Alloy Artifacts  

Craftsman Tools:

Maker "V" And The Modern Era


Table of Contents

Introduction

In an earlier article we reviewed the Early Craftsman Tools of the late 1920s through mid 1940s, and a separate article covered the Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle line of sockets in greater depth. In this page we'll look at the Craftsman "Modern Era" that began around 1945, with a particular emphasis on the manufacturer of the Craftsman "V" series tools. But before revealing the identity of Maker "V", we want to offer some thoughts on the origin and intent of the modern era tools.

Origins of The Modern Style

By the early 1940s the Craftsman brand was about 15 years old and had become highly successful. The Craftsman line included a full range of mechanics' hand tools by this time, from sockets and drive tools to wrenches and pliers, as well as a broad range of woodworking tools and power tools. And the tools had an excellent reputation for quality — from the beginning, the Craftsman line had been built by selecting tools from leading makers, ensuring their quality and functionality.

But something was missing. If you could have looked into the toolbox of someone who had purchased exclusively Craftsman tools during the 1930s, you would have seen a hodge-podge of styles and designs of tools, all of fine quality but without much in common except for the stamped Craftsman name.

If we now look forward to the Craftsman "modern era", the most striking change to be seen is that, for the first time, Craftsman tools had a common design to serve as a brand identity. All of the tools with anything like a handle had polished raised panels stamped with the Craftsman logo, and everything had a polished chrome finish.

From this obvious change we can infer that giving the tools a common design was one of the priorities when Sears started planning their next generation tools. But how did they achieve this? Did they search for a maker with an existing broad line of suitable tools? It would seem that Sears had three choices:

  1. Find an existing manufacturer with a broad line, and willing to act as the contract maker.
  2. Ask potential manufacturers to submit prototype tools as a bid for the contract.
  3. Develop the design and specifications for the tools themselves, and then seek a contract maker.

Of these alternatives, we can easily rule out the first. Existing makers with a full line, such as Bonney, Herbrand, Plomb, or Snap-on, would have been concerned about maintaining their own (higher margin) brand identity. In addition, we know from experience that there weren't any other tools in the 1940s matching the Craftsman "V" style: before finding the actual maker, we conducted an extensive and fruitless search for other brands of tools matching the Craftsman models.

Alternative (2) would seem reasonable, though there's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem here. Existing makers asked to provide prototypes or samples, but without a firm contract in hand, would be likely to offer tools they already made, to avoid the cost of developing new dies and tooling. And if the maker already produced both forged wrenches and socket tools, they were already full-line manufacturers and would have been concerned about diluting their own brands.

The last alternative is intriguing and may seem even a bit radical. A company that designs and specifies a product is already more than half way to being a manufacturer, and Sears has always been considered as just a buyer and retailer, not a manufacturer. However, Sears had long operated a highly-regarded product testing laboratory, and a company that can test to spec is well equipped to write a spec. And by the early 1940s the Sears hardware department knew a lot about tools.

Based on the evidence collected so far, we believe that Sears chose alternative (3). More specifically, they developed the design and specifications for the modern era tools, then "auditioned" multiple companies (at least two) to produce tools to the specification. Furthermore, the initial production runs were not mere prototypes, but were actually sold to the public!

The evidence for this seems clear enough. In researching the early production of the modern era, we were able to collect a number of examples believed to be from around 1945. Multiple tools were found that could be attributed to different makers, but which were basically identical in design and dimensions. The only reasonable conclusion is that both makers were following the same spec, which logically would have to been provided by Sears. We'll present the evidence in the section Prelude to the Modern Style.

Then after this audition process, Sears evaluated the results and chose Maker "V" as their primary contract manufacturer. And that brings us neatly to the next section, where we will finally get to meet Maker "V".

Tracking Maker "V"

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

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

Patent Clues

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

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

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

Springfield Volume II

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

Cruikshank's book includes a photograph of the large modern factory built by Moore in Springfield to support its Craftsman contract, and photographs of the factory and operations can be found beginning on page 52. (In earlier versions of this article we were able to provide links to photographs via Google Books, which unfortunately are no longer offered; however, a preview of the book is still available at Google Books.) The book credits the Danaher Corporation (the later corporate parent of Moore Drop Forging) for several of the photographs, so the information on Moore is presumed to be accurate.

One More Patent ...

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


Patents

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

Manufacturer's Codes

Although Maker "V" was the dominant producer of Craftsman tools during this era, many other companies supplied tools as well. This table shows the manufacturer's codes known to have been used from the mid 1940s through 1970s or later.

Manufacturer's codes used during the early Craftsman years can be seen in the section on Manufacturer's Codes, 1920s to Mid 1940s.

Manufacturer's Codes, Mid 1940s to 1970s
Code Description Manufacturer Usage Period Examples and Notes
AZ-Circle "AZ" in a Circle J.H. Williams 1950s to 1960s Found on Craftsman Locking Adjustable Wrench.
B-Circle "B" in a Circle Unknown 1940s to 1960s? Found on Craftsman 4507 Combination Pliers
and Craftsman 4476 Battery Pliers.
BF Block Letters Japanese Maker 1960s to 1970s? Known on wrenches and pliers, typically with "Japan".
D.I. Block Letters Duro/Indestro 1950s to 1970s? Found on ratcheting box wrenches with raised "=Craftsman=" panel,
e.g. Craftsman Ratcheting Box Wrench.
G-Circle "G" in a Circle Unknown 1950s to 1960s? Found on Craftsman Star Drill.
JW Block Letters J.H. Williams 1960s to 1970s Stamped marking on adjustable wrenches, e.g. Craftsman Adjustable Wrench.
LC Block Letters J.P. Danielson 1930s to 1960s? Stamped code observed on primarily on pliers, e.g. Combination Pliers.
Usage appears to overlap with "A.0." code, e.g. Dunlap Combination Pliers.
LC Block Letters Lectrolite 1950s Forged-in code observed on economy wrenches,
e.g. Dunlap Offset Box Wrench.
N-Square "N" in a Square Unknown 1930s to 1940s? Found on chisels and punches, e.g. Craftsman Punch.
Also noted on Craftsman 4-Position Waterpump Pliers.
P-Circle "P" in a Circle Wilde Tool 1940s to 1960s Stamped or forged.
Often noted on pliers, e.g. Craftsman Angle-Nose Pliers.
Less commonly observed on wrenches.
V Block Letters Moore Drop Forging 1938 Onward Generally stamped, but may be forged on early tools.
WF Block Letters Western Forge 1965 Onward Generally forged into tools.
Y-Circle "Y" in a Circle Unknown 1950s to 1960s Forged-in code found on Craftsman and Dunlap adjustable wrenches.

Manufacturing Dates

The Craftsman modern era extends for many decades from its start in the mid 1940s, and the design of the tools has remained relatively unchanged over this span. With few production changes to rely on, it's therefore difficult to estimate the production date for many of the tools from this period.

One change that did occur though was the addition of model number markings to the tools. The Sears catalogs had long used model numbers in their listings, but these were not actually marked on tools (with a few exceptions) until sometime between 1968 and 1970.

Even this date itself was hard to estimate — the catalogs just use the same model numbers from year to year, and the illustrations don't actually show model number markings. We were able to make an estimate based on observations of Craftsman ratchets with patent pending markings for known patents.

We will try to develop some guidelines for estimating production dates in the modern era.


References and Resources

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


Catalog Coverage

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

Craftsman Tools: Catalog Resources
Year Format Notes
1947 Full Full selection of modern style tools.
Some older "BE" socket sets still listed.
1949 Half No "BE" socket sets, but scattered illustrations of "BE" style sockets.
1952 Half Lists combination wrenches in 10 sizes from 3/8 to 1 inch.
1953 Half Lists "Arc-joint" tongue-and-groove pliers in Craftsman and Dunlap brands.
Rear cover shows "Arc-joint" Craftsman pliers with P-Circle code.
1954 Full Lists Craftsman 8-In-1 ("Dogbone") wrench.
1955 Full  
1957 Full Lists combination wrenches in 12 sizes from 5/16 to 1 inch.
Lists Craftsman 8-In-1 wrench, Craftsman locking adjustable wrenches.
Lists Craftsman flex-box combination wrenches, six sizes 3/8 to 3/4.
1960 Full Lists combination wrenches in 18 sizes from 1/4 to 1-5/16.
Lists Craftsman 8-In-1 wrench, Craftsman locking adjustable wrenches.
Illustration shows Craftsman ratchet with "V" shifter.
1962? Full Dunlap brand tools still listed.
1964 Full No references to Dunlap brand found.
Lists Craftsman 8-In-1 wrench, no locking adjustable wrenches.
Illustration shows Craftsman ratchet with "V" shifter.
1966 Full  
1968 Full  

Prelude to the Modern Style

In this section we'll look at some early examples of Craftsman "modern era" tools that we believe were actually part of an "audition" process leading to the selection of the contract manufacturer. This process would have taken place in the late WWII and early post-war period, when limitations on tool sales to consumers were being lifted.

The examples found so far can be attributed to two different manufacturers, but this raises the question of whether additional manufacturers might have participated. We suspect that there might have been at least one other, but are not ready to present evidence.


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

This next figure shows an early example of the Craftsman "V" series.
[Craftsman V 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 1. Craftsman "V" 3/4x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 1 shows a Craftsman 3/4x7/8 open-end wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel.

The reverse side also has a "V" code forged into the shank.

The overall length is 9.2 inches, and wrench appears to have a thin plated finish.

The faces of this wrench have traces of grinding or milling operations, suggesting production during the wartime period.


Early "V" 1/2 Combination Wrench

[Craftsman V 1/2 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 2. Craftsman "V" 1/2 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

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

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


Early "V" 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Craftsman V 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 3. Craftsman "V" 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945.

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

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Early 11/16 Paneled Combination Wrench

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The cadmium finish suggests a manufacturing date in 1945.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The cadmium finish suggests a manufacturing date in 1945.


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

The next several figures show examples of modern raised-panel wrenches marked with a "P-Circle" manufacturer's code, rather than the more common "V" code. We believe that these examples are highly significant, as they prove that Sears had contracted with multiple makers in the early part of the modern era, before selecting Maker "V" as the primary contractor.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Wrenches

After the sneak preview in the previous section, we'll start reviewing the various wrench styles of the modern era.


Open-End Wrenches


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

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

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

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

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


"V" 17x19mm Open-End Wrench

[Craftsman V 17x19mm Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 13B. Craftsman "V" 17x19mm Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 13B shows a Craftsman "V" 17x19mm open-end wrench, marked with "=Craftsman=" stamped on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

As was standard for open-end wrenches, the sizes are stamped on the faces.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Whitworth (British Standard) Tools

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


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

[Craftsman V 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 14. Craftsman "V" 3/8Wx7/16W Whitworth Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

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

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The opening sizes were measured at 0.72 and 0.83 inches.


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

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

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

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

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

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


44474 "V" 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench

[Craftsman 44474 V 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 16. Craftsman 44474 "V" 3/4x7/8 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1970+.

Fig. 16 shows a Craftsman 44474 "V" 3/4x7/8 tappet wrench, stamped with "Craftsman" on the left face, with "U.S.A." and a "V" code plus the model number on the right face. The reverse faces are stamped with the fractional sizes.

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


Box-End Wrenches


43919 "V" 1/4x5/16 Box-End Wrench

[Craftsman 43919 V 1/4x5/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 17. Craftsman 43919 "V" 1/4x5/16 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail and Side View, ca. 1970+.

Fig. 17 shows a Craftsman 43919 "V" 1/4x5/16 box-end wrench with raised panels, marked with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional sizes stamped on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


"V" 11/16x13/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Craftsman V 11/16x13/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 18. Craftsman "V" 11/16x13/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail and Side View, ca. Before 1970.

Fig. 18 shows a Craftsman "V" 11/16x13/16 offset box-end wrench with raised panels, marked with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional sizes stamped on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 10.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


"V" 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench with Hexagon Openings

[Craftsman V 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 19. Craftsman "V" 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench with Hexagon Openings, with Insets for Reverse Detail and Side View, ca. Before 1970.

Fig. 19 shows a Craftsman "V" 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench with hexagon openings. The paneled shank is stamped with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

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


"V" 5/8x3/4 Short Box-End Wrench

[Craftsman V 5/8x3/4 Short Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 20. Craftsman "V" 5/8x3/4 Short Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail and Side View, ca. Before 1970.

Fig. 20 shows a Craftsman "V" 5/8x3/4 short box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped with "Craftsman" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The short panels on this wrench left no room for the standard "=Craftsman=" double-line logo.


"V" 6x8mm Offset Box-End Wrench

[Craftsman V 6x8mm Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 21. Craftsman "V" 6x8mm Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 21 shows a Craftsman "V" 6x8mm offset box-end wrench with raised panels, stamped with "-Craftsman-" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

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

The absence of a model number suggests production in the 1960s, when metric sizes were becoming more popular.

The small size of this wrench has forced to Craftsman double-line logo to become a "single-line" logo.


42957 "V" 13x15mm Box-End Wrench

[Craftsman 42957 V 13x15mm Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 22. Craftsman 42957 "V" 13x15mm Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1970+.

Fig. 22 shows a Craftsman 42957 "V" 13x15mm box-end wrench with raised panels, marked with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." plus a "V" code and model number on the reverse panel.

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


Combination Wrenches

In the earlier era combination wrenches were limited to six models with sizes ranging from 7/16 to 3/4. This wrench style became increasingly popular in the modern era, and as combination wrenches replaced open-end and box-end wrenches, the range of sizes was increased substantially.

By 1952 four additional sizes — 3/8, 7/8, 15/16, and 1 inch — had been added, and by 1960 combination wrenches were available in 18 sizes from 1/4 to 1-5/16.


"V" 3/8 Combination Wrench

[Craftsman V 3/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 23. Craftsman "V" 3/8 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. Before 1970.

Fig. 23 shows a Craftsman "V" 3/8 combination wrench with raised panels, marked with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional size on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

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

The absence of a model number indicates production up to 1969.


7/16 Combination Wrench

[Craftsman 7/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 24. Craftsman 7/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. Before 1970.

Fig. 24 shows a Craftsman 7/16 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional size on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 5.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The absence of a marked "V" code on this example is unusual and somewhat puzzling — possibly there was an error in setting up the marking machine, and the "V" fell off the end of the panel.


44696 "V" 9/16 Combination Wrench

[Craftsman 44696 V 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 25. Craftsman 44696 "V" 9/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1970+.

Fig. 25 shows a Craftsman 44696 "V" 9/16 combination wrench with raised panels, marked with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional size on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." plus the "V" code and model number on the reverse panel.

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

The marked model number indicates production in 1970 or later.


"V" 14mm Combination Wrench

The demand for metric sizes increased during the 1960s as imported cars became more common.

[Craftsman V 14mm Combination Wrench]
Fig. 26. Craftsman "V" 14mm Combination Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 26 shows a Craftsman "V" 14mm combination wrench with raised panels, marked with "=Craftsman=" and the metric size on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

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

The absence of a marked model number indicates production before 1970, and the metric sizing suggests 1960s production.


"BF" 5/8 Combination Wrench

Although Maker "V" dominated the production of Craftsman tools in the modern era, some other manufacturers did produce Craftsman wrenches in the standard paneled design. This next example is from a Japanese maker using the "BF" manufacturer's code, although the specific manufacturer is not yet known.

[Craftsman BF 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 27. Craftsman "BF" 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1960s+.

Fig. 27 shows a Craftsman "BF" 5/8 combination wrench with raised panels, stamped with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional size on the front panel, with "Chrome Molybdenum" and "BF Japan" plus the fractional size on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench. Note the rounded and polished side of the open end, an extra finishing touch provided by this maker.


Specialty Wrenches


"V" 1/2 Flex-Box Combination Wrench

Flex-box combination wrenches are a variation of the standard combination wrench in which the box end is replaced by a socket attached with a flexible connection. The socket allows the wrench to reach recessed nuts that are inaccessible to a standard wrench, and the flexible connection allows operation at any angle, to help with avoiding obstacles.

Craftsman flex-box combination wrenches were offered in six sizes in the 1957 catalog and have remained as part of the Craftsman line since then.

[Craftsman V 1/2 Flex-Box Combination Wrench]
Fig. 28A. Craftsman "V" 1/2 Flex-Box Combination Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail and Side Views, ca. Late 1950s to 1960s.

Fig. 28A shows a Craftsman "V" 1/2 flex-box combination wrench, stamped with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional size on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

The overall length (fully extended) is 8.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


42545 "V" 5/8 Flex-Box Combination Wrench

[Craftsman 42545 V 5/8 Flex-Box Combination Wrench]
Fig. 28B. Craftsman 42545 "V" 5/8 Flex-Box Combination Wrench, with Insets for Reverse Detail and Side Views, ca. 1970+.

Fig. 28B shows a Craftsman 42545 "V" 5/8 flex-box combination wrench, marked with "=Craftsman=" and the fractional size stamped on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." plus a "V" code and the model number on the reverse panel.

The overall length (fully extended) is 9.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


"V" 9/16x5/8 Battery Wrench

[Craftsman V 9/16x5/8 Battery Wrench]
Fig. 29. Craftsman "V" 9/16x5/8 Battery Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. Late 1940s+.

Fig. 29 shows a Craftsman "V" 9/16x5/8 box-end wrench for battery terminal service, marked with "Craftsman" and the fractional sizes forged into the shank, with a "V" code plus "Battery Wrench" and "U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

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


Sockets and Drive Tools

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


Early Ratchet Style


"V" 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Craftsman V 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 30. Craftsman "V" 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. Late 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 30 shows a Craftsman "V" 1/2-drive ratchet, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel. (Note that the markings are oriented upside-down relative to later production.) The shank also has a forged-in "B" code near the head.

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


V-Shaped Shifters

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


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

[Craftsman V 1/2-Drive Ratchet with V-Shaped Shifter]
Fig. 31. Craftsman "V" 1/2-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1959 to 1960s.

Fig. 31 shows a Craftsman 1/2-drive ratchet with a "V"-shaped shifter, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

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

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

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


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

[Craftsman V 3/8-Drive Ratchet with V-Shaped Shifter]
Fig. 32. Craftsman "V" 3/8-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1959 to 1960s.

Fig. 32 shows a Craftsman 3/8-drive ratchet with a "V"-shaped shifter, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

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

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


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

[Craftsman V 1/4-Drive Ratchet with V-Shaped Shifter]
Fig. 33. Craftsman "V" 1/4-Drive Ratchet with "V"-Shaped Shifter, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1959 to 1960s.

Fig. 33 shows a Craftsman 1/4-drive ratchet with a "V"-shaped shifter, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel.

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

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


Quick-Release Ratchets

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


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

[Craftsman V 3/8-Drive Quick-Release Ratchet]
Fig. 34. Craftsman "V" 3/8-Drive Quick-Release Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1965-1970.

Fig. 34 shows a Craftsman 3/8-drive quick-release ratchet, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code on the reverse panel. The reverse panel is also stamped with a "Pat. No. 3208318" patent notice.

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

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


Quick-Release Dual-Pawl Ratchets

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


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

[Craftsman V 1/2-Drive Quick-Release Dual-Pawl Ratchet]
Fig. 35. Craftsman "V" 1/2-Drive Quick-Release Dual-Pawl Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1968-1970.

Fig. 35 shows a 1/2-drive Craftsman quick-release ratchet with a dual-pawl mechanism, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "=V=" code on the reverse panel. The reverse panel is also stamped with a "Patent Pending" notice.

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

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

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


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

[Craftsman 43788 V 3/8-Drive Quick-release Ratchet]
Fig. 36. Craftsman 43788 "V" 3/8-Drive Quick Release Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1970s.

Fig. 36 shows a Craftsman 43788 3/8-drive quick-release ratchet with a dual-pawl mechanism, stamped "Craftsman" on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "-V-" code on the reverse panel. The reverse panel is also stamped with "U.S. Pats. 3467231 3532013" and "Can. Patented 1971" patent notices.

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

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

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


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

[Craftsman 43187 V 1/4-Drive Quick-release Ratchet]
Fig. 37. Craftsman 43187 "V" 3/8-Drive Quick Release Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side Views, ca. 1968-1970.

Fig. 37 shows a Craftsman 43187 1/4-drive quick-release ratchet with a dual-pawl mechanism, stamped with the "Craftsman" double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "-V-" code on the reverse panel. The reverse panel is also stamped with a "Patent Pending" patent notice.

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

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


Pliers and Cutters

As Craftsman tools entered the modern era, Sears adopted the "Nested Diamonds" pattern as their standard gripping pattern for pliers. This appears to have been an active decision on Sears' part, as even Wilde was forced to switch from their preferred and distinctive "Rope Banded" pattern to the Nested Diamonds pattern. By 1960 though Sears had relented, and Wilde production switched back to their traditional "Rope Banded" pattern.


8 Inch Angle-Nose Pliers

[Craftsman 8 Inch Angle-Nose Gripping Pliers]
Fig. 38. Craftsman 8 Inch Angle-Nose Gripping Pliers, with Insets for Handle and Marking Detail, ca. 1945.

Fig. 38 shows a pair of Craftsman 8 inch angle-nose gripping pliers, marked with a transitional form of the double-line logo resembling "== U.S.A. ==". No manufacturer's code was found on these pliers.

The overall length is 8.0 inches.

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

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


4507 7 Inch Combination Side-Cutting Pliers

[Craftsman 4507 7 Inch Combination Side-Cutting Pliers]
Fig. 39. Craftsman 4507 7 Inch Combination Side-Cutting Pliers, with Insets for Reverse, Side View, and Marking Detail, ca. 1949 to 1960s.

Fig. 39 shows a pair of Craftsman 4507 combination side-cutting pliers, stamped with "Craftsman" and a B-Circle manufacturer's code, with "4507" and "USA" below (see lower right inset).

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with scattered pitting due to rust.

Note that the rivet is flush with the surface on the cutting side, allowing the pliers to cut close to a surface.

A review of the Craftsman catalogs found that the 4507 pliers were first listed in 1947 under the Dunlap brand, and then offered in 1949 under the Craftsman brand. The 4507 pliers remained available at least through 1968, the current limit of our catalogs.


4-Position 10 Inch Waterpump Pliers

[Craftsman 4-Position 10 Inch Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 40. Craftsman 4-Position 10 Inch Waterpump Pliers, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1947.

Fig. 40 shows a pair of Craftsman 10 inch waterpump pliers with a distinctive 4-position adjustment mechanism. The pliers are stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the handle, with "Forged in U.S.A." and an N-Square manufacturer's code on the reverse.

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

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

Other tools with the N-Square manufacturer's code include punches and chisels, but the manufacturer associated with the code is not yet known.

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


Craftsman 4476 "B" Battery Pliers with Nested-Diamond Pattern

[Craftsman 4476 Battery Pliers]
Fig. 41. Craftsman 4476 Battery Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Late 1940s to Early 1960s.

Fig. 41 shows a pair of Craftsman 4476 battery pliers with the Nested-Diamond handle pattern, stamped with "Craftsman" and "4476 USA", and with a B-Circle manufacturer's code.

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

The upper inset shows the "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern on the handles, which remained in use at least through the early 1960s.

These pliers are copies of the more familiar Wilde Battery Pliers, but were made with slightly different production and marking characteristics. Note that the parting line from the forging is visible through the impressed handle pattern.

Model 4476 battery pliers in this angle-nose style were listed in the 1947 Craftsman tool catalog, and this model continued to be offered through the 1962 catalog. Note though that the model number marking on these pliers is unusual for this era.

The manufacturer of the B-Circle code has not yet been identified.


Production by Wilde Tool

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

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

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


Craftsman [4476] Battery Pliers with Nested-Diamond Pattern

[Craftsman 4476 Battery Pliers]
Fig. 42. Craftsman [4476] Battery Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. Late 1940s to Early 1960s.

Fig. 42 shows a pair of Craftsman [4476] battery pliers with the Nested-Diamond handle pattern, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo and a P-Circle manufacturer's code.

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

The upper inset shows the "Nested Diamonds" gripping pattern on the handles, which remained in use at least through the early 1960s.

Battery pliers in this angle-nose style were listed as model 4476 in the 1947 Craftsman tool catalog, and this model continued to be offered through the 1962 catalog. The P-Circle code identifies the maker as Wilde Tool, and similar but much earlier pliers made by Wilde can be seen as the Early Craftsman Battery Pliers.


Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers with Rope-Banded Handles

[Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 43. Craftsman 11 Inch Waterpump Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 43 shows a fairly recent pair of Craftsman 11 inch waterpump pliers with the rope-banded handle pattern, marked with the Craftsman double-line logo but without a model number. The pliers are also marked with a forged-in "P" code on the underside of the handles (not shown).

The overall length is 10.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

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

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


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

The next several figures show examples of Craftsman "Arc-Joint" tongue-and-groove pliers. The tongue-and-groove design dates back to the classic 1934 patent #1,950,362 by the Champion De Arment (now Channellock) company. This patent expired in the early 1950s, paving the way for competitors to make use of the design. Sears first offered "Arc-Joint" tongue-and-groove pliers in the 1953 Craftsman catalog, and the rear cover illustrates Craftsman "Arc-Joint" pliers with the P-Circle code visible.

[Craftsman 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 44. Craftsman 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1953-1959.

Fig. 44 shows an earlier pair of Craftsman 6 inch tongue-and-groove angle-nose pliers with the older "Nested Diamonds" geometric gripping pattern on the handles. The pliers are stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo near the pivot, with a P-Circle logo below.

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

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

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


[Craftsman 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 45. Craftsman 6 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Angle-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 45 shows a later pair of Craftsman 6 inch tongue-and-groove angle-nose pliers with a rope-banded gripping pattern on the handles. The pliers are stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo near the pivot, with a forged-in "P" code on the underside of the handles.

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

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


Craftsman 10 Inch "Arc-Joint" Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers

[Craftsman 10 Inch Arc-Joint Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 46. Craftsman 10 Inch "Arc-Joint" Tongue-and-Groove Waterpump Pliers, with Insets for Handle Pattern and Marking Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 46 shows a pair of Craftsman 10 inch "Arc-Joint" tongue-and-groove waterpump pliers with the rope-banded pattern, marked with the Craftsman double-line logo, but without a model number. The underside of the handles is also marked with a forged-in "P" code (see left inset), representing the P-Circle manufacturer's code for Wilde.

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

The rope-banded gripping pattern (the long-standing "house pattern" for Wilde) was used for Arc-Joint pliers after 1960. The lack of a model number marking suggests production before 1970 or so.


Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

[Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 47. Craftsman 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 47 shows a pair of Craftsman 6.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers with the rope-banded pattern, stamped with the double-line logo and a small "P" code near the pivot, and with "Alloy Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

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

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


Production by J.P. Danielson

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

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

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


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

[Craftsman 4732 8 Inch Slip-Joint Hose-Clamp Combination Pliers]
Fig. 48. Craftsman 4732 8 Inch Slip-Joint Hose-Clamp Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View, Jaw, and Marking Detail, 1965.

Fig. 48 shows a pair of Craftsman 4732 8 inch slip-joint hose-clamp combination pliers, stamped with "Craftsman" and the model number to the right of the pivot, with an "LC" code and "USA" below. The handle also has a forged-in code "C35" faintly visible on the shoulder.

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

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

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


Adjustable Wrenches

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


Craftsman "Y-Circle" 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

The next two figures show examples of a series of adjustable wrenches offered during the 1950s, notable for the distinctive placement of the hanging hole in the interior of the shank, rather than at the extreme end. This style of adjustable wrench was still illustrated in the 1957 Craftsman catalog, but was not offered in 1960.

[Craftsman Y-Circle 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 49. Craftsman "Y-Circle" 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 49 shows a Craftsman 8 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "8 In." and the Craftsman double-line logo forged into the front, with a "Forged in U.S.A." and a Y-Circle logo forged into the reverse.

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

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

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


Craftsman "Y-Circle" 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Craftsman Y-Circle 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 50. Craftsman "Y-Circle" 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 50 shows a Craftsman 12 inch adjustable wrench, marked with "12 In." and the Craftsman double-line logo forged into the front, with a "Forged in U.S.A." and a Y-Circle logo forged into the reverse.

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

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

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

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


Craftsman 8 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench

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

[Craftsman 8 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 51. Craftsman 8 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1955-1967.

Fig. 51 shows a Craftsman 8 inch adjustable wrench with a locking pin, marked with "Patd in U.S.A." and the Craftsman double-line logo forged into the front, with "Made in U.S.A." and an AZ-Circle logo forged into the reverse.

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

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

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

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

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


Craftsman 10 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench

[Craftsman 10 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 52. Craftsman 10 Inch Locking Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1955-1967.

Fig. 52 shows a Craftsman 10 inch adjustable wrench with a locking pin, marked with "Patd in U.S.A." and the Craftsman double-line logo forged into the front, with "Made in U.S.A." and an AZ-Circle logo forged into the reverse.

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

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

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

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

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


Craftsman 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Craftsman 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 53. Craftsman 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1968-1972.

Fig. 53 shows a Craftsman 8 inch adjustable wrench, stamped "Forged" on the front with "Made in U.S.A." and "JW - Alloy" on the reverse. The reverse shank also shows a forged-in code "L" next to the hole.

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

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

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

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

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


Craftsman 44604 "JW" 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Craftsman 44604 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 54. Craftsman 44604 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1970s+.

Fig. 54 shows a somewhat later example of Williams' production, a Craftsman 44604 10 inch adjustable wrench. The shank is stamped with "-Craftsman-" and "Forged" on the front, with "Made in U.S.A." and "JW - Alloy" on the reverse. A forged-in code "L" appears on the reverse as well.

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

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

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


Chisels and Punches


Craftsman 3/16 Pin Punch

[Craftsman 3/16 Pin Punch]
Fig. 55. Craftsman 3/16 Pin Punch.

Fig. 55 shows a Craftsman 3/16 pin punch, stamped with the double-line logo and an "N-Square" manufacturer's code.

The overall length is 6.1 inches.

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


Craftsman 3/4 Star Drill

[Craftsman 3/4 Star Drill]
Fig. 56. Craftsman 3/4 Star Drill, with Inset for Marking Detail.

Fig. 56 shows a Craftsman 3/4 star drill, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo and a "G-Circle" manufacturer's code.

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

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


Specialty Tools


Craftsman "V" 12 Inch Chain Pipe Wrench

[Craftsman V 12 Inch Chain Pipe Wrench]
Fig. 57. Craftsman "V" 12 Inch Chain Pipe Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 57 shows a Craftsman 12 inch chain pipe wrench, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the raised panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and "Pat. No. 2944452" plus a "V" code on the reverse panel.

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

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


Craftsman 8-In-1 Multi-Socket Wrench

[Craftsman 8-In-1 Multi-Socket Wrench]
Fig. 58. Craftsman 8-In-1 Multi-Socket Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1954-1968.

Fig. 58 shows a Craftsman 8-In-1 multi-socket wrench, marked with the Craftsman double-line logo on the raised panel, and with the fractional sizes and "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse panel.

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

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

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

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


Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers

[Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers]
Fig. 59. Craftsman Snap-Ring Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail.

Fig. 59 at the left shows a pair of Craftsman snap-ring specialty pliers with rope-banded handles, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo and "USA", and with a small "P" in a circle code.

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

The lower inset shows the forged-in "P" code (in a circular depression) on the inside of the handles. The rope-banded handles and P-Circle code indicate production by Wilde.


Craftsman Brake Spring Pliers

[Craftsman Brake Spring Pliers]
Fig. 60. Craftsman Brake Spring Pliers, with Insets for Construction and Marking Detail.

Fig. 60 shows a pair of Craftsman brake spring pliers, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the upper jaw, with a small P-Circle code below.

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

The P-Circle code indicates production by Wilde.


Craftsman 1/4x5/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench

[Craftsman 1/4x5/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 61. Craftsman 1/4x5/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949+.

Fig. 61 shows a Craftsman 1/4x5/16 ratcheting box wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the panel. The body is stamped "Made U.S.A." at the left, with "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off." at the right.

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

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

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


Craftsman 3/8x7/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench

[Craftsman 3/8x7/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 62. Craftsman 3/8x7/16 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949+.

Fig. 62 shows a Craftsman 3/8x7/16 ratcheting box wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the panel. The body is stamped "Made U.S.A." at the left, with "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off." and a "D.I." code at the right.

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

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


Craftsman 13/16x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench

[Craftsman 13/16x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench]
Fig. 63. Craftsman 13/16x7/8 Ratcheting Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949+.

Fig. 63 shows a Craftsman 13/16x7/8 ratcheting box wrench with raised panels, stamped with the Craftsman double-line logo on the panel. The body is stamped "Made U.S.A." at the left, with "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off." code at the right.

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

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

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


Other Brands

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

Other brands used for tools included "Companion" and the "Sears" name itself.


Dunlap Tools

Dunlap brand economy tools continued to be offered until about 1963.


Dunlap "LC" 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Dunlap LC 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 64. Dunlap "LC" 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View, Reverse, and Marking Detail, ca. 1950s.

Fig. 64 shows a Dunlap 3/8x7/16 offset box wrench with gently-sloped depressed panels, marked with "Dunlap" and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse. The front panel also has a forged-in code "X" at the left and "LC" at the right end, seen as a close-up in the middle inset.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The construction of this wrench closely resembles the Lectrolite "TruFit" wrenches produced in the late 1940s and 1950s, as for example the TruFit 3/4x25/32 Offset Box Wrench. Note in particular the gently-sloped depressed panels and the increased width of the shank after the offset. The forged-in "LC" code is believed to represent "Lectrolite Corporation".


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

[Dunlap V 11/16x3/4 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 65. Dunlap "V" 11/16x3/4 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 65 shows a Dunlap 11/16x3/4 offset box wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Dunlap" and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and a "V" code forged into the reverse.

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


Dunlap "LC" 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Dunlap LC 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 66. Dunlap "LC" 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1950s to 1960s.

Fig. 66 shows a Dunlap 5/8 combination wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Dunlap" and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and the fractional sizes forged into the reverse. The front panel also has a forged-in code "T" at the left and "LC" at the right, shown as a close-up in the middle inset.

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

The construction of this wrench closely resembles the Lectrolite "TruFit" combination wrenches produced in the late 1940s and 1950s, as for example the TruFit 9/16 Combination Wrench. Note in particular the gently-sloped depressed panels and the increased width of the shank at the junction with the box end. The forged-in "LC" code is believed to represent "Lectrolite Corporation".


Dunlap 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Dunlap 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 67. Dunlap 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 67 shows a Dunlap 10 inch adjustable wrench, marked with the Dunlap double-line logo and "Dependable Quality" forged into the shank, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse. The shank is also marked with a forged-in Y-Circle logo, visible at the right near the hanging hole.

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

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


Sears Brand Tools

In more recent years Sears has used its own name for a line of economy tools, similar to the Dunlap tools of earlier years.


Sears "BF" 11/16 Combination Wrench

[Sears BF 11/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 68. Sears "BF" 11/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1960s+.

Fig. 68 shows a Sears 11/16 combination wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Sears" and the fractional sizes forged into the front panel, with "Drop Forged" and "BF Japan" plus the fractional sizes forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The Japanese maker associated with the "BF" code has not yet been identified. The "BF" code can also be found on Craftsman wrenches, often with a marking for molybdenum alloy steel.


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