Author Topic: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study  (Read 30225 times)

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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2018, 12:06:25 PM »
On September 28, 1965, Peter Roberts was awarded a patent for inventing the “quick release” function that became extremely popular on ratchets.   Well, eventually he sold the patent rights to Sears for ten thousand dollars.  As the story goes, Sears supposedly told Mr. Roberts that the idea wasn’t worth much and there was no significant market for a ratchet with a quick release.  At some point later on, Mr. Roberts discovered that Sears knew the idea was nothing short of a grand slam home run from the start.  I’ve read that Sears sold several million ratchets the first year the quick release function was introduced to the ratchet using public!  Accordingly, profits were also in the millions of dollars…… for Sears that is.  As expected, Mr. Roberts sued, arguing that he had been the victim of fraud.  The legal battle went on for decades.  Eventually, the two sides settled and Mr. Roberts became the millionaire he deserved to be. 

If one were to review the 1967 Sears catalog, he/she would find that it’s the first time a “quick release” ratchet was offered for sale in print.  When I ultimately decided to attempt a Type Study, I knew I’d have to collect examples all the way back to the beginning of Craftsman Teardrop Ratchets, and somewhere in there, try to determine which ratchet was the first to feature the quick release.  One might think, “Well, it’s the one with the quick release patent info on the handle.”  That’s what I thought too.  As a matter of fact, I thought that for a couple years.  When we get to the next post featuring the Type 5, you’ll see how easy it would be to settle on that assumption.  The quick release patent number is right there on the handle, plain as day.  As I got closer to completing this Type Study (for the second time), I was sure I had identified the correct Type as the first “QR” model.  I learned that was not true.

A few years ago, I was checking eBay like I do EVERY day looking at Sears/Craftsman Teardrop Ratchets.  I came across a ratchet that looked a little worn in the tiny photo, but could see enough to determine that it was an older example.  I could see that there was a stamp on the handle and figured it was the “patent number” version I already had in my collection, and had incorrectly determined was the first to feature the QR.  I clicked on the listing anyway.  When the photos popped up, I’ll admit that I was VERY surprised.  What I expected to see was Mr. Roberts’s patent number stamped on the handle.  What I saw was “PATENT PENDING.”  I must have studied those photos for ten minutes.  I finally concluded it was the real deal and what I now believe is the first version of a Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet with the QR function.  My guess is that Sears started offering these ratchets shortly after they negotiated a deal with Mr. Roberts, and soon thereafter, started producing ratchets with the patent number stamped on the handle (Type 5).  For that reason, it was my opinion that the Type 4 depicted below was most likely offered for a year at most, but more likely for only some portion of 1967.

Okay, based entirely on the catalogs, one would think that the first QR ratchets were offered in 1967.  Interestingly, I contradicted myself, because I wrote that “Sears started offering these ratchets shortly after they negotiated a deal with Mr. Roberts…”  Well, that couldn’t have been much later than September 28, 1965!  For whatever reason, the catalogs don’t list QR ratchets until 1967 (the start date that I initially adopted.)  That doesn’t make sense.  I laugh now when I look back and recall DadsTools asking me if Sears worked out a deal with Roberts in 1965, would they have waited two years to start making and selling QR ratchets?  That’s a big “NO!”

I’m sure you’ve noticed there’s only one ratchet depicted in the photos below.  Well, to date, I’ve only seen a Type 4 ratchet twice, and both times they were ½” examples.  I’ve never seen a 3/8” or a ¼” version of the Type 4.  I’m not sure they even exist.  Based on my observations, this one ratchet is probably the most rare when compared to any other ratchet in the Type Study.  If anyone has a 3/8” or ¼” example, LET ME KNOW!!!!!

In terms of appearance, the Type 4 is similar to the Type 3, but for the obvious QR button on the back of the ratchet’s head.  The main feature to notice is the socket post.  When the QR button is depressed, a spring-loaded pin protrudes through the socket post allowing a small ball bearing to drop into a depression on the pin, inside the socket post.  When the ball bearing drops into the pin depression, it releases tension on the socket wall, allowing the socket to be easily removed from the socket post.  It’s a nice simple idea that works, and was ultimately worth millions of dollars.  Going forward, keep taking notice of the socket post and the protruding pin.  On later examples, the protruding pin feature will be eliminated in favor of an internal mechanism.

Throughout the course of this type study, I’ve solicited input from anyone who believes I made a mistake or misstated the facts.  While some have given me suggestions without much evidence to back it up, a few others have provided hard facts.  Those proposed edits with little or no supporting evidence haven’t been incorporated into the type study while those coming with undeniable facts have been and will always be included.  This is one of those moments and a turning point in the overall accuracy of this Type Study.  If you’re a fan of this forum, then you’ve probably seen DadsTools Round Head Fine Tooth (RHFT) Type Study.  I’ve already alluded to it, but now want to stress its importance to both the history of the Craftsman RHFT ratchets AND the history of Craftsman Teardrop ratchets.  The RHFT Study is a great piece of work and about as good as you’ll ever find on the topic.  If you’re interested in Craftsman ratchets, then you must check out that type study!  DadsTools goes into some very detailed discussions about patent dates, court records, etc., that in my view, conclusively nail down some dates of manufacture/availability regarding not only RHFT examples, but also some in this Study.  In particular, his information sheds some light on what is probably the most elusive of Craftsman Teardrop ratchet types.....the Type 4.  If you really want to get into the weeds on this, contact DadsTools.  He’s enthusiastic about his information, more than willing to share it, and provides great detail in what I would describe are interesting and engaging reads.  Okay, so let’s get into it.....

As I had mentioned above, back in the day, Peter Roberts, came up with the Quick Release mechanism found on so many Craftsman ratchets.  He submitted the idea for patent approval during April, 1964.  The idea was highly successful and Sears took advantage of it.  So, on or about June 15, 1965, Roberts sold the patent rights to Sears for $10,000.  Like I said initially, Sears lead Roberts to believe the idea was a dud at best.  Well, it turned out to be a “multimillion dollar dud.”  Roberts eventually realized he had been grossly under paid for the patent rights, and he sued.  This is where DadsTools started digging for more information.  Based on his findings, within days of signing a deal with Roberts, Sears kicked off mass production of QR ratchets.  Remember, this is in June of 1965, and not 1967 as indicated in the 1967 Sears tool catalog.  The reported number of units produced was as many as 44,000 per week.  As such, it would only make sense that those first ratchets would be stamped with, “PATENT PENDING.”  The official patent was awarded on September 28, 1965.  So, based on this information (which I summarized from a much larger body of proof as provided by Dadstools) the dates of manufacture/availability of the Type 4 ratchets reflect these facts.  Essentially those Teardrop ratchets with the patent pending stamps were likely only produced for a few months between mid June and late September of 1965.  Although it was my thinking that they were only made for a few months in 1967 (based on the Sears catalog), I’m now much more inclined to believe they were being made and sold as early as 1965.  Probably not too long after the QR patent was awarded, Sears started stamping the patent number on the ratchet handles (the Type 5 in this study).  That would mean the Type 5 was also in production much earlier than 1967.  I’d say more like late September/early October, 1965.

Here’s something to consider.  Based on the shear number of units being produced per week (44,000) with the patent pending stamp, it would seem likely that Sears would go all in and produce the new QR ratchets in all three sizes, that being 1/2”, 3/8”, and 1/4”.  DadsTools advocates this line of thinking.  It makes sense, but to date, I have zero physical evidence of the existence of a 1/4” Type 4 ratchet.  In an effort to get to the bottom of this, I reached out to vintage Craftsman tool collector/seller, “needmorewrenches” specifically asking him if had a recollection of the Type 4 TD ratchets with the “PATENT PENDING” stamp on the handle.  I also sent him photos of my Type 4, 1/2” drive just to be sure we were both taking about the same thing.   In response, he said that he does remember seeing the PATENT PENDING stamp on the 1/2” drive AND the 3/8” drive.  He did not recall ever seeing a Type 4, 1/4” example.  If anyone would at least be familiar with the Type 4 ratchets, it would be needmorewrenches, and because he as seen a 3/8” Type 4, then it does exist, rare though it may be.  That’s not to say the ¼” drive doesn’t exist.  The number of units produced would suggest that they do and one would think Sears would make all three sizes, and not just the 1/2”, and 3/8” drives.  The same goes for the Type 5.  While I’ve seen more than a couple Type 5, 1/2” and 3/8” drives, as well as Type 5, 3/8” flex heads, I haven’t seen a single 1/4” example.  So, I guess the hunt continues.  It would be great to conclusively put this to rest with the confirmation of at least one example of each.  If they exist, they’re extremely rare.  It could be awhile before any turn up.  Anyway, as a result of the information provided by DadsTools and needsmorewrenches, the Type 4 nomenclature is as follows:

Type 4: June, 1965 - September 28, 1965, PATENT PENDING, TD, OH, LL, QR, PA, =V=, Non#
(represents ½” drive size, 3/8” drive size, and most likely the 1/4” drive size)

Jim C.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 08:35:06 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline lptools

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #31 on: August 05, 2018, 01:15:39 PM »
Hello, Jim. I found this 3/8 Drive Ratchet yesterday at a sale. I think it meets most of the criteria for a Type 2 ,TD, OH, VL, FA, =V= Logo. 24 tooth gear? (My hearing is not that great). I've added a new code, MDB (minus detent ball) :-). Regards, Lou
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Offline Spartan-C

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2018, 08:39:02 AM »
Okay, here's some pictures of my 1980 vintage ratchets that I bought in a 238 piece tool set.
They are fine tooth ratchets, I did not count the number of teeth on them.  They also have the "speeder" option on them.

Ken

« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 08:46:37 AM by Spartan-C »
Ken

Offline Spartan-C

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2018, 08:35:09 PM »
Darn it! Your right, these are not teardrop, my wrong! You can pull my post if you like.  Sorry!  Ken
Ken

Offline mikeswrenches

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2018, 03:34:42 AM »
I ran into a friend at an estate sale today, and he showed me what he called "some little funny-looking 3/8" Craftsman ratchet thing".
This is what came out of a plastic bucket in the back of his pickup.

https://www.google.com/search?q=craftsman+3/8+v+series+speed+spinner+ratchet&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=doLkxiQm9ApDaM%253A%252CnhBRmUnqW_XclM%252C_&usg=AFrqEzc86fiIc4n1vBhzaoTor5-EIHJkaA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjtzvizrtTcAhVMR6wKHeRmD3AQ9QEwAnoECAEQCA#imgrc=doLkxiQm9ApDaM:



I immediately began to drool.  Offered him a price for it (he had sold me tools before) but he turned me down flat and refused to make a counteroffer, all the while saying he wanted to sell it.  He is not a ratchet guy.

I feel it is hopeless.

Sooooooo frustrating.

Hey Northwoods,

Hang in there, eventually you'll find a good one.  I looked for a while before I found the right one for my collection.  Shortly thereafter, I found a second one in slightly better condition.  They're out there.  Be patient and keep hunting!

Jim C.

I managed to pick one up at the MWTCA meet in Lansing this spring. It was the first one I had ever seen in the 'wild'. Condition was excellent. It was laying on a guys bed in one of the sales rooms.
I’ve only ever heard of the 3/8 size. Did they make a 1/4 or 1/2 drive?

Mike
« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 03:38:53 AM by mikeswrenches »
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Offline gibsontool

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2018, 10:25:13 AM »
I have a 3/8" and that's the only size I've ever seen.

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2018, 12:16:03 PM »
For a long time, I thought the ratchets depicted below were initially Type 3 and then later, after I got more information, I thought they were Type 4.  Well, I ultimately discovered that they’re Type 5 ratchets, and yes, that’s my final answer!  Lock it in.  I guess the presence of the quick release (QR) patent number (3208318) stamped on the handle threw me off.  Since I started this third version of the Craftsman Teardrop Type Study, I’ve adopted a more skeptical view of the Sears catalog information and have relied more on the research Dadstools presents as it relates to the patents stamped on the ratchet handles.  It’s his view that once the quick release (QR) patent was approved on September 28, 1965, it wasn’t too long after, that it was stamped on the ratchet handles.  It’s a much better date than anything the catalogs can give us and it makes sense.  There’s really nothing magical about it.  So how do we arrive at the end date?  If we believe that Sears was quick to make sure that its multi-million dollar cash cow was updated with current patent information, well, it was awarded a Canadian patent on May 2, 1967.  Again, sticking with a consistent theory, we can and must assume that not long after the Canadian patent was issued, the handle stamps on the Teardrop ratchets were changed to reflect the new Canadian patent number.  These newly stamped ratchets would become Type 6 in this study and signal the end of the Type 5 version.  So, here's the Type 5 nomenclature:

Type 5: September 28, 1965 – May 2, 1967, Pat. No. 3208318, TD, OH, LL, QR, PA, =V=, Non#
(represents 3/8", 1/2" drive sizes, and possibly 1/4” drive size)

I’m sure you noticed there’s no ¼” drive depicted in the photos below.  While nothing I say in this entire Type Study is 100% iron clad, I’m not entirely sure exists.  Well, it may exist but I’ve never seen one.  If it does exist, it would be among the most rare of the rare.  By this time, the QR function on teardrop ratchets was a huge success.  Sales numbers provided by Dadstools, as reported in the Roberts lawsuit, describe millions of units sold.  It stands to reason that all three sizes were being manufactured and being stamped with the latest patent numbers.  But where is the Type 5, ¼” drive?  I have surmised early on when I started writing this Type Study for the first time several years ago, that something about the ¼” drive was always out of sync.  I never figured out exactly what that was but as we proceed through this Study, you’ll see what I’m talking about.  Relying on the shear number of ratchets sold, Dadstools would assert that a Type 5, ¼” drive must exist.  Why would Sears go with a ½” and 3/8” drive, not to mention that I’ve seen more that a few Type 5 flex head ratchets as well as 15” long, ½” drive examples, and skip the standard ¼” drive?  All I’m saying is that I’ve never seen one.  If any of you do happen across one, at least get picture of it and please send me a copy!

Based on my personal observations, and with so much happening to the Craftsman Teardrop ratchets during the mid to late 1960s, I think the Type 4 and Type 5 ratchets were available for extremely short periods of time.  There’s just no hard set of rules for determining exactly when Types were manufactured and/or how long Sears had them on the shelves.  Holding fast to what can be reasonably determined from the patent information, at least a more accurate timeline for these earlier Types is established.  Presenting an accurate timeline was one of my primary objectives when I started this Type Study.  It turned out to be more difficult than I initially thought it would be.  Really being able to nail down the dates of manufacture gets a little more difficult going into the later Types, specifically when considering those with "patent pending" stamps on the handles. In those instances, and in an attempt to sort things out chronologically, I relied on other physical clues to try and determine which Type came before or after another Type. Often, it came down to older versus newer manufacturer's marks (like =V= versus -V-), the letter "A" in the word Craftsman, that is pointed "A" (PA) versus flat "A" (FA), and model numbers.  Confused?  Don't worry about it.  Just hang in there with me and I'll try to sort it out as we go. The next three Types (6, 7, and 8) all look VERY similar and include patent stamps on their handles. When we get there, I'll tell you how they were sorted out.

Finally, keep an eye out for a Type 5, ¼” drive.  Like I said, I don’t know if it even exists, but if you happen across one, please let me know!


Jim C.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 07:24:58 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Northwoods

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2018, 07:10:26 PM »
I ran into a friend at an estate sale today, and he showed me what he called "some little funny-looking 3/8" Craftsman ratchet thing".
This is what came out of a plastic bucket in the back of his pickup.

https://www.google.com/search?q=craftsman+3/8+v+series+speed+spinner+ratchet&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=doLkxiQm9ApDaM%253A%252CnhBRmUnqW_XclM%252C_&usg=AFrqEzc86fiIc4n1vBhzaoTor5-EIHJkaA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjtzvizrtTcAhVMR6wKHeRmD3AQ9QEwAnoECAEQCA#imgrc=doLkxiQm9ApDaM:

I immediately began to drool.  Offered him a price for it (he had sold me tools before) but he turned me down flat and refused to make a counteroffer, all the while saying he wanted to sell it.  He is not a ratchet guy.

I feel it is hopeless.

Sooooooo frustrating.


It got worse today. 
Ran into my buddy at an estate sale and asked him about the Speed Spinner.  He was all smiles.  He had found its worth and was overjoyed.  Then he explained that he took an abrasive wheel to it on his drill press.  Something he bought at Harbor Freight. 
Aaaarrrggghhh!
The ORIGINAL Northwoods.

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2018, 09:04:02 AM »
The next two Craftsman TD ratchet Types (6 which is depicted below and 7 which is coming next) in the Study have one very subtle difference that separate them from each other, and that's the letter "A" in the word Craftsman. Earlier in the thread, I mentioned that one of the evaluation criteria I used to categorize TD ratchets was the letter "A." Older versions of the ratchet (and most other Craftsman tools I believe) were stamped with a pointed "A" (PA), while subsequent later versions were stamped with a flat top "A" (FA).  Now that I’m writing the third version of this Type Study, what I’ve found is that the timelines for each Type have been subjected to the “domino effect.”  Once the DadsTools patent information replaced the catalogs as the foundation for several of the Type timelines, the dates were mostly pushed back by about one to two years.  Here's the Type 6 nomenclature:

Type 6: May 2, 1967 - 1968 (+/-), 1US & 1Can Pat. - 1967, TD, OH, LL, QR, PA, -V-, Non#
(represents 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" drive sizes)

As I mentioned earlier, the QR Canadian patent was issued on May 2, 1967, making it the de facto start date of the Type 6.  Again that assumes Sears was quick to update the information stamped on the ratchet handles….and I do believe Sears was quick about it.  The Type 6 handle includes the U.S. (QR mechanism) patent number as first seen on the Type 5 TD ratchet, but also an added Canadian patent number, again referencing the QR mechanism. In terms of nomenclature, I designated that patent information with "1US & 1Can Pat. - 1967." The reason for the number 1 before US and Can is simple....when we get to Type 8 versions, there are two US patents and one Canadian patent. The nomenclature for the Type 8 will read, "2US & 1Can - 1967......" It should be noted that the Type 6 is also the first time the single bar V manufacturer's mark (-V-) was stamped on the handle.  That’s a little bit deceiving however.  Remember the domino effect I mentioned above.  By pushing the Type 6 timeline back by a full year and a half, and making the end date 1968, the Type 6 existed during the tail end of the true =V= era.  The pointed “A” in the word Craftsman in a strong indicator.  Dadstools points out that the single bar “V” is mostly the result of a lack of physical space available on the ratchet handle.  He equated it to the single bar V stamps on the smallest versions of wrenches that were available during the true =V= era, which is generally believed to have ended very near to 1968 and as such, was adopted as the end date for Type 6 teardrop ratchets.  As mentioned above, this will be the last ratchet in the Type Study to feature the pointed “A” (PA), which I believe was replaced by a flat top “A” as early as 1968 and possibly as late as 1969.

Throughout the course of putting together this Craftsman Teardrop ratchet Type Study, I referred to Lauver's manufacturer code Type Study MANY, MANY times. It's a great resource.  When used in conjunction with the patent info on the handles, we can more accurately define the timeline parameters of several Types within the Study.  The Craftsman catalogs don't really go into that detail and are occasionally lacking in timeliness and accuracy.  The ratchets with the patent info stamped on them (Types 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) provide the benefit of having some dates associated with them.  Still, other clues are necessary to come up with the most accurate timelines.  What I can say with some certainty is that Types, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 were all made within a few short years of each other, or in some instances, maybe within just a few months of each other.

A little later in this Study, and after the patent information has been eliminated from the ratchet handles, I relied heavily on Lauver's Study to more accurately determine dates of manufacture because such codes were changing, particularly when the –VV-, -VE-, -VF- and -VG- manufacturer’s marks are introduced into the mix. The addition of model numbers to the handles also helped tremendously since I was then able to review Craftsman catalogs to see when a particular model number first appeared and last appeared. The trick is trying to find and use the best information available.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 07:32:45 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #39 on: August 15, 2018, 11:17:13 AM »
As I mentioned in the Type 6 post, the only real difference between the Type 6 and Type 7 is the letter "A" in the word Craftsman.  The Type 6 was the last Craftsman Teardrop ratchet to feature a pointed "A" (PA) on the Craftsman handle stamp.  Going forward, starting with the Type 7 ratchets depicted below, the letter "A" in the word Craftsman has a flat top, which for nomenclature purposes, I designated "FA."  Now that may not seem like much and unworthy of its own Type, but the transition between the pointed "A' and the flat top "A" occurred somewhere in the early 1970s right around 1970 to 1972, providing a point of reference that allows me to fine tune dates of manufacture just a little more closely.  The Type 7 is also the last ratchet that will be manufactured without a part/model number.  All later versions of the Craftsman Teardrop ratchet will be stamped with a part/model number.
 
The information is generally correct, however, as I mentioned in prior Type narratives, the “domino effect” comes into play, and that is based on the patent information provided by DadsTools.  So, in terms of timeline start and end dates for the Type 7, here’s the nomenclature:

Type 7:  1968 (+/-)  - 1970 (+/-), 1US & 1Can Pat. - 1967, TD, OH, LL, FA, -V-, Non#
(represents 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" drive sizes)

So how did we arrive at the end date of 1970?  Well, you’d have to look at Type 8 in this Study and Type 4 in the RHFT Type Study for the answer.  Without rewriting the details provided in the RDFT Study, and to simplify things, the patent information as stamped on the handles of the Teardrop Type 8 ratchets and the RHFT Type 4 ratchets are very similar.  There’s no good reason to believe that shared traits, like the quick release mechanism for instance, were not protected/assessed/monitored by Sears, and when a change had to be stamped on the ratchet handles, those common to both ratchet models were changed at the same time, or in close proximity to each other.  That line of thinking only makes sense.  Right?  In his research of the patents, it became clear to DadsTools that model numbers were added to the RHFT Type 4 ratchets in 1970.  Using the same reasoning, that being, changes in handle stamps were likely happening to both the Teardrop and RHFT ratchets at or about the same time, strongly suggests that the Type 8 Teardrop ratchets, with handle stamped model numbers, were being made starting in 1970, like the RHFT Type 4.  That brings us full circle back to the end date of the Teardrop Type 7 ratchets…… 1970.
 
Take a close look at the last photo below.  Notice that the Type 6 ratchet handle is on top in the photo, while the Type 7 is on the bottom.  See the difference between the PA and FA?  Again, I know it's not a significant change between the two Types, but it is a tangible milestone that adds some detail in determining approximately when various ratchets were being manufactured.  It also helps to solidify the chronology of the pre-part/model number section of the Type Study.  Things got a little easier once part/model numbers were stamped on the ratchet handles.

Jim C.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 06:48:27 AM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #40 on: August 17, 2018, 10:07:23 AM »
Okay, so we’re starting the second half of the Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet Type Study.  Here comes Type 8.  I’ll start off by saying that I think this particular Type may be one of the more difficult examples to find.  In an effort to see all the potential variations of the Craftsman Teardrop ratchets that may exist, I turned to eBay early on in my research.  At the very least, eBay provides a great venue to locate and see what's really out there.  I can’t think of too many other places where one could easily go and see the variations that exist. This is how I stumbled across the Type 8.  Almost all of my observations have been ratchets I've seen on eBay.

Since I started seriously looking at ratchets for purposes of constructing this Type Study, I've only seen a few Type 8 ratchets, leading me to think they weren’t available for too long.  It is my belief that the Type 6, 7 and 8 Teardrop ratchets were made in close succession to each other.  I also think there was some overlap between Types 6, 7, and 8 in terms of their respective timeframes of availability.  The Type 8 examples are not very common in any of the three drive sizes, and it took me a while to collect them.  The major changes from the Type 7 to Type 8 ratchets include the addition of a second U.S. patent number stamped on the handle, and the ratchet model numbers finally make their debut and are stamped on their respective ratchet’s handle as well.  The three different model numbers (correlating to drive size) created the need for three nomenclature lines. Here they are:

Type 8: 1970 – Mid 1971, 2US & 1Can Pat. - 1967, TD, OH, LL, QR, FA, -V-, 43175
(represents 1/4" drive size)

Type 8: 1970 – Mid 1971, 2US & 1Can Pat. - 1967, TD, OH, LL, QR, FA, -V-, 43785
(represents 3/8" drive size)

Type 8: 1970 – Mid 1971, 2US & 1Can Pat. - 1967, TD, OH, LL, QR, FA, -V-, 44975
(represents 1/2" drive size)

Going back to my comments about overlap, if you recall the starting date of the Type 6 Teardrop ratchets (May, 1967) and the beginning of the Type 8 Teardrop ratchets (1970), that’s less than three years.  I would bet that at any given time after 1970 and prior to 1971, one could walk into a Sears store, and depending on how fast the inventory turned over, find a mix of Type 6, 7, and 8 ratchets on the shelves.  My initial timeframe for the Type 8 ratchets was between 1970 and 1972.   DadsTools believes the Type 8 Teardrop ratchet ending date was closer to mid 1971, or approximately six months earlier than my first estimate. Recall that the RHFT Type 4 and Teardrop Type 8 were similarly stamped. Based on patent information pertaining to the RHFT Type 4, indicating a mid 1971 ending, we can apply the same ending to the Teardrop Type 8.     

Jim C.



« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 08:53:20 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2018, 03:40:11 PM »
Way back when I decided to write this type study for the first time, I thought I was in pretty good shape in terms of having all the “Types” to show you.  As I was nearing completion, a reader of the thread came up with yet other Craftsman Teardrop ratchet I had not seen.  After studying the photos the reader sent to me, it was clearly a Type 9, but instead of having a –V- manufacturer’s mark, it was stamped with a double V, or –VV-, which I had not previously seen on a Craftsman Teardrop ratchet.  That presented a few problems.  Were all three drive sizes represented with this newly found –VV- stamp?  Why were two manufacturer’s marks being used at the same time, and by the same manufacturer (Easco)? How was I going to account for this in the Type Study?  A more pressing issue was collecting a few examples to show those visiting the thread.

I really don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point while cruising eBay, I came across a –VV- stamped 3/8” drive Craftsman Teardrop ratchet without the oil hole/port on the top of its head.  The distinguishing feature between the Type 9 and Type 10 ratchets was the elimination of the oil hole on the ½” drive and the 3/8” drive.  For whatever reason, the 1/4” drive retained the oil hole all the way to Type 14, where it was finally eliminated.  Type 9 was the last time a ½” drive or 3/8” drive Craftsman ratchet would be outfitted with the oil hole.  So, I had another issue to deal with….. It seemed that the Type 10 was also available with either a –V- or a –VV- stamp.  Well, eventually I tracked down a –VV- stamped Type 9, ½” drive and a 3/8” drive. I also found –VV- stamped Type 10, ½” drive and 3/8” drive examples.  I have not  come across a –VV- stamped Type 9, ¼” drive example.  If they exist, they’re more than just super rare.   

Here’s the deal with the ¼” drive Type 9 ratchet….  Since the oil hole was never eliminated on the ¼” drive until Type 14, there logically can be no Type 10, ¼” drive.  Basically the Type 9, ¼” drive was the Sears/Craftsman Teardrop ¼” drive offering until the handle stamps changed at Type 11.  I’ll remind you when we get there.  The other main feature of the Type 9 ratchets was the lack of any patent related stamps on their handle.  The Type 9 models were the first versions of the Teardrop ratchets to prominently stamp the model number on the handles of the ratchets using large characters. If you look back at the Type 8 examples above, the model number is there on the handle, but it kind of gets lost in the midst of all the patent info, etc.   Model numbers are much more prominent on the Type 9 examples.

Okay, so back to the two manufacturer’s marks.  When I learned there were two manufacturer’s stamps, -V- and –VV-, for both Types 9 and 10, I decided to create a Type for each stamp.  I listed the Type 9 examples with the –V- stamp as “Type 9A” and those with the –VV- stamp as “Type 9B.”  I did the same thing for the Type 10 ratchets.  While that works to some extent, DadsTools was of the opinion that the different manufacturer stamps within the same Type were only variations of that Type and not individual Types themselves.  I’ll admit that I’m not entirely in agreement.  As I’ll discuss below, it’s my opinion that the ratchets were being made at two different facilities or on two different assembly lines at the same time to meet consumer demand.  It was my thinking that the manufacturer’s stamps were different in order to track which ratchets were manufactured at which site. Ultimately however, this time around I decided against using “A” and “B” designations and went with the “variations within the Type” argument because when I get to Type 14, and as you will see, I had a contradiction to deal with.  I’ll briefly explain what I mean.

Within the Type 14 examples, there are several different manufacturers stamps to include, -V-, -VE-, -VF-, VF, and –VG-.  Notice there are two stamps with “VF’.  One has single bars while one does not.  Once again, it was my opinion that two different VF stamps were used to show two different manufacturing sites or assembly lines that were producing ratchets at the same time. If I were to follow my earlier Type 9 and Type 10, “A” and “B” designations for ratchets being made at the same time at two different facilities, etc., then at Type 14, I would need to separate the two “VF” stamped versions into their own Types.  I chose not to do that because I saw them as manufacturer stamp variations basically lumped in with the –V-, -VF- and –VG- codes.  It can’t be both ways!  Either the Type 9 and 10 ratchet stamps would be categorized as variations within their respective Types, or the Type 14 “VF” stamped ratchets would need to become two individual Types.  I hope that makes sense.

As for the two production line/different facilities theory, here’s my thinking. I know that Craftsman ratchets generally get a bad rap on a lot of tool/garage websites.  Agreed, they’re probably not Snap On quality, but they also didn’t cost as much either.  So, simply based on their affordability and the life time warranty that made Craftsman tools famous, EVERYONE I ever met in life who is a DIYer, shade tree mechanic, or is just a little bit handy around the house has or had a Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet that was manufactured between 1956 and 1993.  Even some older pro techs who might not want to admit it, probably have one or two in their box right now.  The point is that Sears literally sold millions of these ratchets and keeping up with consumer demand may have required two (or more) assembly lines or facilities to produce them. 

Now, I can’t say that both versions of the Type 9 manufacture’s mark (-V- and –VV-) were in production at exactly the same time, because Lauver’s code study lists the –VV- mark as having been initiated somewhere around 1974.  Well, it was my opinion that the Type 9 ratchets were in production starting in about 1972.  DadsTools believes they may have been in production as early as mid 1971.  Either way, I think Sears realized that they couldn’t keep up with consumer demand and asked for more inventory.  Maybe the manufacturer responded with another assembly line.  What I will say is that based on my observation only, and no other source of information, those Type 9 and Type 10 ratchets stamped with the –VV- manufacturer’s code seem to be more scarce than those stamped with the –V- code.  Here are the nomenclature lines for the Type 9 Craftsman Teardrop ratchets:

Type 9: Mid 1971 – 1977/’78, TD, OH, LL, QR, FA, -V- –VV-, 44975
(represents 1/2" drive size)

Type 9: Mid 1971– 1977/’78, TD, OH, LL, QR, FA, -V- =VV=, 43785
(represents 3/8" drive size)

Type 9: Mid 1971 – March 1981, TD, OH, LL, QR, FA, -V-, 43175
(represents 1/4" drive size)

Determining the ending dates for Type 9 (1/2” and 3/8” only) is a little less precise, and was based on catalog photos/artist renderings that depicted Teardrop ratchets without the oil holes somewhere right around 1977 - 1978.  Those observations were made by DadsTools.  As stated earlier in the Type Study, although the catalogs aren’t necessarily the most accurate sources of information, at times it’s the best we have and they’ll at least get you in the ballpark.

One of the most basic goals of this Type Study was for any one with a Craftsman Teardrop ratchet to be able to scroll through the Types, look at the pictures and quickly identify their ratchet along with a general timeframe regarding when the ratchet was being made and sold by Sears.  For that reason, lumping together ratchets with different stamps on their handles, like manufacturing marks, might make scrolling through the Types and looking at the pictures a little harder. It would be nice if they were all separate, but in the end I think it’s impractical.  So, going into this Type Study for the third time, and in an effort to avoid self imposed contradictions within the Study itself, I opted for the “variations within Type” approach for Types 9 and 10.   

Jim C.


« Last Edit: July 29, 2020, 07:37:58 PM by Jim C. »
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Offline p_toad

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #42 on: August 18, 2018, 06:03:33 PM »
"even more confusing"

Lost - yes; confused - no.   :grin:

Offline Yadda

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2018, 07:20:02 PM »
Finally getting into a few I may have.  Great stuff.  I will be copying all of this for future reference.
You might say I have a tool collecting problem....

Offline Jim C.

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Re: Craftsman Teardrop Ratchet (1956-1993) Type Study
« Reply #44 on: August 18, 2018, 07:40:29 PM »

Lost - yes; confused - no.   :grin:

Hi Peter,

I guess I’d rather that you were lost than confused.  You’re only lost because you don’t know where this is going.  That’s okay.  For a good while, I wasn’t sure where I was going either.  I had a collection of more than fifty different ratchets and I had to sort them out and put them into some kind of order.  It took some time to figure things out.  Much of what I’ve said so far, and will say, is the product of inference, speculation, and logical deduction.  As for the next few posts, well, it’s like I said, during the 1970s, I think ratchets with different manufacturer’s marks were being made and sold by Sears at the same time.  I have a theory regarding why that’s so, and I’ll lay it all out when I talk about the Type 9B.  Also during the 1970s, the 1/4” drive ratchet never changed, yet the 1/2” and 3/8” did.  Trying to present the facts (as I see them) created another set of issues.  I’m encouraged that you’re not confused.  That tells me what I’m writing makes sense.  That’s good!  If you’re lost, that’s only because you haven’t seen the map. 

Jim C.
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