in the Crescent style are listed on page 924 with catalog number 4470. The illustration shows a wrench with a hexagonal gullet and a broached hanging hole, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached opening. The description notes the use of "chrome vanadium steel" and the finish is noted as chrome plating. Available in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, at prices $0.52, $0.63, $0.75, $0.95, and $1.45 respectively.

Examples of these wrenches can be seen in the section on Craftsman Adjustable Wrenches.


1942 Craftsman Mechanics Tools Catalog

The cover of this catalog shows a well-groomed service technician wearing a white lab coat as he works on a nicely degreased flat-head engine. The catalog is well produced with high-quality illustrations, and the 1942 date is clearly stated on the front of the catalog.

An interesting detail noted in this catalog is that references to the steel content of tools use the phrase "special alloy steel" (or comparable), rather than more specific "chrome vanadium" or "vanadium steel" used in earlier catalogs.

Some highlights from this catalog:

Craftsman Socket Sets

The catalog shows a number of socket sets and individual tools in the style described in our article on Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle Tools. The only exceptions are the heavy-duty (3/4-drive) sets and tools, which are easily recognized as S-K production for Craftsman. (See our article on Sherman-Klove and S-K Tools for more information.)

The high-end amber handle tools previously offered in the "Super Socket Set" are now available in a 125-piece "Master De Luxe" set and a 48-piece "De Luxe" set, the latter being the successor to the "Super Socket Set".

Craftsman Tappet, Open-End, and Box-End Wrenches

The listings for these wrenches are very similar to those in the previous catalog, with the same sizes and styles available. The most significant change noted is that the illustrations have had the "Vanadium" removed from the former "Craftsman Vanadium" marking. In addition, previous references to the use of chrome vanadium steel have become simply "special alloy steel".

Craftsman Combination Wrenches

Combination wrenches are listed in six sizes from 7/16 to 3/4 inch. The style resembles the box-end wrenches with the raised panel, marked by this time with just the Craftsman underline logo. A set of six wrenches in a metal box was priced at $2.95.

Craftsman Pliers

The 1942 catalog shows four styles of Craftsman pliers with the "Nested Diamond" gripping pattern, one fewer than in the previous catalog. (The "Electrician's Side-Cutting Pliers" had been discontinued.) The text notes the use of "special alloy steel".

Two additional Craftsman models are illustrated without detail on the gripping pattern.

Adjustable Wrenches

Adjustable wrenches in the Crescent style are listed in both Craftsman and Merit brands. Both brands are illustrated with broached hanging holes, and the text confirms the presence of the 12-point broached ends. As noted in previous years, the Craftsman models are shown with hexagonal gullets, but the Merit models have a square gullet. Craftsman models are listed in sizes 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches, at prices $0.69, $0.89, $0.98, $1.19, and $1.85 respectively.

The catalog descriptions and known examples confirm that these adjustable wrenches were produced for Sears by J.P. Danielson.

Dunlap Tools

Numerous tools are listed in the Dunlap brand.


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