Author Topic: Dunlap tools  (Read 1246 times)

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Online d42jeep

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Re: Dunlap tools
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2019, 01:16:10 AM »
Here is an explanation by GJ contributor Dad’s Tools of the first and second line of wrenches made by Lectrolite for various manufacturers. The made their top quality wrenches branded Lectrolite or later S-K Lectrolite then just S-K for that company during their association. Their TruFit line of wrenches were used for their other contract sales. His comments are below.
-Don
“Okay, I'll let the cat out of the bag....these are re-labeled Lectrolite Corp. TruFit wrenches. I've studied Lectrolite extensively for a couple of reasons. Alloy Artifacts speculates that the LC stands for Letrolite Corp., but I'm very confident it's indeed what those initials stand for. These were made starting in the early 1950s, and were made in the very same Defiance Ohio plant that made the S-K wrenches up until its bankruptcy and acquisition by Ideal. The LC can be found on many contract wrenches from that era that have no brand name on them, sold by who knows how many companies--I know they sold a slew of them!

The Lectrolite 'fingerprint' is the length/shape of the recess and that odd sharp angle where the descending offset meets the box. Almost all that are not marked TruFit will have the little LC initials, but not all. Once you get an eye for them, you can instantly pick them out of a tool pile a mile away.

Lectrolite made the TruFit design double box ends for Sears starting sometime in the first half of the 1950s. They are first marked Dunlap until about 1958, when corporate decided to phase out the name on these kinds of wrenches, replacing it with just the plain SEARS name. The only difference I have observed is that the Dunlap/Sears/no-name contract versions appear to have a better finish than the TruFit marked, probably so Lectrolite could distinguish them from the high-end SK-Lectrolite within the brand itself, but did a better finish for the contract tools.

Around 1962, Sears changed manufacturers to overseas. You'll see many more Sears DBEs marked BF Japan (the BF code is still a mystery as to what mfr it represents). They are virtually identical in appearance to the LC USA Sears, so there's little doubt that Sears sent the mfr a sample of the LCs and said to copy them exactly. The reason for the changeover could be one of two factors. The date corresponds to the purchase of SK and the Lectrolite Corp. by Wayne Industries (this is when the LECTROLITE brand name disappeared, no doubt being seen as a bit odd, and was certainly redundant and confusing with regard to having that name on the SK line). It could very well be that Wayne either decided to end that contract or raised the prices beyond what Sears wanted to pay. I believe it might be the former because I think it less likely that Sears essentially counterfeited the LC TruFit design without some sort of nod from Wayne ("we're not going to make these for you under contract any more, but feel free to have anyone else make them because we ourselves are abandoning the design."). But it's also true that at around this same time, Sears management was making some major changes to its marketing/merchandising/branding strategies and so decided to move overseas with these wrenches, but I also think this less likely because I just don't see Wayne simply allowing Sears to rip off their Lectrolite TruFit design.

Anyway, that's the scoop as I know it. One more vintage tool secret released into the public domain.”
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Online d42jeep

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Re: Dunlap tools
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2019, 08:10:26 AM »
Here is the unique Dunlap marked 1/2” drive socket set generously sent to me by gibsontool. They don’t seem to appear in any Sears catalog. Three of the sockets are actually stamped “Danlap”. Sears was importing many of it’s Dunlap offerings and it’s possible that these were made offshore since there is no country of origin markings. I suppose that’s it’s possible that these were a prototype set offered to Sears shortly before they discontinued the Dunlap brand in 1961. Another possibility is that they were a counterfeit knock off but that seems unlikely to me since Dunlap tools were Sears less expensive product line and the tools seem to be quite well made other than the branding error.
-Don
« Last Edit: September 01, 2019, 08:05:52 PM by d42jeep »
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Offline gibsontool

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Re: Dunlap tools
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2019, 06:41:13 PM »
Don. That's interesting that you spotted the markings on the sockets. Guess I didn't look close enough I'll have to start paying more attention. Jim

Online d42jeep

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Re: Dunlap tools
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2019, 02:37:00 AM »
I just happened to notice the names during the cleaning process. Here is a Dunlap tool that isn’t a wrench even though they are often used together. I found it at the Tahoe flea on Saturday.
-Don
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Offline gibsontool

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Re: Dunlap tools
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2019, 10:50:33 PM »
COOL, nice piece for your collection.