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Early Craftsman Tools and Their Makers
From planes and saws to levels, wrenches, and rules, antique hand tools are the pride and joy of many a collectors’ possessions. Depending on the condition of the tool and its type, a good tool can be worth a few hundred dollars. Whether you are a novice collector or are looking to add specific pieces to your collection, this handy guide will give you the basics of collecting antique hand tools.
The Craftsman brand has changed hands over the years, but it has of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, a benchmark date!).
When Sears sold the rights to its Craftsman brand of tools in , I was prompted to suddenly think of my own Craftsman collection—one consisting of both hand and power tools that are spread about in my toolshed, garage, and basement. With no need for any discussion, we would descend to the lower level. It was stocked wall-to-wall with hardware, tools, and technical supplies.
We might easily spend the better part of an hour perusing the aisles for interesting new additions, while hovering over certain items that Dad considered adding to his basement workshop. Even so, we might come away with a modest purchase—a quart of enamel, some solder for our respective projects, or a box of brass screws. These visits began my decades-long interest in acquiring and using Craftsman tools. Sears, meanwhile, had become the largest retailer in the United States.
So its decline in recent years, along with the closing of so many of its stores, and ultimately its declaration of bankruptcy in October , was difficult to accept or explain. Richard Sears was a railroad telegrapher and station agent who began the R. Sears Watch Company in just two years after formation of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, a benchmark date! Sears hired Alvah Roebuck a year later. For reasons unknown, Sears sold the company to Roebuck, but rejoined him in and renamed the company Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Roebuck retired in , but Sears retained his name. In its Catalogue No.
Craftsman Hand + Power Tools
Automotive Specialty Tools. Shop All Mechanics Tools. Protection Agreement If it breaks, we’ll fix it.
Set of two antique tongue & groove cast iron hand planes, asking $ for the pair. Sons plough plane, Made in England, with patent date #, asking $ Vintage Craftsman NoBL cast aluminum planes 4-Edge blades, Made.
In an earlier article we reviewed the Early Craftsman Tools of the late s through mid s, and a separate article covered the Craftsman “BE” and H-Circle line of sockets in greater depth. In this page we’ll look at the Craftsman “Modern Era” that began around , with a particular emphasis on the manufacturer of the Craftsman “V” series tools. But before revealing the identity of “Maker V”, we want to briefly discuss the origin and intent of the modern era tools.
By the early s the Craftsman brand was about 15 years old and had become highly successful. The Craftsman line included a full range of mechanics’ hand tools by this time, from sockets and drive tools to wrenches and pliers, as well as a broad range of woodworking tools and power tools. And the tools had an excellent reputation for quality — from the beginning, the Craftsman line had been built by selecting tools from leading makers, ensuring their quality and functionality.
But something was missing. If you could have looked into the toolbox of someone who had purchased exclusively Craftsman tools during the s, you would have seen a hodge-podge of styles and designs of tools, all of fine quality but without much in common except the stamped Craftsman name. If we now look forward to the Craftsman “modern era”, the most striking change to be seen is that, for the first time, Craftsman tools had a common design to serve as a brand identity.
All of the tools with anything like a handle had polished raised panels stamped with the Craftsman logo, and everything had a polished chrome finish. From this obvious change we can infer that giving the tools a common design was one of the priorities when Sears started planning their next generation tools. But how did they achieve this? Did they search for a maker with an existing broad line of suitable tools?
Will Lowe’s honor Craftsman lifetime warranties?
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I am starting to guess the hand tools catalog with the pliers on the cover, with a copyright date, may be the catalog. If this guess is true.
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Antique and Vintage Wrenches
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This is the first of several articles covering Craftsman brand tools. This installment will focus on the development of the Craftsman brand during the s and s, as well as covering some of the tools sold by Sears in the pre-Craftsman era, in order to provide background context. Sears Roebuck was founded in by Richard W. Sears and initially operated as the R. Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis. From its modest beginning as a merchandiser of watches, the company grew to become the largest mail-order company in the United States, and eventually became the largest retail company.
As a large and unique organization, Sears has been the subject of many publications and studies. The current owner of Sears maintains a website at www. For those readers primarily interested in tools, unfortunately most of the known references on Sears history have relatively little or nothing to say about tools, Craftsman or otherwise. If any of our readers have found a good reference covering tools at Sears, please let us know and we’ll add the reference.
The story of the Sears Craftsman brand begins in with the registration of the Craftsman trademark.
Many savvy shoppers not only look for good deals, they also like to buy products that have a guarantee, promise or lifetime warranty. The reason for this is pretty obvious: These things tend to last longer , which can make them better bargains over time. The Federal Trade Commission says that lifetime warranties are often a source of confusion for consumers. That’s because they can be interpreted three different ways.
Air Tools, Compressors and Accessories Hand and Mechanics Tools For 5 years from the date of purchase, the tool is warranted and for 3 years from date of.
Recent developments, though, have challenged that perception in a big way. Over the last 30 years of use and abuse, those tools have proven themselves to be quality items. If those tools have worked well for 30 years, why not just recommend starting and ending the tool quest at the local Sears store? Well, if you can find a complete Craftsman set from , buy it. One thing nice about older Craftsman tools is that they have a model number prefix, which you can decode to determine the original manufacturer of the tool.
Look at the first three digits before the decimal point on the tool and cross-reference it against the list at VintageMachinery. Namely, the Sears store that used to be relatively convenient is probably now an empty shell in a rapidly decaying mall, and the closest one may be dozens or even hundreds of miles away now. Craftsman tools and the return policy on them have changed A LOT in the meantime, and there may be significantly better options, with much greater variety, at a competitive price.
Things have gone bananas with Craftsman tools in the last year. The other thing to note is that the price has increased astronomically in a year. Last year, Sears provided a complete inventory of each individual tool in the set. Who has square drive screws at home? The Craftsman warranty is where things get a little weird. In the old days, you brought your broken tool to the store, handed it and a new tool to the guy behind the counter and walked out.
BUYER’S GUIDE: Which $200 Mechanic’s Tool Set Is Best?
Craftsman is planning additional launches throughout of another 1, new tools. Lastly, be sure to hit www. The stretch from Tennessee to Kentucky was filled with perfect weather and beautiful scenery.
Sears has durable hand tools, ranging from hammers and pliers to wrenches and more. Find all the tools you need to get the job done.
With 20 years of experience in the hardware and home improvement field, we strive every day to design and build tools you can always count on. Most Kobalt products manufactured after May 1, come with the guarantee package outlined below. Specific terms on products may vary in guarantee duration and conditions, please check product packaging for specific guarantee terms. Guarantee Home Guarantee. Air Tools, Compressors and Accessories.
Air Tools. Stationary Compressors. Portable Compressors and Inflators. Garage and Tool Storage. Garage Organization including wall shelving, racks, cabinets K-Rail and accessories.
Guide to Collecting Antique Hand Tools
By Conductor , January 17, in Collector’s Resource. Early Craftsman Series generally pre, some exceptions :. The following section details what we currently know about the modern series codes. Much of the information for this section was taken from the personal tool inventory of Mr. Gary Lauver, consisting of approximately Craftsman tools which were purchased between and
Ideal Industries Inc. has not yet set a date for the closing, but will operate the plant Forge employees tried to “streamline operations and offset the loss of the Craftsman Ideal said U.S. hand tool manufacturing has largely moved to offshore.
One frequently asked question concerning Sears tools is “Who made this product for Sears? Some prefixes have been used for more than one manufacturer, and several manufacturers have been assigned more than one prefix. A list of manufacturers is compiled here. Those entries that contain lower case are for tools that have been compared to non-Craftsman models made by the same manufacturer, or from indications as to the OEM in the documentation or model number tag.
Thanks go to Ken Vaughn for compiling the original list. Since it is difficult to verify the accuracy of these sources, any new data is simply added to the list. Please note that this list likely contains errors and is certainly not complete.