Alloy Artifacts  

Alloy Steel Tools

In the late 1920s Hinsdale began using alloy steels for some its tools, in particular open-end wrenches and sockets. Their early alloy products included drop-forged wrenches made of chrome-vanadium steel, and sockets made of chrome-nickel steel.

In this first section we'll look at alloy-steel sockets and drive tools, and alloy-steel wrenches will be covered in a later section.


Alloy Steel Socket Sets

By 1929 Hinsdale was producing socket sets using chrome-nickel alloy steel, becoming possibly the first maker of alloy socket sets for the mass market. (Bog Manufacturing may have a claim here as well.)

An advertisement on page 141 of the May 1929 issue of Popular Science Monthly shows a 36 Piece Chrome Nickel Master Socket Wrench Set at the left. The set included a ratchet, T-L handle, speeders, and a selection of sockets, and the description specifically mentions the use of S.A.E. 3130 alloy steel.

We have several examples of Hinsdale's early alloy socket sets and will begin with a "Chrome Nickel Mechanics Set" from the late 1920s to early 1930s.


Hinsdale 1/2-Drive Chrome-Nickel "Mechanics" Socket Set

[Hinsdale 1/2-Drive Chrome-Nickel Mechanics Socket Set]
Fig. 35. Hinsdale 1/2-Drive Chrome-Nickel "Mechanics" Socket Set, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 35 shows a Hinsdale 1/2-drive chrome-nickel "Mechanics" socket set in its hip roof toolbox with fold-out covers. This extensive collection consists of long and short speeders, a ratchet and drive plug, a TL-1 handle, an extension, a universal, a screwdriver bit, 21 hex sockets, and 10 square sockets.

The hex socket sizes are, clockwise from the second row, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 17/32, 9/16, 19/32, 5/8, 21/32, 11/16, 3/4, 25/32, 13/16, 7/8, 15/16, 31/32, 1 Inch, 1-1/16, 1-1/8, and 1-1/4.

The square socket sizes are, from the left in the back row, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, and 7/8. The sockets are marked "Nickel Chrome" with the fractional size and Round-H-Circle logo.

As promised by the "Cadmium Plated Rust Proof" sticker on the cover, all of the tools and sockets have a cadmium finish.

[Hip Roof Toolbox for Hinsdale Mechanics Socket Set]
Fig. 36. Hip Roof Toolbox for Hinsdale "Mechanics" Socket Set, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 36 shows the hip roof toolbox for the Hinsdale "Mechanics" socket set.

The overall dimensions are 19.7 inches long by 6.3 inches deep by 5.1 inches high.

Our set was acquired in good condition, but is missing six drain plug sockets and a valve grinder attachment, based on the Sears catalog listing noted below.

The unmarked long speeder has an overall length of 18.9 inches and appears to be the equivalent of the Hinsdale DS-1 Speeder. The short speeder is also unmarked and has an overall length of 12.5 inches, approximately the same as the Hinsdale DR-1 Speeder model.

This set has been identified as the Hinsdale "46-Piece Mechanic's Socket Wrench Set" listed on page 858 of the 1930 Sears Roebuck (Spring-Summer) Catalog. The catalog listing notes the hip roof toolbox and the inventory of tools matches well, including the 21 hex and 10 square sockets of alloy steel. The same set was listed again in the 1931 Sears (Spring-Summer) catalog.

From a review of the Sears catalogs, this Hinsdale set appears to have been the first alloy-steel socket set offered by Sears.


Hinsdale 1/2-Drive TL-1 Handle in Ell-Handle Position

[Hinsdale 1/2-Drive TL-1 Handle in Ell Position]
Fig. 37. Hinsdale 1/2-Drive TL-1 Handle in Ell-Handle Position, with Inset for Side View, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 37 shows the Hinsdale 1/2-drive TL-1 handle from the "Mechanics" set in its Ell position, with the sheath extended for maximum leverage. The sheath is stamped "Made in U.S.A." and "Pat. Pend." with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo.

The overall length is 11.2 inches extended, and 10.2 inches with the sheath retracted. The finish is cadmium plating.

The Hinsdale TL-1 can be identified in catalog illustrations by the gently sloping triangular edge and the single cross-pin near the center. The very similar Indestro T-L Handle can be distinguished by its two cross-pins.


Hinsdale 1/2-Drive TL-1 Handle in Tee-Handle Position

[Hinsdale 1/2-Drive TL-1 Handle in Tee Position]
Fig. 38. Hinsdale 1/2-Drive TL-1 Handle in Tee-Handle Position, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 38 shows the Hinsdale 1/2-drive TL-1 handle from the "Mechanics" set in its Tee position. The sheath is stamped "Made in U.S.A." and "Pat. Pend." with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo.

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

The pending status is a reference to patent #1,597,747, filed in 1923 and issued in 1926. As the present tool was likely made several years after the patent was issued, it appears that Hinsdale was intentionally leaving the pending marking in place. (We've never seen a TL-1 marked with the patent number or date.)


Hinsdale [H-1] 1/2-Drive Lever-Action Ratchet from "Mechanics" Set

[Hinsdale H-1 1/2-Drive Ratchet from Mechanics Set]
Fig. 39. Hinsdale [H-1] 1/2-Drive Lever-Action Ratchet from "Mechanics" Set, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 39 shows the Hinsdale [H-1] 1/2-drive lever-action ratchet from the "Mechanics" set, stamped "Made in U.S.A." and "Pat. Pend." on the handle.

The overall length is 9.0 inches. The finish appears to be a thin nickel plating, although the other tools in the set have a cadmium finish.

Although not marked with a model number, this is the standard Hinsdale H-1 Ratchet used from the mid 1920s onward.

The pending status is a reference to patent #1,650,085, filed by J.W. McDonough in 1924 and issued in 1927. As the present tool was likely made several years after the patent was issued, it appears that Hinsdale was intentionally leaving the pending marking in place. (We haven't seen an example of this ratchet with the patent number or date.)


Hinsdale 1/2-Drive 6-Point Chrome-Nickel Sockets from "Mechanics" Set

[Hinsdale 1/2-Drive Sockets from Mechanics Set]
Fig. 40. Hinsdale 1/2-Drive Sockets from "Mechanics" Set, with Inset for Top View, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 40 shows the three largest sockets from the "Mechanics" set. The sizes are, from the right, 1-1/16, 1-1/8, and 1-1/4. The sockets are stamped "Nickel Chrome" with the fractional size and the Hinsdale Round-H-Circle logo.

The finish is cadmium plating.

The inset shows a top view of the sockets, illustrating the cold-broached construction.


1/2-Drive 6-Point Chrome-Nickel 1-1/16 Socket

This next figure shows another example of Hinsdale's chrome-nickel sockets, acquired separately rather than as part of a set.

[Hinsdale Nickel-Chrome 1/2-Drive 1-1/16 Hex Socket]
Fig. 41. Hinsdale Nickel-Chrome 1/2-Drive 1-1/16 Hex Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. Late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 41 shows a Hinsdale 1/2-drive 1-1/16 hex socket of chrome-nickel alloy steel, stamped on the base with "Nickel Chrome" and the Hinsdale Round-H-Circle logo.

The socket has a band of cross-hatched knurling around the center, and the construction shows a recessed area below the broaching. Note that the upper walls are slightly tapered.


Hinsdale CN-50 1/2-Drive 36-Piece Chrome-Nickel Socket Set

The CN-50 socket set was a substantial collection of tools in a flat box, similar to the older G-20 set but with chrome-nickel sockets. This set is believed to be the one advertised on page 141 of the May 1929 issue of Popular Science Monthly as a 36 Piece Chrome Nickel Master Socket Wrench Set.

Our set is being prepared for display.

Fig. 42. Hinsdale CN-50 1/2-Drive 36-Piece Chrome-Nickel Socket Set To Be Added.

Bob Cat G-11 1/2-Drive 11-Piece Socket Set

By 1930 Hinsdale was offering alloy-steel socket sets under the "Bob Cat" brand. An advertisement for one of these sets can be seen on page 116 of the September, 1930 issue of Popular Science Monthly, which illustrates the Bob Cat G-11 set with an offset handle and 10 sockets.

[Bob Cat G-11 1/2-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 43. Bob Cat G-11 1/2-Drive 11-Piece Socket Set, ca. 1930.

Fig. 43 shows a Bob Cat G-11 1/2-drive socket set in its metal box, consisting of an offset handle, 9 double-hex sockets, and one double-square socket.

The socket sizes are, from the left, 1/2 (square), 1/2, 9/16, 19/32, 5/8, 21/32, 3/4, 25/32, 7/8, and 15/16. The sockets are marked only with the fractional size, except that the square socket is also marked "Bob Cat".

The offset handle and sockets are finished with cadmium plating.

[Top Cover of Bob Cat G-11 Socket Set]
Fig. 44. Top Cover of Bob Cat G-11 Socket Set, ca. 1930.

Fig. 44 shows the top cover of the Bob Cat G-11 socket set, bearing a somewhat tattered decal reading "Bob Cat" with a cat's head in the center. The text below states "Trade Mark" and "Reg. U.S. Pat. Off.", a reference to the "Bob Cat" Trademark registered in 1930.

The set is contained in a metal box with a sliding cover. The overall dimensions are 12.0 inches long by 3.1 inches deep (at the wide end) by 1.3 inches high.


Bob Cat 1/2-Drive Sockets from G-11 Set

[Bob Cat 1/2-Drive Sockets from G-11 Set]
Fig. 45. Bob Cat 1/2-Drive Sockets from G-11 Set, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1930.

Fig. 45 shows the three smallest sockets from the Bob Cat set, with two double-hex sockets and the single double-square socket illustrated.

The socket sizes and intended service are, from the right, 1/2 (square), 1/2 (hex), and 9/16 (hex). The sockets are marked with the fractional size, and the double-square socket is also stamped "Bob Cat".

The finish is cadmium plating.


H6R 1/2-Drive Flex-Head Handle

[Hinsdale 1/2-Drive H6R Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 46. Hinsdale 1/2-Drive H6R Flex-Head Handle, with Inset for Detail, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 46 shows a 1/2-drive Hinsdale H6R flex-head handle, marked "Hinsdale" with the Round-H-Circle logo. The overall length is 17.6 inches.

The handle is knurled and has a cross-bar hole, but no end broaching. The finish is cadmium plating, which suggests a likely manufacturing date during the wartime years.


H-12-R 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Hinsdale H-12-R Ratchet]
Fig. 47. Hinsdale 1/2-Drive H-12-R Ratchet, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1946-1949.

Fig. 47 shows a Hinsdale 1/2-drive H-12-R reversible ratchet, marked with "Chrome Vanadium" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the handle, with the model number and Hinsdale logo forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 10.5 inches.

This example matches the dimensions for the ratchet illustrated in their 1947 catalog, which notes that the reversible ratchet is a new model and so likely dates from that time. (The Hinsdale catalog is unusual in that it gives engineering drawings of the tools with dimensions.)

One feature to note is the use of the pressed flange construction to allow assembly without screws or rivets; this construction method was patented by Duro Metal Products in the early 1930s. The head of this ratchet appears to be nearly identical to some Duro-Chrome ratchets, suggesting that Hinsdale may have licensed the method or purchased the tooling from Duro.


SR30 1/2-Drive 15/16 Socket

[Hinsdale SR30 Socket]
Fig. 48. Hinsdale 1/2-Drive SR30 15/16 12-Point Socket.

Fig. 48 shows a 1/2-drive SR30 15/16 12-point socket, which is listed in the 1947 catalog as part of their standard 1/2-drive socket line. The catalog also notes that Hinsdale had in-house capability for hot-broaching sockets at this time.


3/8-Drive Double-Hex Socket Set

Hinsdale 3/8-drive tools are relatively uncommon, but we do have several examples to display.

[Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Double-Hex Socket Set]
Fig. 49. Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Double-Hex Socket Set, ca. Early to Mid 1930s.

Fig. 49 shows a Hinsdale 3/8-drive socket set in its metal case, consisting of a flex handle and seven double-hex sockets from 7/16 to 7/8. The set is presumed to have had eight sockets originally, but was missing the 1/2 size when acquired. Also missing is the small cross-bar for the flex handle.

The socket sizes are, from the left, 7/16, 1/2 (missing), 9/16, 19/32, 5/8, 11/16, 3/4, and 7/8. The sockets have tapered walls with a thin band of cross-hatched knurling at the base, and are marked only with the fractional size.

The set is marked with a decal on the inside of the lid, with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo in large type at the top, followed by "Tools of Quality" and "Chicago, Ill. U.S.A" at the bottom. None of the tools are marked with the Hinsdale name.

Currently we don't have an exact reference for this set in the Hinsdale catalogs, but a Hinsdale advertising brochure from 1933 shows a similar but smaller No. 10AC set. The 10AC set is described as an "Aviation Type Socket Wrench Set" and consists of six double-hex sockets with an Ell handle. (The drive size is not specified, but would be 3/8-drive based on the proportions of the tools.) The illustration shows the sockets with tapered walls and a knurled band around the base, closely resembling the sockets in the present set.

Another likely catalog reference comes from the 1933 Sears Spring and Summer catalog, which offered a "Hinsdale 9-Piece Set" under catalog number 5872, with a description and illustration matching this set after allowing for the missing pieces. In the 1934 catalog a set with the same description and catalog number was offered as "Craftsman 9-Pc. Wrench Set", and an example can be seen as the Craftsman Vanadium 5872 "9-Piece" Socket Set.


3/8-Drive Flex Handle from Double-Hex Socket Set

[Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Flex Handle]
Fig. 50. Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Flex Handle, with Inset for Side View, ca. Early to Mid 1930s.

Fig. 50 shows the unmarked 3/8-drive flex-head handle from the Hinsdale double-hex socket set.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


3/8-Drive Sockets from Double-Hex Socket Set

[Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Double-Hex Sockets]
Fig. 51. Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Double-Hex Sockets, with Inset for Broaching, ca. Early to Mid 1930s.

Fig. 51 shows the three largest sockets from the Hinsdale 3/8-drive double-hex socket set, each stamped with the fractional size. The sizes are, from the left, 11/16, 3/4, and 7/8.

The finish is chrome plating.

The sockets are designed with tapered upper walls and a narrow band of cross-hatched knurling around the base.


3/8-Drive Straight-Wall 13/16 Double-Hex Socket

Hinsdale's tapered-wall sockets were superseded by a straight-wall design, as the next figure illustrates.

[Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Straight-Wall 13/16 Double-Hex Socket]
Fig. 52. Hinsdale 3/8-Drive Straight-Wall 13/16 Double-Hex Socket, with Inset for Broaching, ca. Mid 1930s.

Fig. 52 shows a 3/8-drive Hinsdale 13/16 double-hex socket with straight walls, marked with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo.

The inset shows the interior of the socket. The construction is cold-broached with a recess below the broached area, and the walls have chatter marks from the broaching.

This socket is very similar in design and construction to the Craftsman Vanadium 3/8-Drive 13/16 Socket shown in our article on early Craftsman tools.


5/16-Drive and 9/32-Drive Tools

Hinsdale was one of a small number of companies that produced 9/32-drive sockets and tools, in addition to the more popular 3/8- and 1/2-drive (and larger) sizes. (Other companies in this group included Armstrong, Plomb, Snap-on, and Williams.)

In addition, Hinsdale produced at least one socket set in an unusual 5/16 square drive size, a No. 185 set intended for radio and ignition work. This set was offered in 1933, around the same time but possibly before the 9/32-drive tools were produced.


No. 185 5/16-Drive 9-Piece Socket Set

[1933 Catalog Listing for Hinsdale No. 185 Socket Set]
1933 Catalog Listing for Hinsdale No. 185 Socket Set.

The scan at the left shows a catalog listing for a Hinsdale No. 185 "Radio and Ignition" socket set, taken from the front page of a 1933 Hinsdale advertising flyer. The set consists of a flex handle, a crossbar, five hex sockets, and two square sockets.

The illustration points out the 5/16 square drive size, a somewhat puzzling choice given that Hinsdale would soon be (or already was) making 9/32-drive tools.

The hex socket sizes are given as 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16, and 1/2. The two square sockets have sizes 5/16 and 3/8.

[Hinsdale No. 185 5/16-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 53. Hinsdale No. 185 5/16-Drive Socket Set, ca. 1933.

Fig. 53 shows a rare Hinsdale No. 185 5/16-drive socket set, consisting of a 5 inch flex handle, a crossbar, five double-hex sockets, and two double-square sockets.

The somewhat tattered decal on the inside cover reads "Hinsdale Manufacturing Company" and "Tools of Quality", with "Chicago, Ill. U.S.A." at the bottom. The tools in the set are unmarked, except for the fractional sizes on the sockets. (Thus the entire set is just one fragile decal away from being yet another anonymous socket set.)

The socket sizes and format are, from the left, 5/16 Hex, 11/32 Hex, 5/16 Square, 3/8 Hex, 7/16 Hex, 3/8 Square, and 1/2 Hex.

The compact case measures 5.3 inches long by 2.1 inches deep by 1.0 inches high.


5/16-Drive Flex Handle and Crossbar from No. 185 Set

[Hinsdale 5/16-Drive Flex Handle and Crossbar from No. 185 Set]
Fig. 54. Hinsdale 5/16-Drive Flex Handle and Crossbar, ca. 1933.

Fig. 54 shows the unmarked 5/16-drive flex handle and crossbar from the No. 185 socket set.

The overall length of the flex handle is 5.0 inches, and the length of the crossbar is 4.5 inches. The finish is chrome plating.


5/16-Drive Double-Hex Sockets from No. 185 Set

[Hinsdale 5/16-Drive Double-Hex Sockets]
Fig. 55. Hinsdale 5/16-Drive Double-Hex Sockets, with Inset for Top View, ca. 1933.

Fig. 55 shows the five 5/16-drive double-hex sockets from the No. 185 socket set. The sizes are, from the left, 5/16, 11/32, 3/8, 7/16, and 1/2.

The sockets have a band of cross-hatched knurling around the center and are stamped with the fractional size, but without any company markings. The finish is chrome plating.

The top inset shows the broached interiors of the sockets.


No. 111 9/32-Drive Socket Set

[1935 Catalog Listing for Hinsdale No. 111 Socket Set]
1935 Catalog Listing for Hinsdale No. 111 Socket Set.

The scan at the left shows a catalog listing for the Hinsdale No. 111 socket set, found on page 2 of the 1935 Hinsdale catalog booklet. The text lists the set contents as a sliding Tee handle, a 6 inch extension, 7 hex sockets, and two square sockets.

The set is packaged in a clever holder suitable for sitting on the workbench or possibly mounting on the wall. The holder is designed so that the extension secures the sockets in place.

[Hinsdale No. 111 9/32-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 56. Hinsdale No. 111 9/32-Drive Socket Set, ca. Mid 1930s.

Fig. 56 shows a Hinsdale No. 111 9/32-drive socket set, consisting of an H7M sliding Tee handle, an HXM6 6 inch extension, 7 hex sockets from 7/32 to 7/16, and one square socket. Although the catalog promised two square sockets, the sockets here seem to fit nicely without room for an additional socket.

The socket models and sizes are, from the left, SM7 (7/32), SM8 (1/4), SQM8 (1/4, square), SM9 (9/32), SM10 (5/16), SM11 (11/32), SM12 (3/8), and SM14 (7/16). The sockets are stamped with the fractional size, model number, and Round-H-Circle logo.

Our set has a mix of finishes on the tools — the sliding Tee handle and three of the sockets have a cadmium finish, and the other tools have a chrome plated finish.

The metal holder is constructed with a tray at the bottom to hold the sockets, with fingers on the back to hold the sliding Tee handle and extension. The overall dimensions are 4.7 inches wide by 1.1 inches deep by 3.0 inches high.


H7M 9/32-Drive Sliding Tee Handle from No. 111 Set

[Hinsdale H7M 9/32-Drive Sliding Tee Handle]
Fig. 57. Hinsdale 9/32-Drive H7M Sliding Tee Handle, ca. Mid 1930s.

Fig. 57 shows the Hinsdale 9/32-drive H7M sliding Tee handle from the No. 111 set, stamped with the model number and Round-H-Circle logo.

The overall length is 4.5 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.


HXM6 9/32-Drive 6 Inch Extension from No. 111 Set

[Hinsdale HXM6 9/32-Drive 6 Inch Extension]
Fig. 58. Hinsdale 9/32-Drive HXM6 6 Inch Extension from No. 111 Set, ca. Mid 1930s.

Fig. 58 shows the Hinsdale 9/32-drive HXM6 6 inch extension from the No. 111 set, stamped with the model number and "Hinsdale" with the Round-H-Circle logo.

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


SMx 9/32-Drive Sockets from No. 111 Set

[Hinsdale SMx 9/32-Drive Sockets from No. 111 Set]
Fig. 59. Hinsdale SMx 9/32-Drive Sockets from No. 111 Set, with Inset for Top View, ca. Mid 1930s.

Fig. 59 shows the Hinsdale SMx 9/32-drive sockets from the No. 111 set, each stamped with the fractional size, model number, and Round-H-Circle logo. The largest socket is also stamped with the full Hinsdale name.

The models and sizes are, from the left, SM7 (7/32), SM8 (1/4), SQM8 (1/4, square), SM9 (9/32), SM10 (5/16), SM11 (11/32), SM12 (3/8), and SM14 (7/16). The SM9, SM12, and SM14 sockets have a cadmium finish, and the other sockets have a chrome plated finish.

The inset shows a top view of the sockets, illustrating the mix of 6-point, 8-point, and 12-point broachings.


[H5M] 9/32-Drive Flex Handle and SM10 Socket

[Hinsdale H5M 9/32-Drive Flex-Head Handle]
Fig. 60. Hinsdale 9/32-Drive H5M Flex-Head Handle and SM10 5/16 Socket.

Fig. 60 shows a Hinsdale 9/32-drive [H5M] flex handle, stamped "Hinsdale" with the Round-H-Circle logo. The model number is not marked, but the 1947 catalog lists this tool as an H5M "Hinged Tee Handle".

The overall length is 5.7 inches.

The photograph also shows a 9/32-drive SM10 5/16 12-point socket.


No. 11M 9/32-Drive Socket Set

[1935 Catalog Listing for Hinsdale No. 11M Socket Set]
1935 Catalog Listing for Hinsdale No. 11M Socket Set.

Hinsdale referred to its 9/32-drive tools as "Tiny Tools" and offered 9/32-drive sets in two sizes, a small No. 11M set and a larger No. 17M set.

The scan at the left shows a listing for the No. 11M set, found on page 1 of the 1935 Hinsdale catalog booklet. The set contents are given as a combination handle driver/extension (called a "forged extension bar with hard rubber screwdriver type handle"), a sliding Tee handle, seven double-hex sockets, and two double-square sockets.

The catalog text notes the use of chrome vanadium steel and a chrome plated finish. (Interestingly though, the description didn't mention the 9/32 drive size.) The price was $4.95 list.

[Hinsdale No. 11M 9/32-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 61. Hinsdale No. 11M 9/32-Drive Socket Set, ca. 1935 to Early 1940s.

Fig. 61 shows a Hinsdale No. 11M 9/32-drive socket set, consisting of a combination handle driver and extension, a sliding Tee handle, seven double-hex sockets, and two double-square sockets.

The handle/extension is marked with the Hinsdale logo and "Chrome Vanadium", but without a model number; however, the 1935 catalog identifies this tool as a model HXM5. The sliding Tee handle is marked "Chrome Vanadium" with the Round-H-Circle logo, and is catalog model H7M.

The double-hex sockets range in size from 7/32 to 7/16, and the double-square sockets have sizes 1/4 and 5/16. Each of the sockets are marked with "Hinsdale Vanadium" and the Round-H-Circle logo.

[Top Cover of Hinsdale No. 11M 9/32-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 62. Top Cover of Hinsdale No. 11M Socket Set with Logo and Model, ca. 1935 to Early 1940s.

Fig. 62 shows the exterior of the No. 11M set, with the embossed cover showing the Hinsdale logo and "Tools of Quality".

The dimensions of the box are 7.9 inches long by 1.8 inches deep by 1.0 inches high. The metal box features a raised shelf with holes specifically sized to hold the sockets in place, plus small tabs to organize the drive tools.

By 1947 the Hinsdale catalog still offered a No. 11M socket set, but with a different sized box, 6.1 inches instead of the present 7.9 inches. Thus the likely manufacturing date for this set would range from 1935 to the early 1940s.


Open-End Wrenches

By 1929 (or earlier) Hinsdale had begun offering open-end wrenches made of chrome vanadium alloy steel. An example of these early alloy steel wrenches can be seen in an advertisement on page 124 of the June, 1929 issue of Popular Science Monthly, which shows a Hinsdale Chrome Vanadium Wrench Set in the right-hand column. The illustration shows a set of five wrenches in a holder with slots in the back and fingers to hold the wrenches. (Some later advertisements show six wrenches in the set.) The text notes the use of S.A.E. 6130 chrome-vanadium steel and states that the wrenches are "Guaranteed Forever Against Breakage". The wrench set could be ordered by mail for just $2.00 plus shipping. (This same advertisement is also reprinted in AWM2e on page 167.)

The 1929 Sears catalog also offered a set of five chrome vanadium wrenches in a holder matching the one in the Hinsdale ad, and the five wrenches have the same sizes as the Hinsdale Nos. 1-5 models. The Sears listing doesn't mention the brand name, but the distinctive holder confirms that it is the Hinsdale set.

Although the illustrations in the magazine advertisement and Sears catalog are not detailed enough to show the markings on the wrenches, it's nearly certain that the wrenches in the ad and the Sears catalog are the Hinsdale "Number" wrenches shown in the next several figures. These wrenches are marked with the Hinsdale name and logo boldly forged into the shank, with the model number and "Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" on the reverse. As might be expected by the Sears catalog listing and extensive advertisements, these wrenches are among the most common Hinsdale tools to be found today.

Six models were available, with openings ranging from 1/4 to 1 inch, although the smallest 1/4x3/8 wrench is somewhat rare.


"Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" No. 1 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale No. 1 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 63. Hinsdale No. 1 7/16x1/2 Open-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 63 shows a Hinsdale No. 1 7/16x1/2 open-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale logo and "T.M. REG." forged into the shank, with "Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" and the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 5.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating with polished faces.

The top inset shows a side view of the wrench, illustrating the ridge of material left by the trimming operation.


"Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" No. 2 9/16x19/32 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale No. 2 9/16x19/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 64. Hinsdale No. 2 9/16x19/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 64 shows a Hinsdale No. 2 9/16x19/32 open-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale logo and "T.M. REG." forged into the shank, with "Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" and the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with losses due to wear.


"Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" No. 3 5/8x11/16 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale No. 3 5/8x11/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 65. Hinsdale No. 3 5/8x11/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 65 shows a Hinsdale No. 3 5/8x11/16 open-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale logo and "T.M. REG." forged into the shank, with "Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" and the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


"Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" No. 4 3/4x25/32 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale No. 4 3/4x25/32 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 66. Hinsdale No. 4 3/4x25/32 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 66 shows a Hinsdale No. 4 3/4x25/32 open-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale logo and "T.M. REG." forged into the shank, with "Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" and the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with some losses due to wear.


"Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" No. 5 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale No. 5 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 67. Hinsdale No. 5 7/8x15/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. late 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 67 shows a Hinsdale 7/8x15/16 No. 5 open-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale logo and "T.M. REG." forged into the shank, with "Chrome-Vanadium-Steel" and the model number forged into the reverse.

The overall length is 8.5 inches.


Bob Cat C-1725A "Alloy Steel" 7/16x9/16 Open-End Wrench

In 1930 Hinsdale began offering alloy steel tools under the "Bob Cat" brand, which were briefly available from Sears Roebuck. The following figure shows a rare example of a Bob Cat open-end wrench.

[Bobcat C-1725A 7/16x9/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 68. Bobcat C-1725A "Alloy Steel" 7/16x9/16 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1930-1931.

Fig. 68 shows a Bob Cat C-1725A 7/16x9/16 open-end wrench, stamped on the left face with "Bob Cat" and a cat's head, with "Trade Mark" and "Alloy Steel" below. The right face is stamped with the model number, with the fractional sizes on the reverse faces.

The overall length is 5.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of nickel plating.

Although this wrench claims "Bob Cat" as a trademark, we have not found the registration yet.


1723 "Chrome Vanadium" 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench

In later years Hinsdale offered open-end wrenches in several different styles, as the following figures illustrate.

[Hinsdale 1723 Chrome Vanadium 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 69. Hinsdale 1723 "Chrome Vanadium" 3/8x7/16 Open-End Wrench.

Fig. 69 shows a Hinsdale 1723 3/8x7/16 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Vanadium" with the Hinsdale name and embedded Round-H-Circle logo.

The overall length is 4.9 inches. The finish is nickel plating, though now worn off in some areas.


"Chrome Vanadium" 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench

The next several figures show examples of heavy-duty open-end wrenches with thick square shanks. Wrenches of this type were offered in the 1935 catalog, along with an alternate series of "Hinsdale Vanadium" open-end wrenches.

[Hinsdale Chrome Vanadium 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 70. Hinsdale "Chrome Vanadium" 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 70 shows a Hinsdale 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Vanadium" with the Hinsdale name and embedded Round-H-Circle logo.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

This is a rather roughly finished wrench, possibly intended for a vehicle tool kit.


"Chrome Vanadium" 7/8x1 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale Chrome Vanadium 7/8x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 71. Hinsdale "Chrome Vanadium" 7/8x1 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 71 shows a Hinsdale 7/8x1 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Vanadium" with the Hinsdale name and embedded Round-H-Circle logo.

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


"Chrome Vanadium" 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale Chrome Vanadium 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 72. Hinsdale "Chrome Vanadium" 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, ca. Mid 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 72 shows a Hinsdale 15/16x1 open-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Vanadium" with the Hinsdale name and embedded Round-H-Circle logo.

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


"Hinsdale Vanadium" 1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench

The next several figures show examples of a distinctive series of "Hinsdale Vanadium" wrenches characterized by wide, gently-sloped depressed panels. Wrenches in this style were illustrated in the 1935 Hinsdale catalog, along with the heavy-duty "Chrome Vanadium" open-end wrenches shown in previous figures.

In addition to the gently-sloped depressed panels, these wrenches have an unusual and distinctive design feature in that the heads have opposite lateral offsets. In the lower part of the next figure, note that the point where the shank joins the left head is shifted to the upper side, and the point where it joins the right head is shifted to the lower side.

The combination of the gently-sloped depressed panels, crisp forged-in markings, and distinctive offset heads allows us to identify Hinsdale as the maker of the nearly identical variant of "gently-sloped" Craftsman Vanadium wrenches. These variants of the Craftsman Vanadium series first appeared in the 1935 Sears catalog, and continued to be offered until around 1938. The figures below will show a link to the corresponding Craftsman model when available.

[Hinsdale Vanadium 1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 73. Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1935 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 73 shows a Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1729 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Hinsdale" and the embedded Round-H-Circle logo plus "Vanadium" forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse panel. The faces are stamped with the fractional sizes on the front, with the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.6 inches.

The Hinsdale rounded-"H" logo is somewhat different than the typical form, as there are actually two circles around the center "H". The construction of this wrench also differs from the earlier open-end wrenches, with depressed panels on the shank and very sharp forged-in markings.

This wrench is nearly identical to the "gently sloped" Craftsman Vanadium 1729 Wrench corresponding to this Hinsdale model.

The manufacturing dates for this wrench can be estimated using the knowledge that the series was also produced for the Craftsman brand. The wrenches were probably first produced in 1935, the date of both our Hinsdale and Sears catalog references, and continued at least into the late 1930s. These wrenches were not listed in the 1943 Hinsdale catalog.


"Hinsdale Vanadium" 1031 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale Vanadium 1031 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 74. Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1031 25/32x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1935 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 74 shows a Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1031 25/32x7/8 open-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Hinsdale" and the embedded Round-H-Circle logo plus "Vanadium" forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse panel. The faces are stamped with the fractional sizes on the front, with the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 8.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with losses due to wear.

The Hinsdale rounded-"H" logo is somewhat different than the typical form, as there are actually two circles around the center "H". The construction of this wrench also differs from the earlier open-end wrenches, with depressed panels on the shank and very sharp forged-in markings.


"Hinsdale Vanadium" 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench

[Hinsdale Vanadium 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 75. Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1935 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 75 shows a Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1033C 15/16x1 open-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Hinsdale" and the embedded Round-H-Circle logo plus "Vanadium" forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse panel. The faces are stamped with the fractional sizes on the front, with the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.0 inches. The finish is plain steel, with traces of the original plated finish.

The Hinsdale rounded-"H" logo is somewhat different than the typical form, as there are actually two circles around the center "H". The construction of this wrench also differs from the earlier open-end wrenches, with depressed panels on the shank and very sharp forged-in markings.

This wrench is nearly identical to the "gently sloped" Craftsman Vanadium 1033C Wrench corresponding to this Hinsdale model.


T14-17 7/16x17/32 Chrome Vanadium Tappet Wrench

[Hinsdale T14-17 7/16x17/32 Tappet Wrench]
Fig. 76. Hinsdale T14-17 7/16x17/32 Tappet Wrench, ca. Late 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 76 shows a Hinsdale T14-17 7/16x17/32 tappet wrench with markings forged into a depressed panel. The shank is marked with "Chrome Vanadium" at the top, followed by the model and Hinsdale name with the Round-H-Circle logo embedded, and with "Made in U.S.A." at the bottom.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel with pitting due to rust.


Combination Wrenches

By 1936 Hinsdale was offering combination wrenches in a BE-xx series, based on a listing in the Channon industrial catalog.


BE-Series Combination Wrenches

[Hinsdale Combination Wrenches BE-12 to BE-24]
Fig. 77. Hinsdale Combination Wrenches (See Text).

Fig. 77 shows a set of five combination wrenches, all marked with the Hinsdale name and the Round-H-Circle logo. The model numbers and sizes are, from the bottom, BE-24 (3/4), BE-22 (11/16), BE-20 (5/8), BE-16 (1/2), and BE-12 (3/8). The overall length of the BE-24 3/4 wrench is 8 inches.

The finish appears to be a cadmium plate, making it likely that these were made during 1943-1945. These wrench models are listed in the 1947 catalog.


BE24W 3/8 (Whitworth) Combination Wrench

Hinsdale also made tools in Whitworth sizes, required for working on various models of British automobiles and airplanes.

[Hinsdale BE24W 3/8 (Whitworth) Combination Wrench]
Fig. 78. Hinsdale BE24W 3/8 (Whitworth) Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Late 1930s to 1940s.

Fig. 78 shows a Hinsdale BE24W 3/8 (Whitworth) combination wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and the Round-H-Circle logo on the shank, with "Chrome Vanadium" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with pitting due to rust.

The actual opening size was measured at 0.73 inches.


Box-End Wrenches

[1936 Catalog Listing for Hinsdale HDx Box-End Wrenches]
1936 Catalog Listing for Hinsdale HDx Box-End Wrenches.

Offset box-end wrenches in an HD1-HD6 series were listed in a 1933 Hinsdale advertising brochure, with the six wrenches being offered at exceptionally low prices. The models available were the HD1 (3/8x7/16), HD2 (1/2x9/16), HD3 (5/8x11/16), HD4 (3/4x25/32), HD5 (13/16x7/8), and HD6 (15/16x1). The brochure description noted that the wrenches were made of chrome vanadium steel and finished in chrome plating.

By 1936 the HD series of box-end wrenches had been expanded to include a number additional sizes. The scan at the left shows a catalog listing for Hinsdale HDx box-end wrenches, as found on page 203 of the 1936 H. Channon catalog No. 102. The table lists 14 models ranging from HD1 (3/8x7/16) all the way up to HD13 (2-9/16x2-3/4).

This listing is one of the few examples of Hinsdale tools being offered through industrial channels.

The HD-series offset wrenches are significant in that matching examples have been found marked with the Sears Craftsman brand, indicating that Hinsdale was an early supplier of box wrenches to Sears. An example can be seen later in this article as the Craftsman HD5 Box Wrench, and an additional example may be seen as the Craftsman HD4 Offset Box Wrench.

The same 1933 Hinsdale brochure also offered three sizes of short angled box wrenches, the HD10 (3/8x7/16), HD20 (1/2x9/16), and HD30 (5/8x11/16).

By 1935 (but probably earlier) Hinsdale was offering straight (angled) box wrenches in six models from X1 (3/8x7/16) to X6 (15/16x1), plus short offset box wrenches in three models, the X10 (3/8x7/16), X20 (1/2x9/16), and X30 (5/8x11/16). As was the case with the HDx series, wrenches from both the X1-X6 and X10-X30 series have been found marked for the Sears Craftsman line. Examples may be seen as the Craftsman X1 Angled Box Wrench and Craftsman X30 Short Offset Box Wrench.

The 1935 Hinsdale catalog notes that the box wrenches were hot forged from SAE 6140 chrome vanadium steel, then electrically heat-treated. The standard finish was chrome plating with satin handles and polished heads.

In later years Hinsdale updated the model numbers for the HD series to include both sizes encoded in 32nds, a fairly standard practice in the tool industry. The 1947 Hinsdale catalog offered box wrenches in a wide range of sizes, ranging from model HD10-12 (5/16x3/8) up to model HD82-88 (2-9/16x2-3/4).


HD2 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale HD2 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 79. Hinsdale HD2 1/2x9/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1933 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 79 shows a Hinsdale HD2 1/2x9/16 offset box-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" on the reverse.

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

The model HD2 wrench was offered in early 1933 at a dealer price of just $0.21, for a retail price of $0.40, prices comparable to the aggressive pricing being offered by Western Auto and Plomb Tool around that time.


HD3 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale HD3 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 80. Hinsdale HD3 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1933 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 80 shows a Hinsdale HD3 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo, with "Made in U.S.A." and "Chrome Vanadium" on the reverse.

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


HD4 3/4x25/26 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale HD4 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 81. Hinsdale HD4 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1933 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 81 shows a Hinsdale HD4 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


HD6 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale HD6 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 82. Hinsdale HD6 15/16x1 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1933 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 82 shows a Hinsdale HD6 15/16x1 offset box-end wrench, stamped "Chrome Vanadium" and "Made in U.S.A." on the shank, with the Hinsdale name and embedded Round-H-Circle logo on the reverse.

The overall length is 12.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


HD18-20 9/16x5/8 Offset Box-End Wrench

The next several figures show examples of the later HD series offset box wrenches.

[Hinsdale HD18-20 9/16x5/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 83. Hinsdale HD18-20 9/16x5/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 83 shows a Hinsdale HD18-20 9/16x5/8 offset box-end wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo.

The overall length is 9.6 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


[HD20-22] 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale HD20-22 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 84. Hinsdale [HD20-22] 5/8x11/16 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 84 shows another later example, a Hinsdale [HD20-22] 5/8x11/16 offset box-end wrench. The shank is stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo, but without a model number marking.

The overall length is 9.5 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The cadmium finish and missing model number suggest production during the wartime years.


HD24-25 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale HD24-25 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 85. Hinsdale HD24-25 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 85 shows a later Hinsdale HD24-25 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo.

The overall length is 10.8 inches. The finish is plain steel with light pitting due to rust, but the original finish may have been chrome plating.


HD26-28 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale HD26-28 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 86. Hinsdale HD26-28 13/16x7/8 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1940s.

Fig. 86 shows another later example, a Hinsdale HD26-28 13/16x7/8 offset box-end wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo.

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


HD10 3/8x7/16 Short Angled Box-End Wrench

Short angled box wrenches were available by 1933 in three models, HD10 (3/8x7/16), HD20 (1/2x9/16), and HD30 (5/8x11/16). This next figure shows the smallest of the series.

[Hinsdale HD10 3/8x7/16 Short Angled Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 87. Hinsdale HD10 3/8x7/16 Short Angled Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Reverse and Side View, ca. 1933 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 87 shows a Hinsdale HD10 3/8x7/16 short angled box wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo on the shank, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 4.1 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating with polished ends.

X3 5/8x11/16 Angled Box-End Wrench

Standard angled box wrenches were available by 1935 in six models, X1 (3/8x7/16), X2 (1/2x9/16), X3 (5/8x11/16), X4 (3/4x25/32), X5 (13/16x7/8), and X6 (15/16x1).

[Hinsdale X3 5/8x11/16 Angled Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 88. Hinsdale X3 5/8x11/16 Angled Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Mid to Late 1930s.

Fig. 88 shows a Hinsdale X3 5/8x11/16 angled box wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo on one side, with "Chrome Vanadium" and "Made in U.S.A." plus the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.8 inches. The finish is plain steel with traces of plating.

The X3 wrench was offered in a 1935 catalog at an $0.80 list price, or $5.65 for the set of six straight box wrenches.

X4 3/4x25/32 Angled Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale X4 3/4x25/32 Angled Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 89. Hinsdale X4 3/4x25/32 Angled Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Mid to Late 1930s.

Fig. 89 shows a Hinsdale X4 3/4x25/32 angled box wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo on one side, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 11.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.

This wrench has a distinctive design, with the oval shank held at nearly constant width right up to the angled box ends. This design feature has enabled us to identify a similar Craftsman wrench as Hinsdale production, which can be seen as the Craftsman X1 Box Wrench.

X6 15/16x1 Angled Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale X6 15/16x1 Angled Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 90. Hinsdale X6 15/16x1 Angled Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Mid to Late 1930s.

Fig. 90 shows another example of the X-series box wrenches, a Hinsdale X6 15/16x1 angled box wrench. The shank is stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo on one side, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 14.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.


X20 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

Short offset box wrenches were available by 1935 in three models, X10 (3/8x7/16), X20 (1/2x9/16), and X30 (5/8x11/16).

[Hinsdale X20 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 91. Hinsdale X20 1/2x9/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Mid to Late 1930s.

Fig. 91 shows a Hinsdale X20 1/2x9/16 short offset box-end wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" and the model number on the reverse. (The lower inset has been rotated for readability.)

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

The X20 wrench was offered in a 1935 catalog at a list price of just $0.75, or $2.25 for the set of three short offset box wrenches.


[X20-22] 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench

[Hinsdale 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 92. Hinsdale [X20-22] 5/8x11/16 Short Offset Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 92 shows a later Hinsdale [X20-22] 5/8x11/16 short offset box-end wrench, stamped with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The plain finish and missing model number suggest production during the wartime years.


1416F 7/16x1/2 Ford Brake Wrench

Hinsdale also offered box wrenches for specialized applications, such as the following example with double-square broachings.

[Hinsdale 1416F 7/16x1/2 Ford Brake Wrench]
Fig. 93. Hinsdale 1416F 7/16x1/2 Ford Brake Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. Late 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 93 shows a Hinsdale 1416F 7/16x1/2 box-end wrench with double-square openings, intended for brake adjustments on later Ford automobiles. The wrench is stamped "Hinsdale" with the embedded Round-H-Circle logo on the shank, with "Chrome Vanadium" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

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

The 1935 Hinsdale catalog offered the model 1416F wrench with square broachings. The double-square broachings in this example suggest production a few years later.


Other Alloy Tools

BR34 Flare-Nut Wrench

Hinsdale offered flare-nut wrenches only in an offset-handle design illustrated in the next figure. The 1947 catalog offered these wrenches in a wide selection of sizes, ranging from the 5/16 BR10 to the huge 2-3/4 BR88.

[Hinsdale BR34 Offset Flare-Nut Wrench]
Fig. 94. Hinsdale BR34 1-1/16 Offset Flare-Nut Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. Mid 1930s to Early 1940s.

Fig. 94 shows a Hinsdale BR34 1-1/16 flare-nut wrench, stamped "Chrome Vanadium" and "Made in U.S.A." on the reverse.

The overall length is 9.0 inches. This particular wrench is chrome-plated, but these wrenches are more commonly found with a plain or industrial finish.


The Craftsman Connection

Hinsdale is sometimes mistakenly identified as the maker of the Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle line of tools, perhaps due to similarities between the Hinsdale and Craftsman H-Circle logos. The actual manufacturer of that line was the New Britain Machine Company, and an in-depth look at those tools can be found on our article on Craftsman "BE" and H-Circle Tools.

However, apart from the "BE" and H-Circle tools, Hinsdale did produce a number of tools for the Craftsman line, in particular box-end wrenches and socket sets. And most recently, Hinsdale has been identified as the producer of the Craftsman Vanadium open-end wrenches matching the distinctive "Hinsdale Vanadium" series. We'll see some examples of these tools in the sections below.

In addition to producing tools for the Craftsman line, Hinsdale also supplied tools to Sears to be sold under the Hinsdale name. A 1931 Sears Roebuck (Spring-Summer) catalog listed several Hinsdale tools by name; for example, a 46-piece alloy steel socket set in a hip roof box was offered for $5.85. Another smaller set included 17 cadmium-plated sockets and a T-L handle in a sliding box, all for just 98 cents. Also available were socket sets of the Bobcat (or Bob-Cat) brand, which has been identified recently as a Hinsdale brand for alloy-steel tools. In 1931 the Craftsman brand had not yet been extended to socket sets, and several other brands of socket sets were offered, including Merit and DuroBilt.

The 1931 Sears catalog offered Craftsman "Vanadium" open-end wrenches and several models of Craftsman pliers, along with competing models from Fulton, Merit, and Pexto. A five piece set of Hinsdale Vanadium open-end wrenches was offered for somewhat less than the Craftsman Vanadium wrench set.


Box-End Wrenches

Box-end wrenches were probably the first Hinsdale tools to be offered under the Craftsman brand.

In the figures below we will show pairs of wrenches when we have Hinsdale and Craftsman examples in the same model. For further discussion, the reader can refer to the sections on Hinsdale Box-End Wrenches and Craftsman Box-End Wrenches.

Craftsman HD5 and Hinsdale HD6 Box-End Wrenches

[Hinsdale HD6 and Craftsman HD5 Box-End Wrenches]
Fig. 95. Hinsdale HD6 15/16x1 and Craftsman HD5 13/16x7/8 Box-End Wrenches, with Insets, ca. 1933-1934.

Fig. 95 shows two round shank box-end wrenches, a Hinsdale HD6 15/16x1 model on the bottom and a Craftsman HD5 13/16x7/8 model at the top.

The pairs of insets show the reverse-side markings on the left and a close-up of the front markings on the right. Although the wrenches are of different sizes, the similarities of the "HD Chrome Vanadium Steel" mark clearly show a common source for the wrenches.

The manufacturing dates for these wrenches can be estimated by catalog references. The Hinsdale HD1-HD6 wrenches are first noted in the 1933 catalog and remained in production through the 1940s. However, the model numbers had been changed to use the opening sizes in 32nds by 1943 or earlier, suggesting an early 1930s to late 1930s production period.

Craftsman standard offset wrenches were first offered in the fall of 1933. Since Craftsman box wrenches became "standardized" in the raised panel style by 1934, a non-conforming style like the round-shank Hinsdale wrenches would have been more likely to be offered earlier than later. This suggests a 1933-1934 manufacturing date for the Craftsman-marked wrench.


Hinsdale HD4 and Craftsman HD4 3/4x25/26 Offset Box-End Wrenches

The next two figures will show Hinsdale and Craftsman examples of the HD4 model.

[Hinsdale HD4 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 96. Hinsdale HD4 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1933 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 96 shows a Hinsdale HD4 3/4x25/32 offset box-end wrench, marked with the Hinsdale name and Round-H-Circle logo, with "Chrome Vanadium Steel" on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished ends.

[Craftsman HD4 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 97. Craftsman "HD4" 3/4x25/32 Offset Box-End Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Reverse Detail, ca. 1933-1934.

Fig. 97 shows an early Craftsman "HD4" 3/4x25/32 offset box wrench with a round shank, stamped "Chrome Vanadium Steel" between an "HD" and "4", with "Craftsman" and the fractional sizes on the reverse. (The wrench is heavily pitted from rust, making the markings very difficult to read.)

The overall length is 10.6 inches. The original finish was chrome (or nickel) plating, although most of the finish has been lost due to rust.


Socket Sets


Craftsman Vanadium 9/32-Drive Socket Set

[Craftsman Vanadium 9/32-Drive Socket Set]
Fig. 98. Craftsman Vanadium 9/32-Drive Socket Set.

Fig. 98 shows another Craftsman connection, a 9/32-drive socket set in a metal box. The tools in the set are marked "Craftsman Vanadium" (with the exception of the unmarked breaker bar), and the sockets in particular very closely resemble the Hinsdale 11M Socket Set shown above.

As with the 11M set, the box for these tools has a raised shelf with holes sized to hold the sockets and tabs to restrain the drive tools. The overall length of the box is 6.2 inches, shorter than the 11M example above, but nearly the same as the 11M set listed in the 1947 Hinsdale catalog. (This set substitutes a plain extension for the handle extension of the 11M set, and therefore can fit in a smaller box.)

Another clue to the maker here is that the Hinsdale 9/32 sockets have unusually thin walls, so that 9/32-drive sockets from other makers (e.g. Plomb or Snap-on) do not fit properly in the recess holes of the box. The Craftsman and Hinsdale sockets fit interchangeably though, providing further evidence of the Hinsdale maker.


Open-End Wrenches

Of the Hinsdale production for Craftsman identified thus far, open-end wrenches were chronologically later than the box wrenches and socket sets. Based on a review of the Sears catalogs, the Hinsdale variant of the Craftsman Vanadium open-end wrenches first appeared in 1935.

In the figures below we will show pairs of wrenches when we have Hinsdale and Craftsman examples in the same model. For further discussion, the reader can refer to the sections on "Hinsdale Vanadium" Open-End Wrenches and Craftsman Vanadium Open-End Wrenches.


"Hinsdale Vanadium" and "Craftsman Vanadium" 1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of "Hinsdale Vanadium" and "Craftsman Vanadium" wrenches in the 1729 model.

In addition to the wide, gently-sloped depressed panels, these wrenches have an unusual and distinctive design feature in that the heads have opposite lateral offsets. In the lower part of the next figure, note that the point where the shank joins the left head is shifted to the upper side, and the point where it joins the right head is shifted to the lower side.

[Hinsdale Vanadium 1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 99. Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1935 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 99 shows a Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1729 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Hinsdale" and the embedded Round-H-Circle logo plus "Vanadium" forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse panel. The faces are stamped with the fractional sizes on the front, with the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 7.6 inches.

[Craftsman Vanadium 1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 100. Craftsman Vanadium 1729 5/8x3/4 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse Detail, ca. 1935-1938.

Fig. 100 shows a Craftsman Vanadium 1729 5/8x3/4 open-end wrench with wide gently-sloped depressed panels, marked with the Craftsman underline logo and "Vanadium" forged into the front panel, and with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse panel.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with traces of the original chrome plating.


"Hinsdale Vanadium" and "Craftsman Vanadium" 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrenches

The next two figures show examples of "Hinsdale Vanadium" and "Craftsman Vanadium" wrenches in the 1033C model.

[Hinsdale Vanadium 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 101. Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1935 to Late 1930s.

Fig. 101 shows a Hinsdale "Vanadium" 1033C 15/16x1 open-end wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Hinsdale" and the embedded Round-H-Circle logo plus "Vanadium" forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse panel. The faces are stamped with the fractional sizes on the front, with the model number on the reverse.

The overall length is 10.0 inches. The finish is plain steel, with traces of the original plated finish.

[Craftsman Vanadium 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 102. Craftsman Vanadium 1033C 15/16x1 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Reverse, ca. 1935-1938.

Fig. 102 shows a Craftsman Vanadium 1033C 15/16x1 open-end wrench with wide, gently-sloped depressed panels, marked with the Craftsman underline logo and "Vanadium" forged into the front panel, with "Forged in U.S.A." forged into the reverse panel.

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


Refrigeration Tools

By the mid 1930s Hinsdale was offering sets of specialty tools for refrigeration service, a rapidly growing industry at the time. We have some examples of these tools and will display them as time permits.


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