Alloy Artifacts  

Kraeuter & Company


Table of Contents

Introduction

Kraeuter & Company was an early tool maker, established in the mid nineteenth century and best known for their high quality pliers.

Company History

Kraeuter & Company was founded by August Kraeuter, a German immigrant who came to America in 1859 at 22 years of age.

Although the company's later catalogs and advertisements state that the company was established in 1860, the historical record doesn't support such an early founding date. A biography of August Kraeuter on page 247 of the 1898 Biographical and Genealogical History of the City of Newark [External Link] notes that Kraeuter began employment working for a pistol maker in Newark, New Jersey, and then worked with Henry Sauerbier in the manufacture of arms for the government.

By 1864 August Kraeuter was in the partnership of Heuschkel, Kraeuter & Company, and by 1869 with Foerster & Kraeuter. Finally, in 1878 Kraeuter began his own business manufacturing tools.

Thus the historical record suggests 1878 as a more realistic founding date, and the claim of being established in 1860 appears to be a company myth.

The company's earliest products were primarily machinists' tools such as calipers.

Succession by Arthur A. Kraeuter

[1903 Notice for Kraeuter Universal No. 305 Pliers]
Fig. 1. 1903 Notice for Kraeuter No. 305 Universal Pliers.

In 1902 August Kraeuter sold the business to Arthur A. Kraeuter, his eldest son by his second marriage. Arthur A. Kraeuter had worked with his father and knew the business well, and proved to be an adept manager. Kraeuter & Company's products around this time included ticket punches, calipers, and specialty tools, but the company soon became a major manufacturer of pliers.

The scan in Fig. 1 shows a notice published on page 77 [External Link] of the November 26, 1903 issue of The Iron Age, illustrating the Kraeuter No. 305 universal pliers and explaining how they work with objects of different shapes.

[1904 Notice for Kraeuter Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 2. 1904 Notice for Bonney Adjustable Alligator Wrench.

By 1904 Kraeuter was producing a wide range of tools and hardware items, including ticket punches, calipers, chisels, punches, pliers, and wrenches.

The full line of Kraeuter products was available through Tower & Lyon, a distributor and manufacturer's agent, and their 1904 catalog devoted pages 39 through 64 to Kraeuter.

The scan in Fig. 2 shows a notice published on page 50 [External Link] of the February 13, 1904 issue of The Metal Worker, Plumber and Steam Fitter. The illustration shows a "Bonney Adjustable Alligator Wrench" made by Kraeuter.

The "Bonney" in the notice refers to Charles S. Bonney, who received a patent for the tool. An example of this tool can be seen as the Kraeuter Adjustable Alligator Wrench in a later figure.

[1904 Advertisement]
Fig. 3. 1904 Advertisement for Kraeuter Pliers. [External Link]

Fig. 3 shows a small ad for "The Victor" universal slip-joint pliers, as published in the July, 1904 issue of the Hardware Dealers' Magazine.

These pliers were one of the company's most popular models and remained in production for many years.


Nickel Steel and the "Dreadnought" Line

In 1914 Kraeuter introduced a significant new product, the No. 2801 "Dreadnought" lineman's pliers. These pliers were forged from nickel alloy steel and featured a new "Don't Slip" gripping pattern, for which Kraeuter received design patent D46,682 in that same year.

[1916 Catalog Listing for Kraeuter No. 2801 Pliers]
Fig. 4. 1916 Catalog Listing for Kraeuter No. 2801 "Dreadnought" Pliers.

The scan in Fig. 4 shows a catalog listing for the No. 2801 pliers, as published on page 15 of the 1916 catalog from Central Automobile Supply of Des Moines, Iowa.

A close look at the illustration shows the text "Dreadnought" and "Nickel Steel" on the face, with "Forged Nickel Steel" on the underside of the handle.

We were fortunate to acquire an early example of the No. 2801 pliers, which can be seen as the Kraeuter No. 2801 Lineman's Pliers in a later figure.

The usage of nickel steel for these pliers is one of the earliest confirmed instances of alloy steel in hand tools, and significantly predates the widespread adoption of alloy steel by Bonney and others in the early 1920s.

Kraeuter also used nickel steel for a premium line of chisels, which shared the "Dreadnought" moniker as well, suggesting that Kreauter was considering this as a brand to denote its alloy steel.

Combination Side-Cutting Pliers and "Beauty Handles"

By around 1915 Kraeuter had started developing a new type of slip-joint combination pliers with a novel feature, side-cutting edges. For most combination pliers the slip joint was too sloppy to allow side cutters to align properly, but Kraeuter thought they could make it work. The result was the No. 1873 "Gripkut" slip-joint side-cutting pliers, which were available by 1916.

To protect their new pliers from competition, Kraeuter apparently sought to get two patents for the pliers, one of which was to be a design patent for a new gripping pattern. Once the new gripping pattern was ready, Kraeuter used it for a new model No. 1973 "Gripkut" pliers, which were probably available by 1917.

No functional patent for the pliers is known, but the design patent was eventually issued as patent D59,602 in 1921. (A more in-depth discussion of the mystery around this patent can be found in the section on Handle Patterns.)

Kraeuter was apparently much enamored of the new handle pattern, which they referred to as "Beauty Handles" in a catalog from around 1921.

[1920 Ad for Kraeuter Victor Pliers]
Fig. 5. 1920 Advertisement for Kraeuter "Victor" Pliers.

Within a few years the new gripping pattern was being used for other models of pliers.

Fig. 5 shows an ad for Kraeuter [No. 1305] "Victor" pliers, as published on page 1138 of the July, 1920 edition of The Automobile Trade Directory.

The illustration shows the new "Beauty Handles" gripping pattern. Although not mentioned in the text, these pliers were given model No. 1305 and were functionally equivalent to the older No. 305 "Victor" pliers, but with a new handle pattern.

By 1921 Kraeuter was offering No. 1356 combination pliers with the "Beauty Handles" pattern, which were functionally equivalent to the older No. 356 pliers. The new model can be found on a price list published on page 98 of the July, 1921 edition of The American Machine & Tool Record.

A Kraeuter catalog from around 1921 listed five models with the new "Beauty Handles" gripping pattern: the original No. 1973 pliers, as well as Nos. 1305, 1356, 1821, and 1824.


Factory Expansion

In 1917 Kraeuter saw an opportunity to expand by adding a new factory, which was to be built in nearby Irvington, New Jersey. A profile of the company in the 1945 The Story of New Jersey states that the immediate reason for the factory was to manufacture shell forgings for the US government, as the country geared up for World War I.

[1917 Notice of Kraeuter Factory Expansion]
Fig. 6A. 1917 Notice of Kraeuter Factory Expansion. [External Link]

Fig. 6A shows a notice announcing plans for Kraeuter to erect a new factory in Irvington, as published on page 716 of the June 15, 1917 issue of Metallurgical and Chemical Engineering.

This notice of the factory expansion was a welcome discovery, as it provides a reasonable explanation of an otherwise puzzling facet of Kraeuter's history. In the years before 1920 Kraeuter had consistently marked its tools with the company's Newark location, but by 1920 had removed the Newark marking from most of its catalog illustrations. We have known of the removal of the Newark marking around 1920 for quite a while, and have even used it as an approximate clue to the manufacturing date for tools, but the motivation for the change has not been clear until now.

When the second factory returned to civilian production in 1918, the company would have faced a choice of marking the tools made in Irvington either with the new location, with the older Newark location (the company headquarters), or with no location marking at all.

The company apparently decided that having tools marked for multiple locations would not be worth the trouble, and so began phasing out the Newark marking instead. Presumably the tools made in Irvington would have been marked with just the company name from the beginning, and the marking dies with the Newark location were gradually replaced as they wore out.

The new factory had substantial capacity, as we can learn from a noise nuisance lawsuit [External Link] that the factory in Irvington had 28 drop-hammers ranging in size from 400 to 2000 pounds falling weight.

Company Treasurer

By 1919 Camille L. Gairoard had become the company's treasurer. Gairoard had been associated with the company since 1905, but somewhat curiously was also the sales manager for the J.Wiss & Sons Company, a manufacturer of scissors and cutlery.

By 1921 Gairoard had become the sales manager for Kraeuter & Company as well.

[1922 Advertisement for Kraeuter Tools]
Fig. 6B. 1922 Advertisement for Kraeuter Tools. [External Link]

Fig. 6B shows a full-page ad providing a snapshot of the Kraeuter line of that time, as published on page 147 of the March, 1922 edition of Hardware Retailer.

The illustration at the upper left appears to show a point-of-sale display board with many models of pliers.


Magazine Advertisements

In the mid 1920s Kraeuter placed advertisements in some of the popular magazines of the day.

[1924 Advertisement for Kraeuter Tools]
Fig. 7. 1924 Advertisement for Kraeuter Tools.

The scan in Fig. 7 shows a full-page ad for Kraeuter pliers, as published on page 93 [External Link] of the May, 1924 issue of Popular Science Monthly.

Included in the illustration (from the top) are the No. 1661 Needle Nose Side-Cutting Pliers, No. 356 Slip-Joint Pliers, No. 1973 Slip-Joint Side-Cutting Pliers, No. 1831 Electrician's Pliers, and No. A1618 Open-End Wrench.

Note that the No. 1973 pliers are illustrated with the "Beauty Handles" variant of the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern. This pattern was used as early as 1917, but later production of the No. 1973 pliers used the 1914 "Don't Slip" pattern. (See Fig. 34 for reference.)

Note also that the underside of the handles (visible for the No. 1973 and No. 356 pliers) shows "Kraeuter U.S.A." instead of the older "Forged Steel". This advertisement provides an important clue to estimating production dates.


The 1929 Catalog

In 1929 Kraeuter published their catalog No. 14, which highlights the company's product line with 72 pages of exquisite illustrations. (This is easily the highest quality tool catalog we've ever seen.)

The catalog shows most of their pliers with the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern or the "Beauty Handles" variant, and the plier handles generally show "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside.

This catalog also introduces the "Supreme" classification, first applied to the No. 4801 lineman's pliers and in later years selectively extended to a few other models.


[1931 Notice for Kraeuter Brake Pliers]
Fig. 7B. 1931 Notice for Kraeuter Brake Pliers.

Currently we don't have much information on Kraeuter's operations during the 1930s to 1950s, but some notices for the company's products appeared in various trade publications during this period.

The scan in Fig. 7B shows a notice for Kraeuter brake pliers, as published on page 59 of the November 12, 1931 issue of Hardware Age.

The text describes the operation of the No. 751-7 brake shoe washer spreader pliers and No. 851-10 brake band pliers.


New Management

In 1933 Camille L. Gairoard purchased Kraeuter & Company and became company president. Gairoard was a long-time employee and had been the company's treasurer since around 1919, and sales manager since 1921.

At the same time Gairoard also purchased The Kroydon Company, a maker of golf clubs established by Arthur A. Kraeuter around 1920.

We haven't found any contemporary notices of the company succession in the trade press, which seems surprising since Kraeuter & Company was well known at the time. A much later profile of the company in a 1960 issue of Hardware Age clarified the ownership transition.

After selling his company, Arthur A. Kraeuter appears to have devoted his time to golf and golf equipment, as he received several patents for golf clubs in the 1930s and 1940s.

[1936 Ad for Kraeuter Pliers]
Fig. 7C. 1936 Advertisement for Kraeuter Pliers.

The scan in Fig. 7C shows an ad for Kraeuter pliers, as published on page 83 of the May 7, 1936 issue of Hardware Age.

The illustration shows several new models of pliers, including the model 236-238 diagonal cutters, model 936-938 "Hy-Power" diagonal cutters and cotter-pin pullers, and models 516 and 518 "Grip-It" pliers.

A close look at the illustration for the "Hy-Power" pliers reveals a "Pat. Appld. For" notation, a reference to patent 2,043,373, filed in 1935 by Camille Gairoard and issued in 1936.

A notable detail in the ad is the absence of a "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking on the underside of the handles, visible in the illustrations for the 236-238 diagonal cutting pliers (middle left) and 2801 lineman's pliers (lower left).

Just as an earlier ad in 1924 provided evidence that the "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking was in use, the present 1936 ad shows that the marking had been (or was being) discontinued. This is an important clue for estimating production dates.

The text in the lower right corner mentions the availability of catalog No. 16. No copies are currently known, but hopefully it will turn up at some point.

Surprisingly, this ad is currently our only published reference for the model 236-238 diagonal cutters. These tools were not listed in the 1939 Kraeuter catalog.


Cushion Grip Handles

By 1957 Kraeuter was offering color-coded plastic "Cushion Grip" handles for most of its fixed-pivot pliers. The company placed an ad for the new "CG" pliers on page 204 [External Link] of the August, 1957 issue of Popular Mechanics.


Later Operations

By the early 1960s Kraeuter had been acquired by Dresser Industries, a conglomerate making tools and machinery.

Shortly afterwards Dresser acquired the Symington-Wayne Corporation, the corporate parent of the Sherman-Klove (S-K) and Lectrolite tool companies. By 1964 Kraueter & Company had become a division of Symington-Wayne and was listed in Defiance, Ohio, the long-time home of Lectrolite.

By 1965 the Kraeuter line had been expanded to include sockets and drive tools, with production by S-K.


Patents

Kraeuter & Company: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
441,309 A. Kraeuter05/28/189011/25/1890 Pliers with Wire Cutters
728,842 C.S. Bonney10/11/190205/26/1903 Adjustable Alligator Wrench
Kraeuter Adjustable Alligator Wrench
751,079 A.A. Kraeuter05/08/190202/02/1904 Belt Punch
953,170 A.A. Kraeuter06/17/190803/29/1910 Pliers with Wire Cutters
Kraeuter 1821 Universal Combination Pliers
953,171 A.A. Kraeuter12/16/190903/29/1910 Bearing Scraper
Kraeuter 1202-13 Bearing Scraper
D46,681 A.A. Kraeuter07/18/191411/24/1914 Design for Handle Pattern
D46,682 A.A. Kraeuter07/22/191411/24/1914 Design for Handle Pattern ["Don't Slip"]
Early Kraeuter 2801-6 Pliers
Kraeuter 356-6 Pliers
D56,525 A.A. Kraeuter04/07/192011/02/1920 Press for Tennis Rackets
D59,602 A.A. Kraeuter04/08/192011/08/1921 Later Handle Pattern for Pliers ["Beauty Handles"]
Kraeuter 1356-6 Pliers
2,043,373 C.L. Gairoard05/14/193506/09/1936 Pliers with Side Cutters
2,088,197 C.L. Gairoard10/07/193607/27/1937 Masonry Drill
2,088,224 E.L. Aiken11/18/193607/27/1937 Improved Pliers ["Ring Lock"]
2,810,192 W.A. Rinehart06/12/195710/22/1957 End-cutting Resistor Pliers

Trademarks

Unlike most of its competitors, Kraeuter did not make use of trademarked brand names, preferring to use just the company name. Even the company name was not registered until the 1960s, when "Kraeuter & Company" was registered as #775,742 on August 25, 1964.

The first use date given with this late registration was 1910, but we know from earlier advertisements that Kraeuter was using its name well before then. This shows the danger of relying on first-use dates provided at a much later time.

On January 14, 1964 the company filed a trademark application for the K-Diamond logo, with the first use date listed as 1910. The application was published on May 26, 1964, and the trademark was issued as #774,955.


Tool Identification


K-Diamond Logo

[K-Diamond Logo]
Fig. 7B. K-Diamond Logo.

Fig. 7B shows the K-Diamond logo forged into a tool.


Manufacturing Dates

Kraeuter tools were not marked with an explicit manufacturing date or code, so any estimate of the manufacturing date must be made based on construction, markings, or other factors. In order to assist with estimating manufacturing dates, we hope to develop some guidelines based on tool markings and other characteristics.

Handle Patterns

Over the years Kraeuter used various handle patterns for its pliers, and these provide a rich source of clues to the manufacturing dates, both in the patterns themselves and in the text commonly forged into the underside of the handles.

Two of the handle patterns were described by design patents and deserve special discussion. Specifically, these were the 1914 "Don't Slip" pattern in patent D46,682, and the 1921 variant in patent D59,602, which Kraeuter referred to as "Beauty Handles". (Kraeuter actually filed a third design patent for a handle pattern, but it is not known to have been produced.)

[Detail from 1914 Patent D46,682]
Fig. 8. Detail from 1914 "Don't Slip" Patent D46,682.

Fig. 8 shows the "Don't Slip" handle pattern described in design patent D46,682, filed on July 22, 1914 and issued on November 24, 1914.

The 1914 "Don't Slip" pattern was initially used only for the No. 2801 "Dreadnought" lineman's pliers, and the Kraeuter catalog from around 1921 still shows only this model with the 1914 pattern. However, by 1929 most other pliers had been updated to use the 1914 "Don't Slip" pattern.

[Detail from 1921 Patent D59,602]
Fig. 9. Detail from 1921 "Beauty Handles" Patent D59,602.

Fig. 9 shows the "Beauty Handles" pattern described in design patent D59,602, filed on April 8, 1920 and issued on November 8, 1921.

The "Beauty Handles" pattern was originally thought to have followed a path similar to the 1914 patent, but with a slightly longer period between the filing and issue date.

However, a recent discovery (January 2022) has revealed a much more confusing history. While doing some routine cross-referencing of tools in distributor catalogs, we ran across a listing for the Kraeuter No. 1973 "Gripkut" pliers clearly illustrated with the "Beauty Handles" pattern, and bearing a "Pats Pending" marking, but published in the 1918 Buhl Sons catalog, two years before the design patent filing!

[1918 Catalog Listing for Kraeuter No. 1973 Gripkut Pliers]
Fig. 10. 1918 Catalog Listing for Kraeuter No. 1973 "Gripkut" Pliers.

The scan in Fig. 10 shows a catalog listing for Kraeuter No. 1973 "Gripkut" pliers, as published on page 344 of the 1918 Buhl Sons catalog.

Note that the illustration is marked "Pats Pending" near the pivot, with "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J." below.

With this unexpected discovery of a 1918 published reference to the No. 1973 "Gripkut" pliers with the "Beauty Handles" gripping pattern, we did some further research and found even earlier public references to "Gripkut". The 1916 Central Auto Supply catalog offered No. 1873 "Gripkut" pliers with the older handle pattern, and the January, 1917 edition of the Chilton Automobile Directory lists the Kraeuter "Gripkut" brand under "Pliers" on page 361 [External Link], along with their other brands "Dreadnought" and "Victor".

We can use this newly discovered information to construct a hypothetical narrative for the origin of the No. 1973 "Gripkut" pliers and the "Beauty Handles" gripping pattern.

Around 1915 Kraeuter apparently began developing a new model of combination pliers with a novel side-cutting feature. The result became the No. 1873 slip-joint side-cutting pliers, for which Kraeuter coined the term "Gripkut" as a brand. The No. 1873 "Gripkut" pliers were available as early as 1916 based on a catalog listing, and Chilton was informed of the "Gripkut" brand early enough to include it in its January 1917 directory,

In order to fend off competition, Kraeuter sought to protect the pliers with patents, one of which was to be a design patent for a new gripping pattern, with another patent possibly for the functional addition of side-cutters. Kraeuter proceeded to design a new handle pattern as a variant of its 1914 "Don't Slip" pattern, but decided to use the new pattern on a new model No. 1973 "Gripkut" pliers.

As the No. 1973 pliers neared production, Kraeuter prepared the illustration for the catalog engraving, with markings including "Gripkut" and "Pats Pending", along with the standard "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J." used at that time. The "Pats Pending" marking would have been made in good faith, as the company planned to submit patent applications in the near future.

By around 1917 the pliers were ready for production, and catalog engravings were made available to any distributors planning to carry the new No. 1973 pliers. From our observations, at least two distributors (Buhl Sons Company and Tool Specialty Company) received and published the early engravings for the No. 1973 pliers. But for whatever reason, the patent applications either didn't get filed, or were filed and rejected.

By 1920 Kraeuter had revised most of its catalog illustrations for pliers, including the No. 1973 model, with the markings now limited to just the "Kraeuter" name. (The newly simplified illustrations were published in the 1920 Pittsburgh Auto Equipment catalog.) The company also filed a belated application for a design patent on the gripping pattern for the No. 1973 pliers, which became patent D59,602 in 1921.

Our hypothesis above may not have captured every detail of the actual events, but we believe it provides a plausible and reasonable explanation of the known facts.

Factors for Estimating Production Dates

The following list of events and observations may be helpful in estimating the manufacturing date for some tools.


References and Resources

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


Catalog Coverage

Product information was obtained from a number of Kraeuter catalogs, as summarized in the table below. The catalogs note that the company was established in 1860 and incorporated in 1907, and list their address as 569 Eighteenth Avenue, Newark, New Jersey.

Most of the catalogs in the table have a definite copyright or publication date, but the catalog from around 1921 was undated and requires some discussion of the date estimate. For brevity, we'll refer to this as the "1921 catalog" as we seek to justify our publication date estimate.

This catalog offers an extensive selection of pliers, including Nos. 56, 305, 355, 356, 450, 451, 1305, 1356, 1581, 1591, 1593, 1601, 1611, 1621, 1631, 1641, 1651, 1661, 1671, 1681, 1691, 1701, 1711, 1721, 1731, 1741, 1751, 1781, 1771, 1801, 1821, 1824, 1831, 1834, 1841, 1850, 1851, 1873, 1880, 1903, 1913, 1923, 1973, 2601, 2801, 4250, 4251, 4252, and 4460.

The 1921 catalog lists five models of pliers with a distinctive "Beauty Handles" (Kraeuter's term) gripping pattern described by design patent D59,602, filed in 1920 and issued in 1921. If there were no complications, this fact alone would support a 1920+ publication date estimate. But of course there are complications.

We recently (January 2022) found a catalog listing for Kraeuter No. 1973 "Gripkut" pliers in a 1918 Buhl Sons catalog, clearly showing the "Beauty Handles" pattern and with a "Pats Pending" marking. (The Kraeuter "Gripkut" brand had been used as early as 1916.) This establishes the puzzling fact that Kraeuter had been selling pliers with its new gripping pattern for at least two years before the actual design patent filing.

However, the discovery of the 1918 listing does not support an earlier publication date for the 1921 catalog, because the illustrations are quite different. The 1918 illustration has markings for "Gripkut" and "Pats Pending" as well as the "Newark, N.J." location, but the illustration in the 1921 catalog has been simplified to just a "Kraeuter" marking.

Kraeuter actually simplified most of its illustrations to remove the "Newark, N.J." marking, not just for the No. 1973 pliers. These later illustrations were also published in the 1920 catalog No. 7 from Pittsburgh Auto Equipment, so once again we have a circa 1920 publication date estimate, but by a very circuitous route.

Now let's consider the other pliers illustrated with "Beauty Handles" in the 1921 catalog. The No. 1305 pliers were listed in the 1920 Pittsburgh Auto Equipment catalog, and we also found a 1920 advertisement for the pliers. These references are consistent with a 1920+ publication date, and show that over time Kraeuter was adding other models with the new gripping pattern.

A public reference to the No. 1356 pliers can be found in a price list published on page 98 of the July, 1921 edition of The American Machine & Tool Record. (There's no illustration, but the No. 1356 pliers were the same as the No. 356 pliers but with "Beauty Handles".) We also found a listing for the No. 1356 pliers in the 1922 Marwedel catalog. These references suggest that the No. 1356 pliers may have been first offered in 1921, and provide some evidence to push up the publication date estimate to 1921.

For the Nos. 1821 and 1824 pliers we have no references until the 1929 Kraeuter catalog, suggesting that the 1921 catalog may have been the first publication to show these models with the "Beauty Handles" gripping pattern. So although these models provide no evidence to change the date estimate, they may (along with the No. 1356) suggest the motivation for publishing the catalog: with three new models sporting the "Beauty Handles" pattern, Kraeuter may have decided it was time for a new catalog edition.

We will offer one further piece of evidence which should clinch the 1921 publication date estimate. The 1921 catalog listing for the No. 1973 pliers includes the text "design patent plier", and this is the only one of the "Beauty Handles" models noted in this way. After the embarrassment of offering the No. 1973 "Pats Pending" pliers some years before the patent filing, we think it's unlikely that Kraeuter would have added this text unless the design patent had been granted, or at least definitely approved. The patent was granted in 1921, and this increases the confidence in our 1921 publication date estimate.

Could the catalog have been published slightly later? The above arguments would still hold into 1922, but during this period Kraeuter was phasing in the "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking on the underside of the handles, replacing the older "Forged Steel". (We have examples with mixed markings.) Thus a significant delay in publication might suggest that some illustrations should show the new handle marking. From all of these considerations, we think that a 1921 publication date best fits the evidence.

Kraeuter & Company: Catalog Resources
Catalog Title Date Notes
      "Kraeuter Automobile & Mechanic's Tools" (1921):
  Kraeuter Automobile & Mechanic's Tools 1921 No copyright, undated. See notes above for date estimation.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
Most illustrations show only "Kraeuter" name, without "Newark N.J." marking.
Lists No. 2801 "Dreadnought" lineman's pliers with 1914 "Don't Slip" handle pattern.
Lists No. 1973 "Gripkut" pliers with "Beauty Handles" pattern, no "Pats Pending" marking.
Lists Nos. 1305, 1356, 1821, and 1824 pliers with "Beauty Handles" pattern.
Lists No. 330 "Dreadnought" cold chisels, forged from nickel steel.
Lists "Dreadnought" connecting rods for Ford cars!
      No. 14 "Kraeuter Automobile & Mechanic's Tools" (1929):
No. 14 Kraeuter Automobile & Mechanic's Tools 1929 Copyright 1929. High quality catalog in 9x6 inch size with 72 pages.
Includes bound-in price sheet from May, 1930.
Most pliers illustrated with 1914 "Don't Slip" pattern and "Kraeuter U.S.A." on underside.
Most face markings show "Kraeuter" and model number, a few still have "Newark N.J." marking.
Lists No. 4801 "Supreme" lineman's pliers with "Beauty Handles" pattern.
Lists No. 1821 pliers with old illustration, "Beauty Handles", "Newark N.J.", and "Forged Steel".
Lists No. 360 combination pliers in black finish with "Beauty Handles" pattern.
Chisels note use of chrome-moly steel.
      No. 15 "Kraeuter Automobile & Mechanic's Tools" (1934):
No. 15 Kraeuter Automobile & Mechanic's Tools 1934 Lists 743 "Sure-Grip" angle-nose pliers, three sizes.
Lists 4801 "Supreme" lineman's pliers.
      No. 16 (1936):
No. 16   1936 No copy known, but noted in May 7, 1936 issue of Hardware Age.
      No. 18 "Kraeuter High Grade Tools" (1939):
No. 18 Kraeuter High Grade Tools 1939 Copyright 1939, dated July, 1939. 36 pages.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
K-Diamond line of economy pliers offered.
Some pliers illustrated without "Kraeuter U.S.A." handle marking.
      No. 20 "Kraeuter Fine Tools" (1946):
No. 20 Kraeuter Fine Tools 1946 Copyright 1946, dated January, 1946.
All pliers regrouped into six product lines.
Circular marking style illustrated on most pliers.
Most pliers with plain or "knurled" handles.
      No. 21 "Kraeuter Fine Tools" (1952):
No. 21 Kraeuter Fine Tools 1952 No copy known, but copyright office shows entry in 1952.
      No. 25 "Kraeuter Fine Tools" (1955):
No. 25 Kraeuter Fine Tools 1955 No copy known, but copyright office shows entry in 1955.
      No. 26 "Kraeuter Fine Tools" (1958):
No. 26 Kraeuter Fine Tools 1958 Copyright 1958. Includes price list dated May 23, 1958.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
"Supreme" line no longer listed.
Most models available with "Cushion Grip" handle covers.
      No. 26A "Kraeuter Fine Tools" (1959):
No. 26A Kraeuter Fine Tools 1959 "Supreme" line no longer listed.
Most models available with "Cushion Grip" handle covers.

Industrial Distributors

Kraeuter tools were widely available from industrial and automotive distributors, and the catalogs of these companies provide descriptions and illustrations of the tools available at that time. The list below shows a sampling of these distributor catalogs.

Advertisements


Early Tools


4 Inch Calipers

[Kraeuter 4 Inch Calipers]
Fig. 11. Kraeuter 4 Inch Calipers, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1890s to 1900s.

Fig. 11 shows a pair of Kraeuter 4 inch calipers, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J." near the pivot.

The overall length is 3.9 inches, and the finish is polished steel.


"The Victor" Adjustable Alligator Wrench

[Kraeuter Victor Adjustable Alligator Wrench]
Fig. 12. Kraeuter "The Victor" Adjustable Alligator Wrench, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1904-1910.

Fig. 12 shows a distinctive Kraeuter "The Victor" adjustable alligator wrench, stamped "The Victor" and "Pat. May 26, 03" on the head, with "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." on the movable jaw (see inset). The handle is marked with "Pat May 26 03" forged into a dimpled background, with "Forged High Carbon Steel" on the back side (not shown).

The overall length is 7.0 inches. Some traces of the original nickel plated finish can be seen on the jaws, but most has been lost due to extensive rust.

The patent date refers to patent #728,842, filed in 1902 by Charles S. Bonney.


Early [1821] 8 Inch Lineman's "Universal Combination" Pliers

[Kraeuter Early 1821 8 Inch Universal Combination Pliers]
Fig. 13. Kraeuter Early [1821] 8 Inch Lineman's "Universal Combination" Pliers, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1908-1910.

Fig. 13 shows an early pair of Kraeuter [1821] 8 inch "Universal Combination" pliers, combining flat and rounded gripping surfaces, lineman's side-cutters, Button's slot cutters, and awl plus screwdriver handle tips. The pliers are stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J." on the back side lower handle, with a faint (unreadable) marking "??SUR?? PAT?" on the upper handle.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is polished steel with a black oxide coating.

One notable feature of these pliers is the addition of a pin to limit the opening such that the Button's style cutting slots come into alignment. (The surface of the pin can be seen below and to the right of the central pivot on the back side.) This feature was described by patent #953,170, filed by A.A. Kraeuter in 1908 and issued in 1910. This patent may be the subject of the unreadable marking on the back side.

The marking and construction features of this example indicate an early production date, probably before 1910. The highly polished but plain (not patterned) handles closely resemble the illustrations in the 1904 Tower & Lyon catalog, although this particular model is not shown. The plain marking style and inclusion of the Newark location is also characteristic of Kraeuter's early production.

These pliers are significant as a good example of Kraeuter's production before the introduction of handle patterns, and in establishing the use of the limit pin feature in early Button's pliers. A later example of the 1821 pliers can be seen as the Kraeuter 1821 7 Inch Lineman's Pliers.


Chisels

Kraeuter was producing chisels by 1904 or earlier, as these tools are listed in the Tower & Lyon catalog from that year. However, since chisels (even of high quality) are slowly consumed by resharpening and eventually discarded, older chisels tend to be harder to find than other tools. Currently we don't have any early examples of chisels to display.

By around 1914 Kraeuter was using nickel steel for its chisels, which shared the "Dreadnought" brand with the No. 2801 Lineman's Pliers. We are fortunate to have an early catalog listing for these tools.

[1916 Catalog Listing of Kraeuter Chisels]
Fig. 14. 1916 Catalog Listing of Kraeuter "Dreadnought" Chisels.

The scan in Fig. 14 shows a catalog listing for Kraeuter chisels, as found on page 19 of the 1916 Central Automobile Supply catalog. Although the "Dreadnought" brand is listed only above the cold chisels, the text at the top implies that the entire line was made with nickel steel, and the similarity in pricing provides confirmation.

The illustration shows the markings "Kraeuter&Co." and "Newark,N.J.U.S.A." on the flat of the cold chisel, with other types marked simply "Kraeuter&Co." on the shank.

One of our readers sent photographs that show "Dreadnought" and "Nickel Steel" on the back side of the cold chisel, in the same marking style as the No. 2801 Lineman's Pliers.

It's not known whether the other chisel types, with their more limited space for markings, also received the "Dreadnought" marking.


1202-13 Bearing Scraper

[Kraeuter 1202-13 Bearing Scraper]
Fig. 15. Kraeuter 1202-13 Bearing Scraper, with Insets for Back Side and Marking Detail, ca. 1920s.

Fig. 15 shows a Kraeuter 1202-13 bearing scraper with a wooden handle, stamped "Made in USA" and "Patd. 3-09-10" on the shank.

The overall length is 12.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The patent date refers to patent #953,171, filed in 1909 by A.A. Kraeuter and issued in 1910.

The 1916 catalog listing in Fig. 14 shows this model of bearing scrapers at the lower right. The present example appears to be somewhat later than the catalog illustration, based on the plain "Kraeuter" marking.


Slip-Joint Pliers

Kraeuter had a long history of producing slip-joint pliers, with production of the No. 305 "Victor" pliers going back to the early 1900s.


Combination Pliers


305-7 "The Victor" 7 Inch Slip-Joint Universal Pliers

[Kraeuter 305-7 Victor 7 Inch Universal Pliers]
Fig. 16. Kraeuter 305-7 "The Victor" 7 Inch Universal Pliers, with Insets for Handle Pattern and Detail, ca. 1920-1921.

Fig. 16 shows a pair of Kraeuter 305-7 "The Victor" 7 inch slip-joint universal pliers, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." on the handle.

These pliers have an unusual mix of markings on the underside of the handles, with "Forged Steel" forged into the lower handle, but "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the upper handle and visible in the photograph.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The middle inset shows the Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern on the handles, the earliest of the major handle patterns used by Kraeuter.

The mixed markings of "Forged Steel" and "Kraeuter U.S.A." on these pliers suggest that the newer "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking was being phased in over time, possibly as the forging dies became worn and needed replacing anyway. Another example of pliers with mixed markings can be seen as the No. 1913-7 Pliers.

The older and newer forged-in markings together with the stamped "Newark" marking suggest production around 1920-1921.


356-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Combination Pliers

The next figures show two generations of the Kraeuter 356 pliers in the 5.5 inch size.

[Kraeuter 356-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 17. Kraeuter 356-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910-1920.

Fig. 17 shows an early pair of Kraeuter No. 356-5-/12 5.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." on the handle, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 5.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with minor losses due to wear.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern on the handles. This is the earliest of the major handle patterns used by Kraeuter.

[Kraeuter 356-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 18. Kraeuter 356-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to Late 1930s.

Fig. 18 shows a later pair of Kraeuter No. 356-5-/12 5.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number on the handle, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 5.8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with losses due to rust.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the forged-in gripping pattern on the handles, referred to as "Don't Slip" in the 1939 catalog. This pattern was registered as design patent #D46,682, issued to A.A. Kraeuter in 1914.


356-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers

[Kraeuter 356-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 19. Kraeuter 356-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Handle Pattern and Detail, ca. 1910-1920.

Fig. 19 shows an earlier pair of Kraeuter No. 356-6 6 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." on the handle, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The handle pattern for these pliers is a dimpled field with a central diamond.

[Kraeuter 356-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 20. Kraeuter 356-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to 1933.

Fig. 20 shows a later version of the Kraeuter 356-6 6 inch combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number near the pivot, and with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The handles are forged with a geometric pattern referred to as "Don't Slip" in the 1939 catalog. This pattern was registered as design patent #D46,682, issued to A.A. Kraeuter in 1914.

The screwdriver tip indicates production before 1934.


356-8 8 Inch Combination Pliers

The next figures show several generations of the Kraeuter 356-8 pliers. By 1934 the model 356-8 pliers were being produced with three slip-joint positions.

[Kraeuter 356-8 8 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 21. Kraeuter 356-8 8 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910-1920.

Fig. 21 shows a earlier pair of Kraeuter No. 356-8 8 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." on the handle, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

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

These pliers have the Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern on the handles, the earliest of the major handle patterns used by Kraeuter.

[Kraeuter 356-8 8 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 22. Kraeuter 356-8 8 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to 1933.

Fig. 22 shows a later pair of Kraeuter No. 356-8 8 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with some losses due to rust.

The top inset illustrates the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern on the handles. This pattern was registered as design patent #D46,682, issued to A.A. Kraeuter in 1914.

The "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking suggests production in the mid 1920s or later, and the two-position slip joint indicates production before 1934.


[Kraeuter 356-8 8 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 23. Kraeuter 356-8 8 Inch Combination Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 23 shows another later pair of Kraeuter 356-8 8 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped with the company name and "U.S.A." near the pivot.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The inset shows the simplified gripping pattern for the knurled handles, suggesting production from the mid 1940s onward.

These larger pliers have three working positions for the slip-joint mechanism, a feature noted as early as the 1934 catalog.


356-10 10 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

The next two figures show examples of the Kraeuter 356-10 pliers. By 1934 the 8 and 10 inch models were being produced with three slip-joint positions.

[Kraeuter 356-10 10 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 24. Kraeuter 356-10 10 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to 1933.

Fig. 24 shows an earlier pair of Kraeuter 356-10 10 inch combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 9.8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with some losses due to wear.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern on the handles.

The screwdriver tip and two-position slip-joint indicate production before 1934.

[Kraeuter 356-10 10 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 25. Kraeuter 356-10 10 Inch Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 25 shows a later example of the Kraeuter 356-10 10 inch combination pliers, stamped with the company name and "U.S.A." near the pivot.

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

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the simplified gripping pattern for the knurled handles.

The simplified gripping pattern suggests production from the mid 1940s onward.

These larger pliers have three working positions for the slip-joint mechanism, a feature noted as early as the 1934 catalog.


1356-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers

The No. 1356 pliers were functionally equivalent to the No. 356 models, but had the new (at that time) "Beauty Handles" gripping pattern.

[Kraeuter 1356-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 27. Kraeuter 1356-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1921.

Fig. 27 shows a pair of Kraeuter No. 1356-6 6 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." on the handle, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.5 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The handle pattern on these pliers is the "Beauty Handles" variant of the Kraeuter "Don't Slip" pattern, as described by design patent #D59,602, filed by A.A. Kraeuter in 1920 and issued in 1921.

Our earliest public reference to this model is from 1921. The use of the "Newark" marking with the "Beauty Handles" variant of the "Don't Slip" pattern is consistent with a manufacturing date around 1921.


360-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers

[Kraeuter 360-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 27B. Kraeuter 360-6 6 Inch Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 27B shows a pair of Kraeuter No. 360-6 6 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number near the pivot, and with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Beauty Handles" gripping pattern similar to the "Don't Slip" pattern, but described by the later design patent #D59,602, filed by A.A. Kraeuter in 1920 and issued in 1921.

The model 360 pliers were not listed in a Kraeuter catalog from around 1921, and were also missing from the 1934 catalog, suggesting that production occurred only from the early 1920s to early 1930s.

The "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking on the underside of the handles suggests production from the mid 1920s or later.


Bent-Nose Combination Pliers


1923-8 8 Inch Bent-Nose Combination Pliers

The next figures show two generations of the Kraeuter model 1923-8 pliers.

[Kraeuter 1923-8 8 Inch Bent-Nose Combination Pliers]
Fig. 28. Kraeuter 1923-8 8 Inch Bent-Nose Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Early 1920s.

Fig. 28 shows an earlier pair of Kraeuter 1923-8 8 inch bent-nose combination pliers, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." with the model number near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with extensive losses due to wear and rust.

The top inset illustrates the bent-nose construction and the older dimpled gripping pattern on the handles, although without the central diamond panel.

The "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged-in marking is somewhat unexpected on pliers with the older dimpled gripping pattern and "Newark" marking. This example may represent an early use of the handle marking.

[Kraeuter 1923-8 8 Inch Bent-Nose Combination Pliers]
Fig. 29. Kraeuter 1923-8 8 Inch Bent-Nose Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1930 to Mid 1930s.

Fig. 29 shows a later pair of Kraeuter 1923-8 8 inch bent-nose combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The top inset illustrates the bent-nose construction and the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern on the handles. This handle pattern is described by the Kraeuter 1914 design patent #D46,682.

The lack of a screwdriver tip on this example indicates production some time after 1929, and the "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking suggests production up to the mid 1930s.


1923-10 10 Inch Bent-Nose Combination Pliers

[Kraeuter 1923-10 10 Inch Bent-Nose Combination Pliers]
Fig. 30. Kraeuter 1923-10 10 Inch Bent-Nose Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910-1921.

Fig. 30 shows a pair of Kraeuter 1923-10 10 inch bent-nose combination pliers, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." near the pivot, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 9.6 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the bent-nose construction and the older dimpled gripping pattern on the handles.


Side-Cutting Combination Pliers

Combination pliers with side-cutters are someting of a rarity, as the loose fit of most slip-joint pliers makes it hard to keep the cutting edges aligned properly.

Kraeuter initially offered these features in the No. 1873 "Gripkut" combination side-cutting pliers, which were available as early as 1916, based on a listing in the Central Automobile Supply catalog. This catalog includes the "Gripkut" brand in its descriptions, although our examples of this model do not have the marking.

By 1917 or 1918 Kraeuter was offering its No. 1973 "Gripkut" combination side-cutting pliers, which were similar to the No. 1873 pliers except for a new handle pattern. The handles on these pliers were the first to use a new variant of the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern, for which Kraeuter coined the term "Beauty Handles", and which eventually became the 1921 design patent D59,602.

By the mid to late 1920s the handle pattern on the No. 1973 pliers had changed to the 1914 "Don't Slip" pattern.


1873-7 7 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters

[Kraeuter 1873-7 7 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters]
Fig. 31. Kraeuter 1873-7 7 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1916 to Early 1920s.

Fig. 31 shows a pair of Kraeuter 1873-7 7 inch slip-joint combination pliers with side cutters, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." near the pivot, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

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

These pliers have the Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern on the handles, the earlier of the major handle patterns used by Kraeuter.

[Kraeuter 1873-7 7 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters]
Fig. 32. Kraeuter 1873-7 7 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1916 to Early 1920s.

Fig. 32 shows a similar pair of Kraeuter 1873-7 7 inch slip-joint combination pliers with side cutters, stamped "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." near the pivot, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

These pliers have the Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern on the handles, the earlier of the major handle patterns used by Kraeuter.

On these pliers the stamped markings are oriented transversely to the main axis, compared with the approximately parallel orientation in the previous example.

In addition, the pliers have an interesting code "711 0" stamped near the pivot on both pieces, shown as a close-up in the middle right inset. These numbers are partially visible through the holes for the slip-joint, but the pliers must be disassembled to view the full code.

The meaning of this code is not yet known, but similar codes have been observed on some other Kraeuter slip-joint pliers.


1973-5-1/2 "Grip-Kut Junior" 5.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters

[1921 Catalog Listing of Kraeuter No. 1973 Gripkut Combination Pliers]
Fig. 33. 1921 Catalog Listing of Kraeuter No. 1973 "Gripkut" Combination Pliers.

The scan in Fig. 33 shows a catalog listing for the No. 1973 "Gripkut" combination pliers, as published in a Kraeuter catalog from around 1921.

Note that the illustration shows the handle pattern from design patent D59,602, and the text mentions "Beauty Handles" and calls this a "design patent plier".

Also note that the illustration shows only a "Kraeuter" marking, without the "Newark, N.J." marking typically found on earlier models.

[Kraeuter 1973-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 34. Kraeuter 1973-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Handle Pattern and Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to Mid 1930s.

Fig. 34 shows a pair of Kraeuter 1973-5-1/2 5.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers with side cutters, stamped with "USA" and the model number near the pivot, with "Grip-Kut Junior" and "Pat. Pending" on the back side (not shown). The handles have a forged-in "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking on the inside surface, as shown in the lower inset.

The overall length is 5.6 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The patent corresponding to the pending marking has not been found yet.

The 1939 Kraeuter catalog lists this model as a combination side cutting plier, and refers to the handle pattern as the "Don't Slip" design from a 1914 patent. Earlier production of this model used the "Beauty Handles" pattern from a 1921 patent, as the illustration in Fig. 33 shows. The 1925 Dunham, Carrigan Catalog listing for this model shows the 1921 pattern still in use at that time, but distributor catalogs don't always have up to date illustrations.

The "Don't Slip" handle pattern and "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking on the underside of the handles suggest production in the mid 1920s to mid 1930s.

A larger No. 1973-7 model was also available (see the Kraeuter 1973-7 Pliers), and pliers with smooth handles were available as a 1972 model series.


1973-5-1/2 "GripKut Supreme" 5.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters

[Kraeuter 1973-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 35. Kraeuter 1973-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers with Side Cutters, with Insets for Back Side, Side View, and Marking Detail, ca. Early to Mid 1940s?.

Fig. 35 shows a later pair of Kraeuter 1973-5-1/2 5.5 inch slip-joint combination pliers with side cutters, stamped with "GripKut Supreme" near the pivot, with "Kraeuter" and the model number on the back side, and with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 5.7 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with coarse grinding marks remaining on the surface.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern on the handles. Note also that the forging parting line and trimming remnants are visible on the nose of the pliers.

The "Supreme" marking indicates that these pliers were part of Kraeuter's select group of pliers retaining the forged handle patterns and finest finish.

The coarse surface and plain finish suggest production during the wartime years, when labor shortages and production quotas sometimes forced abbreviated finishing operations. The deeply stamped "D" on the underside of the handles (see lower inset) is an unfamiliar marking and may denote government production.

However, the "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking was being phased out by the mid 1930s and would not be expected for wartime production.


1973-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters

In later years the 1973-5.5 pliers no longer carried the "GripKut" moniker, and the patented gripping pattern had been replaced by simple knurling.

[Kraeuter 1973-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 36. Kraeuter 1973-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1946 to 1950s.

Fig. 36 shows a later pair of Kraeuter 1973-5.5 5.5 inch slip-joint pliers with side-cutters, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number near the pivot.

The overall length is 5.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the simplified version of the "Don't Slip" pattern widely used on earlier models. The undersides of the handles are smoothly finished with no markings.

Note that these pliers are fitted with a solid (flush) rivet, a detail mentioned in the 1946 catalog.

By this time the model 1973 pliers had obviously been dropped from the "Supreme" line, as the finely forged handle pattern of prior years has been replaced with a simple stamped pattern.


1973-7 "GripKut" 7 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers with Side-Cutters

Early versions of the Kraeuter No. 1973 combination side cutting pliers were made with the "Beauty Handles" variant of the "Don't Slip" handle pattern, as described by patent D59,602, filed in 1920 and issued in 1921.

[1920 Catalog Listing of Kraeuter No. 1973 Combination Pliers]
Fig. 37. 1920 Catalog Listing of Kraeuter No. 1973 "GripKut" Combination Pliers.

The scan in Fig. 37 shows a catalog listing for the No. 1973 pliers, as published on page 61 of the 1920 Tool Specialty Company catalog.

Note that the illustration is marked "Pats Pending", with "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J." below.

This same illustration was published as early as 1918 on page 344 of the Buhl Sons catalog.

We're fortunate to have several generations of the 1973-7 pliers for your viewing pleasure.

[Kraeuter 1973-7 7 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters]
Fig. 37B. Kraeuter 1973-7 "GripKut" 7 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters, with Insets for Back Side, Side View, and Marking Detail, ca. 1917-1920.

Fig. 37B shows an early pair of Kraeuter 1973-7 "GripKut" 7 inch combination pliers with side-cutters, stamped with "GripKut" and "Pats. Pending" on the front side, with "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." on the back.

The handles are marked with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with losses due to wear and rust.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Beauty Handles" gripping pattern described by design patent D59,602.

Note that one handle includes a screwdriver tip, a feature of earlier versions of this model.

The marked patent notation is believed to refer to earlier (possibly rejected) patents, including possibly a functional patent.

[Kraeuter 1973-7 7 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters]
Fig. 37C. Kraeuter 1973-7 "GripKut" 7 Inch Combination Pliers with Side Cutters, with Insets for Back Side, Side View, and Marking Detail, ca. Late 1920s to Mid 1930s.

Fig. 37C shows a somewhat later pair of Kraeuter 1973-7 "GripKut" 7 inch combination pliers with side-cutters, stamped with "GripKut" and "Pats. Pending" on the front side, with "Kraeuter" and the model number on the back.

The handles are marked with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern on the handles.

Note that one handle includes a screwdriver tip, a feature of earlier versions of this model.

The patent pending notation is believed to refer to earlier (possibly rejected) patents, including possibly a functional patent.

The "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking suggests production from the mid 1920s to mid 1930s, but the use of the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern instead of the "Beauty Handles" pattern suggests production from the late 1920s onward.


1973-7 7 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers with Side-Cutters

In later years the 1973-7 pliers no longer carried the "GripKut" moniker, and the patented gripping pattern had been replaced by simple knurling.

[Kraeuter 1973-7 7 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 38. Kraeuter 1973-7 7 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1945.

Fig. 38 shows a later pair of Kraeuter model 1973-7 slip-joint combination pliers with side-cutters, stamped "Kraeuter" and "USA" on the handle.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the simplified gripping pattern based on the earlier "Don't Slip" pattern.

By 1946 the model 1973 pliers were being offered with a solid (flush) rivet, indicating somewhat earlier production for this example.

These pliers are significant in showing that the change to the simplified knurled handles occurred before the change to a flush rivet, suggesting a 1945 production date.

Note that the pliers are no longer furnished with a screwdriver tip.


[Kraeuter 1973-7 7 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 39. Kraeuter 1973-7 7 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern, ca. 1946 to 1950s.

Fig. 39 shows a later pair of Kraeuter model 1973-7 slip-joint pliers with side-cutters, stamped "USA" on the handle.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The inset shows the simplified gripping pattern on the handles.

By 1946 the Kraeuter catalog listed the model 1973 pliers with a solid (flush) rivet, as in the example here, and the description mentions a tapered nose. The flush rivet and tapered nose suggest production from 1946 onward.


Thin-Nose Combination Pliers


1903-7 7 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers

The next figures show two generations of the model 1903-7 thin-nose combination pliers.

[Kraeuter 1903-7 7 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers]
Fig. 40. Kraeuter 1903-7 7 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1910-1921.

Fig. 40 shows an early pair of Kraeuter 1903-7 7 inch thin-nose combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." near the pivot, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with losses due to wear.

The top inset illustrates the thin jaws of this model. Note the use of the Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern on the handles, the earliest of the major handle patterns used by Kraeuter.

The "Newark" marking and Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern suggest production in the range 1910-1921.

[Kraeuter 1903-7 7 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers]
Fig. 41. Kraeuter 1903-7 7 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to Mid 1930s.

Fig. 41 shows a later pair of Kraeuter 1903-7 7 inch thin-nose combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

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

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the thin jaws and "Don't Slip" gripping pattern.

This example has a screwdriver tip on one handle, a feature that was still offered in 1934 but had been discontinued by 1939.


1913-7 7 Inch Bent Thin-Nose Combination Pliers

The next figures show two generations of the Kraeuter 1913-7 pliers, with some unexpected differences in construction and markings.

[Kraeuter 1913-7 7 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers]
Fig. 42. Kraeuter 1913-7 7 Inch Bent Thin-Nose Combination Pliers, with Insets for Back Side, Side View, and Marking Detail, ca. Early to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 42 shows a pair of Kraeuter 1913-7 7 inch bent thin-nose combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." near the pivot.

These pliers have rare mixed markings on the undersides of the handles, with "Forged Steel" forged into the underside of one handle and "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the other.

The overall length is 7.0 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with extensive losses due to rust.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the bent thin jaws of this model and the older Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern.

These pliers have an unusual combination of markings and construction, with the use of the older Dimple-Diamond gripping pattern, but with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into one handle. More commonly the gripping pattern had been changed to the newer "Don't Slip" pattern by the time the "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged-in marking came into use. The 1925 Dunham, Carrigan Catalog shows this model with the "Don't Slip" handle pattern.

Another example of pliers with of mixed markings can be seen as the No. 305 "Victor" Pliers.

These pliers may represent an early test of the forged-in "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking, which later became the standard.

[Kraeuter 1913-7 7 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers]
Fig. 43. Kraeuter 1913-7 7 Inch Bent Thin-Nose Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Early to Mid 1920s.

Fig. 43 shows a somewhat later pair of Kraeuter 1913-7 7 inch bent thin-nose combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter & Co." and "Newark, N.J. U.S.A." near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with extensive losses due to rust.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the bent thin jaws of this model and the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern.

These pliers have an unusual combination of markings, with both "Newark, N.J." stamped on the side and "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the handles. Previously we had thought that the Newark marking had been discontinued before the "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking was adopted, but this example shows that there was some overlap.


1933-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers

[Kraeuter 1933-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Thin Combination Pliers]
Fig. 44. Kraeuter 1933-5-1/2 5.5 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1925 to Mid 1930s.

Fig. 44 shows a pair of Kraeuter 1933-5-1/2 5.5 inch thin-nose combination pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and the model number near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 5.3 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with losses due to wear.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the thin jaws and "Don't Slip" gripping pattern on the handles.

Currently our earliest catalog reference for this model is the 1925 Dunham, Carrigan catalog, which illustrates the pliers with the "Don't Slip" pattern as in this example.


Angle-Nose Pliers

Kraeuter's angle-nose (or "Sure-Grip") pliers were introduced some time after 1929, probably in response to the popularity of Wilde's "Wrench" Pliers. The 1934 catalog listed Model 743 "Sure-Grip" pliers in three sizes, 6, 7, and 8 inches, with a nickel-plated finish.


743-7 7 Inch Slip-Joint Angle-Nose Pliers

[Kraeuter 743-7 7 Inch Angle-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 45. Kraeuter 743-7 7 Inch Angle-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. Mid 1940s to 1950s.

Fig. 45 shows a pair of Kraeuter 743-7 7 inch slip-joint angle-nose pliers, stamped with "Kraeuter" and "USA" on the back side.

The overall length is 7.4 inches fully extended, and the finish is plain steel.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the simplified gripping pattern on the handles.


743-8 8 Inch Slip-Joint Angle-Nose Pliers

The next figures show two generations of the Kraeuter 743-8 pliers.

[Kraeuter 743-8 8 Inch Angle-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 46. Kraeuter 743-8 8 Inch Angle-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. Early 1930s.

Fig. 46 shows a pair of Kraeuter 743-8 8 inch slip-joint angle-nose pliers, stamped with "Pat Appld For" on the handle, with "Kraeuter" and "743-8" on the back side (see center inset).

The overall length is 8.3 inches fully extended, and the finish is nickel plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern.

These pliers are unusual in that the expected forged-in "Kraeuter U.S.A." handle marking is not present. One possibility is that they were intended for potential contract production with only stamped markings.

Kraeuter is not known to have a patent on angle-nose pliers. The patent applied notation suggests that these might be early production of this model, and that Kraeuter hoped to patent some feature. These considerations lead to an estimated production date in the early 1930s.

[Kraeuter 743-8 8 Inch Angle-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 47. Kraeuter 743-8 8 Inch Angle-Nose Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 47 shows a later pair of Kraeuter 743-8 8 inch slip-joint angle-nose pliers, stamped "USA" on the handle, with the company name and model number on the back side.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The plain handles on these pliers may indicate wartime production, as knurled handles were standard as late as 1959.


Gas and Burner Pliers

The standard "gas and burner" plier design incorporated rounded gripping surfaces for holding pipes, plus a smaller grip on the nose for adjusting burners. These models were generally made with a fixed pivot, and an example of the standard design can be seen in the Utica 1300 Gas and Burner Pliers.

Kraeuter's model 1863 gas and burner pliers departed from the standard by using slip-joint construction, making them more like combination pliers. By 1920 or so Kraeuter was using "Grip-All" as a trade name for its gas and burner pliers.

By 1934 the model 1863 pliers appear to have been discontinued, as they are no longer listed in the catalog from that year.


1863-9 9 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers

[Kraeuter 1863-9 9 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 48. Kraeuter 1863-9 "Grip-All" 9 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers, with Inset for Handle Pattern, ca. Mid to Late 1920s.

Fig. 48 shows a pair of Kraeuter 1863-9 "Grip-All" 9 inch gas and burner pliers in an unusual slip-joint configuration, stamped with "Grip All" and the model number near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

Kraeuter has extended the basic gas-and-burner design by adding a slip joint, a wire-cutting slot, and a screwdriver blade at the handle end. (The screwdriver tip feature for this model is mentioned in Kraeuter's 1929 catalog.)

The Kraeuter 1863-9 pliers were listed in the 1922 C.W. Marwedel industrial catalog with the older Dimple-Diamond handle pattern, at a price of $18.20 per dozen. The 1925 Dunham, Carrigan Catalog listed this model with the "Don't Slip" handle pattern.

[Kraeuter 1863-9 Grip All 9 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 49. Kraeuter 1863-9 "Grip-All" 9 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. Early 1930s.

Fig. 49 shows a somewhat later pair of Kraeuter 1863-9 9 inch slip-joint gas and burner pliers, stamped with "Grip-All" and the model number near the pivot, with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 8.8 inches, and the finish is nickel plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern.

Note that these pliers do not have the screwdriver tip seen in the previous figure, indicating a manufacturing date sometime after 1929.


1863-6-1/2 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers

The next two figures show examples of gas-and-burner pliers in the 6.5 inch size, termed "Grip-All Jr".

[Kraeuter 1863-6-1/2 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 50. Kraeuter 1863-6-1/2 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Mid 1920s to Early 1930s.

Fig. 50 shows a pair of Kraeuter 1863-6-1/2 6.5 inch slip-joint gas and burner pliers, marked with "Grip-All Jr" and the model number near the pivot, and with "Kraeuter U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handles.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is nickel plating, with minor losses due to wear.

The top inset shows the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern on the handles.

The No. 1863 pliers in this 6.5 inch size did not provide a wire cutting slot or screwdriver tip. The 1925 Dunham, Carrigan Catalog listed this model with the "Don't Slip" handle pattern.

[Kraeuter 1863-6-1/2 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers]
Fig. 51. Kraeuter 1863-6-1/2 6.5 Inch Slip-Joint Gas and Burner Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1942-1945.

Fig. 51 shows a pair of Kraeuter 1863-6-1/2 6.5 inch slip-joint gas and burner pliers, stamped with "Grip-All Jr" and the model number near the pivot.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with coarse grinding marks remaining on the surface.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Don't Slip" gripping pattern on the handles. Note also that the forging parting line and trimming remnants are visible on the nose of the pliers.

The coarse surface and plain finish indicate production during the 1942-1945 wartime years.

The underside of the handles of these pliers is smooth, without the "Kraeuter U.S.A." marking found on earlier production. Kraeuter had begun phasing out this marking by the mid 1930s.


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