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Contract Production

The previous sections have looked at Duro and Indestro tools marked with their own trademarks or informal brands. Duro was also very active as a contract manufacturer for other companies, and these contract tools were generally marked with the other companies' trademarks. In this page we'll look at some examples of Duro production marked for other companies.

The examples below are representative of the contract production, but there are likely many more examples that have yet to be identified.


Perfection

The 1933 Western Auto catalog offered a series of six offset box wrenches under the heading "Perfection Quality", listed right under the section for their top-quality Van-Chrome Multi-Hex offset box wrenches. The catalog noted that the Perfection wrenches were of identical shape and size as the Multi-Hex line, but were available at a significant discount, $2.98 for the set of six, compared with $4.85 for the Multi-Hex.

We've found a few wrenches marked "Perfection" and believe that these are the items sold by Western Auto. The wrenches are very similar to the Indestro Polygon examples, and also closely resemble the Herbrand Multi-Hex wrenches. These observations suggest that the Perfection wrenches were made by Duro/Indestro as intentional copies of the Herbrand models, probably in an attempt to win the Western Auto production contract.


Perfection P-27 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Perfection P-27 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 269. Perfection P-27 5/8x11/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1933.

Fig. 269 shows a Perfection P-27 5/8x11/16 offset box wrench, stamped "Perfection" with the fractional sizes on the front, with "Chromium-Vanadium" on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with extensive losses due to rust.


ChromeXQuality

"ChromeXQuality" was until recently a mystery brand, as a number sockets and drive tools of apparent Duro production had been found, but no information on the mark could be located. This mark has now been identified as an brand used by Western Auto during the 1930s. A 1937 Western Auto catalog shows many examples of the ChromeXQuality brand, sometimes written as "Chrome-X Quality" or just "Chrome-X". This brand was their top-of-the-line at the time, and the catalog notes that these tools were made of Chrome-Molybdenum or Chrome-Vanadium steels. Western Auto offered a lifetime free replacement guarantee for ChromeXQuality tools.

Based on Western Auto historical sources, the ChromeXQuality mark first appeared in 1936, and was their first private-brand label for hand tools. The line of tools proved successful, but in 1940 Western Auto switched to the "Wizard" brand name for the top-quality tools. (Wizard was their favorite brand name, and it appeared on a wide variety of products.) The relatively short usage interval for ChromeXQuality is actually fortunate, as it allows the manufacturing date to be estimated as 1936-1939 for tools with this mark.

Most of the known examples of ChromeXQuality tools can be readily identified as Duro or Vlchek production, and just recently Herbrand was identified as a third producer. Other producers may have been used as well, particularly for certain specialty tools.

Currently our examples of ChromeXQuality are being prepared for display, and this section will be updated periodically as items become available. Additional examples are available in the Vlchek Production and Herbrand Production sections.

As a side note, it's worth mentioning that Western Auto also used a brand "Master Quality" to indicate their second-tier tools. The term "Master Quality" was also used by Montgomery Ward as a brand, but for their top-grade products, so Western Auto's usage may have been intended as a dig against the competition. (Neither company had registered "Master Quality" as a trademark, so it was open to such abuse.) Based on a catalog illustration, one supplier of Western Auto "Master Quality" tools has been identified as Barcalo Manufacturing of Buffalo, New York.

Additional information on Western Auto tools can be found in our article on Western Auto Supply.


ChromeXQuality N693 1/2-Drive Socket Set

[ChromeXQuality N693 1/2-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 270. ChromeXQuality N693 1/2-Drive Socket Set, ca. 1936-1937.

Fig. 270 shows an early ChromeXQuality N693 1/2-drive socket set, consisting of a flex-head handle and eight double-hex sockets. The set is marked with a decal on the inside cover, displaying the ChromeXQuality brand with "Deluxe Vanadium Steel Tools", and with "Western Auto Supply Co." at the bottom.

The socket sizes are, from right to left, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 19/32, 5/8, 21/32, 11/16, 3/4, and 13/16. Each socket is marked with "ChromeXQuality" and "Vanadium Steel", but without a model number.

The flex handle is marked with "Chromium Vanadium" on the shank.

The set as acquired was missing the 7/16, 1/2, 11/16, and 3/4 sockets, and also included an extra 1-1/16 socket of the same style. The missing sizes have been replaced with sockets of the same style and markings.

The set is not marked with a model number, but the N693 model and standard contents were identified by reference to the Western Auto Supply catalogs for 1936 and 1937. The 1936 catalog referred to this model as the "Beginner's Socket Set", but by 1937 it was being called the "Auto Owner's Set".


ChromeXQuality 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handles

The next two figures show examples of 1/2-drive flex handles supplied with ChromeXQuality sets, beginning with the tool from the N693 set.

[ChromeXQuality 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle from N693 Set]
Fig. 271. ChromeXQuality 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle from N693 Set, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1936-1937.

Fig. 271 shows the 1/2-drive flex-head handle from the ChromeXQuality N693 set, marked with "Chromium Vanadium" stamped on the shank.

The overall length is 11.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The breaker bar is equipped with a fixed male drive stud on the handle end, allowing it to be used as an extension with a female-drive ratchet. (Female drive ratchets were still quite common in the mid to late 1930s, but were being replaced by male drive tools.) In addition to the male drive stud, the handle has a cross-bar hole to allow use as a Tee-handle.

This breaker bar closely resembles the illustration in a 1937 Western Auto catalog, and is basically identical to the standard Indestro 3221 flex handle of that period. An example of the Indestro model can be seen as the Indestro "Chromium-Vanadium" 3221 Flex Handle.


[ChromeXQuality 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 272. ChromeXQuality 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle, with Inset for Detail, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 272 shows another example of a 1/2-drive ChromeXQuality flex-head handle, stamped "ChromeXQuality" and "Vanadium Steel" on the shank.

The overall length is 11.6 inches. The finish was originally chrome plating, though much has now worn off; a close look at the photograph shows that this tool has led a hard life.

As with the previous example, the handle of this tool is equipped with both a cross-bar hole and a 1/2-drive stud. These features allow use as a Tee-handle (with a cross-bar) and as an extension with a female-drive ratchet. (Female drive ratchets were still quite common in the mid to late 1930s.)


ChromeXQuality N705 3/8-Drive Socket Set

[ChromeXQuality N705 3/8-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 273. ChromeXQuality N705 3/8-Drive Socket Set, ca. 1938-1939.

Fig. 273 shows a ChromeXQuality N705 3/8-drive socket set with most of its original sockets, but missing a few of the drive tools. The decal on the inside cover reads "Deluxe ChromeXQuality Vanadium Steel Tools" with "Western Auto Supply Co." at the bottom.

The model number of the set is not marked, but was identified by reference to the 1938 Western Auto catalog. The original contents included seven double-hex sockets, three double-square sockets, a ratchet, a flex-head breaker bar, an extension, and a screwdriver bit. The set as acquired had all of the sockets except for the 9/16 double-hex size, but included only the ratchet as a drive tool.

The tools in the set are not marked with the ChromeXQuality brand, but carry the standard markings for the Indestro "Super Quality" line of the late 1930s. This is believed to indicate a later production date for the set; in order to keep costs down, socket sets for Western Auto were filled from standard Indestro production, leaving only the decal to indicate the specific brand.

The dimensions of the box (in inches) are 9.5 long by 3.2 wide by 1.3 high.


Chromium Vanadium 27xx 3/8-Drive Double-Hex Sockets

[Chromium Vanadium 27xx Sockets from ChromeXQuality N705 3/8-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 274. Chromium Vanadium 27xx Sockets from ChromeXQuality N705 3/8-Drive Socket Set, ca. 1938-1939.

Fig. 274 at the left shows the double-hex sockets from the ChromeXQuality N705 set, all marked "Chromium Vanadium" with model numbers and the fractional sizes.

The model numbers and sizes are, from the left, 2712 (3/8), 2714 (7/16), 2716 (1/2), 2720 (5/8), 2722 (11/16), and 2724 (3/4). One socket is missing from the set, the model 2718 9/16 size.

Based on the model numbers and markings on the sockets, these are the standard 3/8-drive sockets offered by Indestro as part of its "Super Quality" product line in the late 1930s.


[Chromium Vanadium 2724 3/8-Drive 3/4 Socket]
Fig. 275. Chromium Vanadium 2724 3/8-Drive 3/4 Socket, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail.

Fig. 275 at the left shows more detail for the 2724 3/4 socket in the above figure. The interior of the socket (see right inset) illustrates the typical hot-broached construction used by Duro/Indestro from 1935 onward.


Indestro 2888 3/8-Drive Ratchet

[Indestro 2888 3/8-Drive Ratchet from ChromeXQuality N705 Set]
Fig. 276. Indestro 2888 3/8-Drive Ratchet from ChromeXQuality N705 Set, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1938-1939.

Fig. 276 at the left shows the 3/8-drive ratchet from the N705 set, marked "Made in U.S.A." and "Pat. No. 1,902,878" on the cover plate, with "No. 2888" on the reverse (see lower inset).

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

As was often the case for contract production, the ratchet is not marked with a company name or brand, but can be readily identified as Indestro production by the pressed-flange construction and #1,902,878 patent notice. In addition, the model number 2888 is listed as a 3/8-drive ratchet in the Indestro Super Quality (later Indestro Super) product line.

Other examples of ratchets made with the pressed-flange construction method include the Duro 678D Ratchet and Indestro 3202 Ratchet.


ChromeXQuality 1027 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench

[ChromeXQuality 1027 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 277. ChromeXQuality 1027 19/32x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 277 shows a ChromeXQuality 1027 19/32x11/16 open-end wrench, stamped with "Vanadium Steel" and the model number on the front faces, with "Forged in U.S.A." and the fractional sizes on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.2 inches, and the finish is nickel or chrome plating.

The use of the "Forged in U.S.A." marking along a curved arc identifies this wrench as Duro production.


ChromeXQuality 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

The 1937 Western Auto catalog listed a group of six deep offset box-end wrenches in their ChromeXQuality brand, with sizes ranging from 3/8x7/16 up to 15/16x1. The text noted that they were chrome-molybdenum or chrome-vanadium steel, and were offered with a lifetime free replacement guarantee. We have acquired several examples of these wrenches, all of Duro/Indestro production, as the following figures will show.

[ChromeXQuality 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 278. ChromeXQuality 3/8x7/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 278 shows a ChromeXQuality 3/8x7/16 offset box-end wrench with raised parallelogram panels, stamped with "ChromeXQuality" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends and panels.

The wrench can be identified as Duro/Indestro production by the design of the box-end forgings and general construction, the raised parallelogram panels, and the use of a slanted font for the "Chrome Vanadium Steel" marking.


ChromeXQuality 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[ChromeXQuality 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 279. ChromeXQuality 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 279 shows a ChromeXQuality 1/2x9/16 offset box-end wrench with raised parallelogram panels, stamped with "ChromeXQuality" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends and panels.

The wrench can be identified as Duro/Indestro production by the design of the box-end forgings and general construction, as well as the use of the slanted script for the "Chrome Vanadium Steel" mark.


ChromeXQuality 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[ChromeXQuality 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 280. ChromeXQuality 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 280 shows a ChromeXQuality 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench with raised parallelogram panels, stamped with "ChromeXQuality" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends and panels.

The wrench can be identified as Duro/Indestro production by the design of the box-end forgings and general construction, as well as the use of the slanted script for the "Chrome Vanadium Steel" mark.

Western Auto offered these wrenches at extremely attractive prices, ranging from $0.42 for the 3/8x7/16 size to $0.69 for the 15/16x1. By comparison, the 1938 Duro-Chrome catalog listed prices of $0.90 and $1.95 for their "Handy-Twin-Hex" equivalent wrenches (models 2051 and 2056 respectively.)


ChromeXQuality 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench

[ChromeXQuality 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 281. ChromeXQuality 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 281 shows a similar ChromeXQuality 3/4x25/32 offset wrench with raised parallelogram panels, stamped with "ChromeXQuality" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plate with polished ends and panels.

The wrench can be identified as Duro/Indestro production by the design of the box-end forgings and general construction, as well as the use of the slanted script for the "Chrome Vanadium Steel" mark.

ChromeXQuality 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench

[ChromeXQuality 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 282. ChromeXQuality 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1936-1939.

In Fig. 282 we see the largest of the group of wrenches, a ChromeXQuality 15/16x1 offset box wrench with raised parallelogram panels, stamped with "ChromeXQuality" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 14.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends and panels, with some finish loss and pitting due to rust.

The wrench can be identified as Duro/Indestro production by the design of the box-end forgings and general construction, as well as the use of the slanted script for the "Chrome Vanadium Steel" mark.


ChromeXQuality 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench

The ChromeXQuality line also included straight box wrenches, as the next figure illustrates.

[ChromeXQuality 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 283. ChromeXQuality 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 283 shows a ChromeXQuality 1/2x9/16 box-end wrench with raised parallelogram panels, stamped with "ChromeXQuality" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends and faces.

The wrench can be identified as Duro production by the design and construction, and the use of a slanted font for the "Chrome Vanadium Steel" marking.


ChromeXQuality 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench

[ChromeXQuality 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 284. ChromeXQuality 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1936-1939.

Fig. 284 shows a ChromeXQuality 3/4x7/8 box-end wrench with raised parallelogram panels, stamped with "ChromeXQuality" and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends and faces.

The wrench can be identified as Duro production by the design and construction, and the use of a slanted font for the "Chrome Vanadium Steel" marking.


Wizard and Westcraft

Wizard and Westcraft were registered trademarks of the Western Auto Supply Company, and both marks were used for a line of hand tools. Duro/Indestro was a major supplier for these lines, as was Vlchek Tool of Cleveland and possibly other companies. (See our article on Vlchek contract production for more information.) The Duro tools known to be sourced for Western Auto include ratchets, sockets, drive tools, tappet wrenches, and some double-box wrenches.

The Wizard brand was the immediate successor of the ChromeXQuality mark shown previously, and was generally (or exclusively) used for their top-quality tools.


Wizard H2833 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Wizard H2833 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 285. Wizard H2833 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 285 below shows a Wizard model H2833 1/2-drive fine-tooth ratchet, with a small "D" next to the brand and "Forged in U.S.A." marked on the reverse. The overall length is 10.3 inches.

The ratchet mechanism is marked with patent #2,686,582, issued in 1954 to Odlum and Hosford of Duro Metal Products. (This patent will be seen on most of the Duro and Indestro fine-tooth ratchets.)

A check of the Indestro catalog for 1961 shows that this closely resembles the model 3277 ratchet; the model 3275 ratchet is similar, but with a knurled handle.


Wizard H2178 Tappet Wrench

[Wizard H2178 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 286. Wizard H2178 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Insets for Reverse.

Fig. 286 shows a Wizard model H2178 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench. The reverse is marked "Alloy Steel" and "Forged in U.S.A.", and the overall length is 8.4 inches. The wrench is finished in a bright chrome plate.

The particular identifying marks for Duro/Indestro include the small "D" next to the Wizard brand, and the "Forged in U.S.A." notation on a curved arc, as seen in the inset.


Wizard HR2192 Box-End Wrench

[Wizard HR2192 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 287. Wizard HR2192 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 287 shows a Wizard model HR2192 1/2x9/16 offset double-box wrench, marked with a small "D" code. The reverse is marked "Alloy Steel" and "Forged in U.S.A.", and the overall length is 5.1 inches.

The wrench is finished in a matte chrome plate and polished ends. The identification as Duro/Indestro production relies on the "D" code and the construction details, as the modern Duro/Indestro wrench designs no longer include the distinctive "streamline" motif.


Westcraft Offset Box-End Wrench

[Westcraft 19/32x11/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 288. Westcraft 19/32x11/16 Deep Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 288 shows a Westcraft 19/32x11/16 deep offset wrench, marked "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse. The overall length is 9.4 inches.

Although not marked with the small "D" notation, this wrench can be clearly identified as Duro/Indestro production by the streamlined raised panel, a motif previously seen on many examples.


Westcraft HR2820 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle

[Westcraft HR2820 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 289. Westcraft HR2820 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle, ca. 1943-1945.

Fig. 289 shows a 1/2-drive Westcraft HR2820 flex-head handle. The knurled handle has a cross-bar hole, and the end is broached for 1/2-drive.

The overall length is 12.0 inches. The finish is plain steel, indicating that this tool was likely manufactured in 1943-1945.

The distinctive head shape marks this as Duro/Indestro production, and the closest models are the Duro-chrome 666D and Indestro 3221. However, these models were made with male drive studs on the end at least until 1941; the Westcraft female broach may have been a special order, or possibly the models had been changed by then. (The mid 1950s catalogs show the Duro-chrome 666D breaker with a female broach.)


Westline 0725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench

Western Auto also sold tools under the "Westline" brand, typically used for lower priced "economy" tools.

[Westline 0725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 290. Westline 0725B 1/2x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse.

Fig. 290 shows a Westline 0725B 1/2x9/16 open-end wrench with streamlined depressed panels, marked with "Westline" and a "D" code forged into the shank, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 5.3 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


Riverside

Riverside was a trademark of Montgomery Ward and was used for a variety of automobile-related supplies and products, beginning in 1912. At some point automobile tools were offered as well, and some of the collected examples of Riverside tools are clearly of Duro/Indestro production. It's not known which other companies may have sourced tools as well.

A 1935 Montgomery Ward catalog shows a number of tools of likely Duro production. The illustration for a 35-piece Chrome-Vanadium socket set shows a Duro-style ratchet, with sockets matching the Ward's Riverside example. The catalog also shows box-end wrenches that closely resemble the example below.


Riverside 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Riverside 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 291. Riverside 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 291 shows a Riverside 1/2x9/16 offset box wrench with raised oval panels, stamped with "Riverside" between two decorative triangles on the front panel, and with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the fractional sizes on the reverse panel.

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

Production by Duro/Indestro is indicated by the use of a slanted font for "Chrome Vanadium Steel", as well as the hexagonal shank and general construction of the wrench.


Riverside 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrenches

[Riverside 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 292. Riverside 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail.

Fig. 292 shows a Riverside 3/4x25/32 offset box wrench, marked with decorative triangles (meaning unknown) on a raised panel, and with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is a heavy cadmium plating.

Production by Duro/Indestro is indicated by the use of a slanted font for "Chrome Vanadium Steel", as well as the hexagonal shank and general construction of the wrench.

[Riverside 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 293. Riverside 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail.

Fig. 293 shows another Riverside 3/4x25/32 offset box wrench, similar to the previous example but without raised panels on the shank. The wrench is stamped with decorative triangles on the front with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.2 inches. The finish is a chrome or possibly nickel plate with a yellowish tint, now worn through in places.

As with the previous example, production by Duro/Indestro is indicated by the general construction and the use of a slanted font for "Chrome Vanadium Steel".


Riverside 1/2-Drive 5/8 Socket

[Riverside 1/2-Drive 5/8 12-Point Socket]
Fig. 294. Riverside 1/2-Drive 5/8 12-Point Socket.

Fig. 294 shows a 1/2-drive Riverside 5/8 double-hex socket, marked "Ward's Riverside" and "Chromium Vanadium".

The socket is clearly of Duro production based on the hot-broached construction (with a scalloped ring) and the "Chromium Vanadium" marking used by Duro at this time. The manufacturing date is probably around 1935-1936.


Ward's Master Quality

Montgomery Ward used the "Master Quality" brand for its top grade of tools, and Duro/Indestro have been identified as one of the suppliers of Master Quality tools.


Ward's Master Quality 84-4783 1/2-Drive Reversible Ratchet

[Wards Master Quality 1/2-Drive Reversible Ratchet]
Fig. 295. Ward's Master Quality 84-4783 1/2-Drive Reversible Ratchet, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 295 shows a Ward's Master Quality 84-4783 1/2-drive reversible ratchet, stamped with the Ward's "M|W" logo and model number on the cover plate, with "Wards Master Quality" forged into the handle. The reverse cover plate is stamped "Pat. No. 1,902,878", with "Wards Master Quality" forged into the reverse handle.

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The patent notice refers to patent #1,902,878, issued in 1933 to McNaught and Peterson with assignment to Duro Metal Products.


Powr-Kraft

In the 1930s Montgomery Ward offered a broad line of power tools under the "Powr-Kraft" trademark, and in later years the brand was extended to include hand tools. Duro was one of the manufacturers selected to supply sockets and drive tools for the Powr-Kraft line, as the next figure illustrates.


Powr-Kraft 1/2-Drive Sockets

[Powr-Kraft 1/2-Drive 12-Point Sockets]
Fig. 296. Powr-Kraft 1/2-Drive 12-Point Sockets, with Insets for Broaching and Marking Detail.

Fig. 296 shows a group of 1/2-drive Powr-Kraft 12-point sockets, each marked "Powr-Kraft 100" and "84-4865" with a small "D" code.

The sizes are, from the left, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, and 15/16.


Cross Country

Another name occasionally seen on older tools is the "Cross Country" (or "Cross-Country") brand. Currently most (or perhaps all) of the known examples appear to have been made by Duro or Indestro, and the general time frame appears to be the 1930s or early 1940s.

Based on our research, the Cross Country tools are believed to have been made for Sears Roebuck. The Sears catalogs used the Cross Country brand extensively for various automotive supplies and accessories, including such items as oil, grease, polishing wax, batteries, and tire pressure gauges. Catalog listings for the brand are known from 1919 (or earlier) through at least the 1940s.

Our suspicions regarding the origin of Cross Country tools were finally confirmed by the discovery of tool listings for this brand in the 1933 Sears Fall and Winter catalog. This catalog lists Cross Country socket sets and several types of wrenches on page 496 of the automotive supplies section. Since other Sears catalogs from slightly earlier or later didn't offer tools in the Cross Country brand, we can presume that the Cross Country tools were made only for a brief time in 1933 and 1934.


Cross Country 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench

[Cross Country 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 297. Cross Country 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1933-1934.

Fig. 297 shows a Cross Country 3/4x7/8 box-end wrench, stamped with "Cross Country" between two geometric symbols, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" in a slanted font on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of chrome plating.

This wrench can be identified as Indestro production by the use of the slanted font for the "Chrome Vanadium Steel" marking.


Cross Country 1831 3/4x3/4 Obstruction Wrench

[Cross Country 1831 3/4x3/4 Obstruction Wrench]
Fig. 298. Cross Country 1831 3/4x3/4 Obstruction Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1933-1934.

Fig. 298 shows an example of the brand, a Cross Country 3/4x3/4 angle-head open-end wrench, often called an obstruction wrench. The wrench is marked "Chrome Vanadium Steel" with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse, as shown in the inset.

The overall length is 7.5 inches.

This wrench is readily identified as Duro production by the model number 1831, listed as a 3/4x3/4 obstruction wrench in the Duro-Chrome catalogs. In addition, the curved-arc "Forged in U.S.A." marking is a reliable indicator of Duro production.

An example of this model branded for Duro-Chrome can be seen as the Duro-Chrome 1831 Obstruction Wrench.


Cross Country No. 3 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench

[Cross Country No. 3 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 299. Cross Country No. 3 5/8x11/16 Tappet Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1933-1934.

Fig. 299 shows another example of this brand, a Cross Country No. 3 tappet wrench with size 5/8x11/16, marked "Chrome Vanadium Steel" with "Forged in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.6 inches.

This wrench can identified as Duro production by the curved-arc "Forged in U.S.A." marking and other construction features. The model number also follows the Duro/Indestro numbering for tappet wrenches; the Duro-Chrome 5/8x11/16 tappet wrench was a D3, and the corresponding Indestro Super-Quality model was a T3.


The Indestro Super Brand

In the post-war years Indestro's Super-Quality brand was simplified to just Indestro Super, with the company name consistently marked. Although we don't have precise catalog coverage for this period, it's likely that the Indestro Super brand began in late 1945 or 1946.


Indestro Super 2 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench

This next figure shows a wrench believed to be our earliest example of the "Indestro Super" brand.

[Indestro Super Model 2 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 300. Indestro Super Model 2 1/2x9/16 Tappet Wrenches, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1945-1946.

Fig. 300 shows an Indestro model 2 1/2x9/16 tappet wrench, stamped "Indestro Super" on the face, with "Forged in U.S.A." on a curved arc on the reverse face.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of the cadmium plating.

The traces of cadmium on this tool provide a helpful clue to the manufacturing date. Indestro and Duro-Chrome wrenches were generally given chrome plated finishes after the early 1930s, except for the period of wartime shortages from 1942-1945. Tools made at that time generally substituted cadmium (or plain) finishes for chrome, so it's likely that this wrench was made in late wartime or early post-war period.


Indestro Super 731 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Indestro Super 731 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 301. Indestro Super 731 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1946 to 1960s.

Fig. 301 shows an Indestro Super 731 1/2x9/16 offset box-end wrench with raised streamlined panels, stamped with "Forged in U.S.A." and the fractional sizes on the front panel, with "Indestro Super" and the model number on the reverse (lower inset).

The overall length is 8.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.

This wrench retains the hexagonal shank found on earlier production under the "Super-Quality" and "Indestro Chicago" brands.


Indestro Super 731A 9/16x5/8 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Indestro Super 731A 9/16x5/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 302. Indestro Super 731A 9/16x5/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1946 to 1960s.

Fig. 302 shows an Indestro Super 731A 9/16x5/8 offset box-end wrench with raised stramlined panels, stamped with "Indestro Super" and the model number on the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." and the fractional sizes on the reverse panel.

The overall length is 9.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.

This wrench retains the hexagonal shank found on earlier production under the "Super-Quality" and "Indestro Chicago" brands.


The Select Steel Brand

Indestro continued to offer its "Indestro Chicago" line of economy tools in the post-war years, using the same distinctive "Streamlined" dart design which had been trademarked in 1937. This line of tools evolved into a "Select Steel" brand, with the Indestro name no longer marked, but implicit via the "Streamline" trademark.

These tools were widely sold through hardware stores and other channels and were apparently highly successful products, based on the large numbers of tools to be found.


Late Production


Impact Sockets

Duro didn't offer impact sockets until sometime in the 1950s.


Duro-Chrome 1174 1/2-Drive 3/4 Impact Socket

[Duro-Chrome 1174 1/2-Drive 3/4 Impact Socket]
Fig. 303. Duro-Chrome 1174 1/2-Drive 3/4 Impact Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. 1950s

Fig. 303 shows a 1/2-drive Duro-Chrome 1174 3/4 impact socket, stamped "U.S.A." on the base.

The finish is chrome plating.

This early impact socket shows the surprising use of a chrome plated finish with a cross-hatched band, similar to the Duro-Chrome standard sockets.


Duro-Chrome 2087A 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Duro-Chrome 2087A 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 304. Duro-Chrome 2087A 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1968+.

Fig. 304 shows a Duro-Chrome 2087A 8 inch adjustable wrench, stamped "Duro-Chrome" and "U.S.A." on the shank, with "8 In." and "Forged Alloy Steel" on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

One construction detail to note is the square-shouldered keyway for the sliding jaw, visible in the top inset. The square shoulder was a patented feature of the J.H. Williams adjustable wrenches, and this detail plus the general construction identify Williams as the maker of this wrench. A similar example can be seen as the Williams AP-8 Adjustable Wrench.


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