Author Topic: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009  (Read 1415 times)

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Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #45 on: June 17, 2020, 09:05:44 AM »
Well, I took the leap and ground out the stake on the QR1-S and disassembled it.  I actually did it before your previous post this morning.  So what did I find? It’s not like the drawing I made with the ball and “U” shaped groove but something even simpler.  And of course, the first thought I had was “Why didn’t I think of that”? You can see in the pictures exactly how it works much easier than I can explain it in writing. It locks the plunger and release button together longitudinally while still allowing them to rotate with respect to each other. The plunger still has a “ramp”, but it has a “U” shaped cross section unlike the flat “ramp” of the QR1-L yet still functions the same way.

BTW. On the QR2, the recess at the end of the release button extension is not “a two-sided cutout like a screwdriver blade” but is indeed a 360-degree machined “groove”.  I think the third picture below shows this better. My drawing should have indicated that clearer also.  I can only do so much with a stubby pencil. 

I still owe you a new thread on the two extension adapters I own, and how they relate or don’t relate to the Sardo patent. I think a new thread is required to keep your study on track. (We’ve already gone off on a few wild tangents).

At least we all know for certain now what’s inside the Quick Release of the RHFT ratchet.
Todd F.

Thank you for all this information! I regret the destruction of your core, but sometimes sacrifices are made for the advancement of human knowledge! Your efforts are very much appreciated.

I hope everyone understands that my main focus through all this has been the Type Study and how any of this new information might disrupt it. I mentioned in another forum about being given math problems in grammar school where the teacher would instruct the students to be prepared to show how you arrived at your answer, or to 'prove' your work. So, in a sense, all this new information serves as a challenge to the work I did., which requires me to 'prove' my work. Even if the additional data was not presented as a challenge, it still represents such. If I'm going to boldly present a Type Study to a community of collectors when I myself am not a collector of these ratchets, I better be able to back it up!

The framework of the RHFT Study is based almost entirely on the patent info--that is what constitutes the 'forest' here. It's all 'pencil-pusher' work, having no physical collection myself to which to refer, just photos and descriptions found online. Fundamental to its framework are the patents that furnished critical information not available from just an examination of the artifacts (the trees) alone. The Roberts vs Sears lawsuit is intrinsic to the entire RHFT series. Perhaps no other tool patent had been analyzed in such depth over 20 years of litigation. That analysis not only tells us what the physical ratchet structures are, but also their interpretation. The discovery of the Sardo patent--a patent that as far as I know has never been previously referenced in any discussion of the Craftsman quick release ratchets--was a major breakthrough. Then I discovered the Roberts lawsuit info. As I mentioned in messages with Jim C., the resulting gestalt was like watching a video of an explosion played in reverse--all the disparate puzzle pieces sucked in together to create a single, clear image. It was almost eerie to me. I had found the key.

Sardo is essential to this forest-image. So your discovery of the dual-ball device in the QR2 threatened to disrupt that image, since the device is not shown in Sardo. I went back to the in-depth arguments of the Roberts suit. The arguments as to the relevance of Carpenter and Gonzales were crucial. The court decided in Roberts favor--that the object of the patent was NOT about how the detent ball was locked into place, but the means by which the quick release was effected (Carpenter used a combination groove and spring for the locking device, Gonzales used an orbital collar, neither which was ever actually manufactured). Then it became clear--the dual-ball was only a means to lock the detent ball into place and had nothing directly to do with the quick-release means. Whether the detent locking was accomplished with an extension to the plunger or a second ball (or whatever other possible device) was inconsequential--it was how the detent ball retreated back into the stud to effect the quick release that was the only vital consideration. This knowledge allowed me to actually understand the true meaning of what I was seeing in your disassembly photo. The ball still retreated into a groove, even though that groove was open-ended. And the groove was not the one in Roberts, but the one in Sardo. Sardo had been vindicated, and the forest-image of the RHFT Type Study preserved. That I devoted some length to argue the point seemed little when compared to the 20-year argument of the lawsuit.

Based on your initial photos and drawing, it appeared that the orbital groove of Sardo was not employed, but something more resembling the groove depicted it Sardo Fig.3 that when the detent-locking end was removed, resembled a screwdriver tip. I did not anticipate this, and so I was once again challenged. THANK YOU for now providing a more detailed close up. There it is! Just as Sardo described--a new one-piece assembly of plunger and button (it is the "plunger") with an orbital groove to effect the quick release so that the entire assembly could now be rotated with the selector switch. This embodies the Sardo QR improvement. If you cut off the end of the plunger past the orbital groove (which is the inconsequential detent lock according to the court's findings) and replace it with a ball and spring, the remaining quick-release one-piece mechanisim of button/plunger/orbital groove is pure Sardo Fig.2. THANK YOU! Not just for me, but for the RHFT historical record, as well as the collector community. Everything falls together, everything is consistent, everything is just as it appears to be. Sardo is the PATENT PENDING on the RHFT Type 7. 

Your disassembly of the QR1-S is also quite valuable. Here we have the two-piece assembly of Haznar where the button rotates but the plunger does not, along with the Roberts singly located quick-release groove. This proves the change in plunger diameter had nothing to do with a defense against Roberts. 

Which leaves us with the question as to why the change was even made to a smaller diameter plunger? There has to be a reason--companies don't make such changes just on a whim. You mention having examples of the quick-release 'adapter' extension bar depicted in Sardo, the one with the mechanism traveling through the interior length of the bar and actuated by the protruding plunger in the ratchet. If this is the case, I suspect that the change to the smaller diameter plunger might have been made so that it was narrow enough to fit into the bar's interior channel. Boy....wouldn't that sew up things nicely! You might be the only one who can test this theory. When you dig out those extensions, please try them on both a QR1-L and a QR1-S ratchets--if the L can't activate the bar's quick release but the S can, we have our answer. It might also help us to ultimately date both the extensions and the QR1-S.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 09:07:30 AM by DadsTools »

Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #46 on: June 18, 2020, 11:17:59 AM »
Looks like after the -VH- forge mark is when the deletion of the phrase "FORGED IN" took place on the type 9.

Thanks! Very helpful. It's looking like the removal of the FORGED IN also corresponds to the removal of the double lines in the logo side of the handle.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 01:07:06 PM by DadsTools »

Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2020, 11:03:36 AM »
Like you said, "just because you've never seen one, doesn't mean it doesn't exist".
I was beginning to think that the flex head did not exist in 1/2-inch drive but one popped up this morning in perfect condition. My collection just increased by one.
BTW. It has the "double-line" logo and a small plunger.
Todd

Nice find on the flex ratchet!

I found the attached documents as part of the Roberts vs Sears trial appellate summary. The court summary is dated Nov. 2, 1977. One of the appendices contains these kinds of documents that were apparently part of a Sears stores internal catalog from which stores could order replacement inventory for their stock. Most involve the TD ratchets that were at the heart of the suit. These pages refer to the RHFT. The internal Sears dating for these is 1974-76. So we would imagine they were originally created in 1974 and intended to have a two-year life span. "Apparently" as I'm not 100% certain, but they were probably the latest available prior to the trial. Perhaps they were included in the case to prove Sears was still selling these QR ratchets based on the Roberts design. The quality is not good, but they were mid-70s technology of type-written pages probably xeroxed over and over again.

In any event, they show that at the time of their printing, the 1/2" flex head RHFT Type 6 did not yet exist. This might help explain why yours was so hard to find, since they were made for a short number of years. I seem to recall someone mentioning on one of the many forum posts I read that they were introduced in 1977. Hope you find it useful.

Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #48 on: June 22, 2020, 01:55:29 PM »
OK Folks.....looks like I may have all the amendments we need for what should be the final update on the RHFT Type Study. The added information has come from various sources including Jim C.'s TD study and additional research. I want to especially thank Todd F. for the great photos, the discovery of the small-diameter plunger variation in the Type 6 ratchets, and for actually disassembling three cores in his collection so we can see what's inside!!!! Amazing, Todd--thank you for your contribution to the RHFT knowledge base!  The changes are as follows: 

--A new Type 10 in the Study List to differentiate the later examples where the "FORGED IN" marks and the double-line logo were removed.
--Change the List entry description for the Type 9 to accommodate the above T10 addition. Also corresponding edits to the footnotes.
--Additions and changes to the T9 and T10 SUMMARY entries to reflect the above.
--Additional notes in the SUMMARY and APPROACH sections for the double-line vs no-line variations in the T3 through T5.
--Additional notes in the SUMMARY section for the T6 regarding the small plunger and double-line logo variations.
--Additional notes in the SUMMARY section for the 'two-ball' mechanism discovered by Todd F. inside the T7 blind stud.
--Add the 1978-81 Craftsman RHFT torque wrenches to the model list in the APPROACH section along with corresponding notes.

No changes were necessary in the Type List for T1 through T8, the T9 description changing only to differentiate it from the additional T10. That's quite a relief! It means we got the job done pretty much right the first time around.

All these amendments will take a little time so not everything will be changed at once. I wanted to cover all these in the above list so at least you know what to expect. Please be patient over the next day or so while I complete the work.

Thank you all again!!!

Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #49 on: June 22, 2020, 04:09:34 PM »
Type List is amended! The APPROACH and SUMMARY sections will soon follow. Thanks!

Offline Todd F.

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #50 on: June 22, 2020, 06:16:51 PM »
Catalogs confirm the introduction date of the RHFT Flex-Head. First mention of the RHFT Flex-Head is in the 78-79 catalog.  Without much fanfare, the part numbers are just listed Flex-Head ratchets and a note in parentheses says “(Wrenches 9-42792 and 9-44973 have fine-tooth, double-pawl design)”. No picture. First time the RHFT Flex-Head has its picture in print is the 82-83 catalog. Check out the price jump from 78 to 82. That’s a 40 percent increase on the 1/2 inch.

Notice the picture of the RHFT in the 78 catalog has the no-line logo and the 82 picture has the double-line logo.
Todd F.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 06:19:53 PM by Todd F. »
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Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #51 on: June 22, 2020, 07:02:37 PM »
Catalogs confirm the introduction date of the RHFT Flex-Head. First mention of the RHFT Flex-Head is in the 78-79 catalog.  Without much fanfare, the part numbers are just listed Flex-Head ratchets and a note in parentheses says “(Wrenches 9-42792 and 9-44973 have fine-tooth, double-pawl design)”. No picture. First time the RHFT Flex-Head has its picture in print is the 82-83 catalog. Check out the price jump from 78 to 82. That’s a 40 percent increase on the 1/2 inch.

Notice the picture of the RHFT in the 78 catalog has the no-line logo and the 82 picture has the double-line logo.
Todd F.

Thanks, Todd. This is useful information as it helps us try to tighten up some of the dating. I find it interesting that the flex head RHFT is introduced in the 78 catalog almost like a footnote.

As I've mentioned before, Todd, I'm not a collector of Craftsman ratchets myself, and so I think when I look at these catalogs I fail to notice things that collectors do, but at the same time I might catch something about the overall presentation that the collector isn't looking at. This 78 'minimalist' listing makes me wonder if this was done for the sake of available space? When I worked for a magazine publisher in their ad department, we would sometimes have to make such decisions, reducing the size of certain articles or even cutting them altogether.

Take for example the intro of the RHFT in the 1970 catalog. Now we already know it had been selling in the stores for a couple of years prior. We also know that many have assumed that the 1/4 drive was introduced only later in 1971 because that's the first catalog in which it appears. But if you take a look at the 70 RHFT page, it gets you to thinking that because of the layout, they may have chosen not to include a description of the 1/4" just because they didn't want to allocate the space for it! After all, it was already selling like hotcakes in the stores. So we know it existed and was being sold at the time. It could very well be that they left it out simply for the sake of allocating the available space to what they deemed more important. It might also explain the omission of certain drive sizes in other catalogs. I feel this is a viable explanation--I know from experience that such publishing decisions are made all the time. It might just be the reason why they introduced the RHFT flex head in such a tiny way.

Yes.....the no-line logo versus the double-line logo. We know it's a for-real variation, but it's a tricky thing to tie down. We know the double line came back to the RHFT sometime in the latter part of the Type 6. The TD, however, seems to have a somewhat random mix of either leading up to that same time period. I have a theory about it based on scrutinizing the marketing approach and art as well as the tools themselves. I'm still working at confirming this. But as a result I suspect that the seeming connection between the QR1-S and the double-line is coincidental, or in other words, two distinct design change features--one mechanical, one artistic--that happen to have been made around the same time. Which is why we find a few exceptions.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 08:58:38 PM by DadsTools »

Offline Todd F.

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #52 on: June 23, 2020, 02:50:20 PM »
I just posted a new topic in this forum about the two ratchet extensions I own.
Here's the link:

http://www.papawswrench.com/vboard/index.php?topic=25691.0

Todd F.
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Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #53 on: June 28, 2020, 05:03:25 PM »
DOUBLE-LINE & NO-LINE LOGO VARIATIONS ON THE RHFT RATCHET TYPES and RELATED TOPICS


The CRAFTSMAN RHFT TYPE STUDY chart footnotes Types 3 through 6 can be found in both "double-line" and "no-line" CRAFTSMAN logo variations. Although it's enough to identify a logo variation for these Types, it says little about the reasons for these marks. Because of its breadth, it seemed best to cover the subject under its own essay separate from the APPROACH and SUMMARY sections.

Any discussion about the Craftsman logo as it appears on the tools should probably begin with a historical overview. The earliest logo applied to the tools back in 1927 was the name stamped or forged into the tool in plain block letters. The logo was enhanced in the early 1930s with geometric letters and the C extended to form an underline under the name (this is often called the “long-C” or “underline-C” logo by collectors). The upper sides of the “A” were sharply angled inward to create what we call today the “pointed-A” that persisted on the tools until the late 1960s when it was changed to a “flat-A” version (it’s interesting to note that from the early 1930s the main ‘print’ logo for advertising and catalogs always had a flat-A). 

Around 1945 we see a divergence of the way the logo is rendered. In the catalog print version, the underline-C is still the official logo with its “REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.” in the underline. But a new style is introduced on the hand tools with no underline and a C of the same height as the other letters. One can imagine this version was easier to apply on a lot of different kinds of tools and gave a cleaner, more modern look. It wouldn’t be until 1954-55 that Sears adopted it as its official company print logo.   

A feature of the new logo as used on the tools was the adding of double parallel lines that were not part of the official print version logo. Sometimes the lines are merely artistic enhancements with very short lengths bracketing the name like on the “Heritage” logo name plates and tools such as pliers. However, when the logo appears on long enclosed areas like the recesses in an adjustable wrench handle or on the raised panels of wrenches, the lines are extended as long as possible. In such applications, the double lines are used as artistic space fillers (apparently, the Sears art dept. abhorred a vacuum). The lines are also applied to the ‘descriptive’ side of the wrench handles, so they are not exclusively used just with the logo. The lines are even seen as space fillers on some Dunlap branded tools. These double lines became a trademark ‘signature’ marking for the post-war Craftsman era.

When interpreting the various markings on raised panel wrenches like the RHFT and teardrop ratchets, it’s helpful to keep in mind this idea of the lines being more space fillers than an intrinsic part of the logo. An example illustrating this perspective are the smallest 1/4” and 5/16” sizes in the vintage raised panel end wrench sets during the “=V=” era (more on the V in a moment). Because the stampings are not always perfectly centered, a vertical misalignment of double lines on such a skinny panel might cause a portion to travel off the panel or make any crookedness much more noticeable to the eye. Sears solved this by employing only a single line on both the logo and descriptive sides of these small wrenches, which are clearly used as space fillers like the double lines on their larger siblings. We also see this same single-line usage on the Type 3 RHFT panels where the descriptive side contains two lines of textual content where there’s no room for the usual symmetrical double lines, and so a single line is used on either side of the top text line merely as an artistic space filler. These single lines would be highly inappropriate if a double-line was actually an integral part of the company logo.

This leads us to briefly mention the mfr code “V” for Moore Drop Forging, maker of most post-war end wrenches and ratchets. At the beginning of this modern period, the panel wrenches had CRAFTSMAN on one side and FORGED IN U.S.A. on the other, each flanked on both ends by long double filler lines extending to the side edges of the panel, interrupted at their far ends only by size markings where needed. When Sears decided to stamp Moore’s V code on the panels, it made a small opening in the double lines to the right of the FORGED IN U.S.A. and stamped the V in it. For the small panel wrenches mentioned before, the same kind of opening was made in the single line to receive the code letter. What this means is that the double or single lines were never an intrinsic part of the V code, no more than they were part of the Craftsman name or the “Forged in USA” text. They are artistic filler lines in which these figures were embedded.

Since the lines are not a part of the code, there really is no such thing as a double-line “=V=” mfr code. In most cases, the V is not even centered in these lines, looking more like ====V===. We find the same thing in the small-sized wrench examples previously noted where the V is embedded off-center in a single spacer line like ------V----. We use the terms “=V= “and “–V–“ as a convenient device for dating even though it’s somewhat of a misnomer, and cannot be accurately applied to single-line Vs found during the “=V=” era. 

A change in design took place with the introduction of model numbers on the panel wrenches around 1970. Because of the extra space required by the number, the filler lines could no longer be relied on to provide enough space inside them to accommodate a code letter. So the code was moved from the filler lines and repositioned between FORGED IN USA and the newly applied model number. Small lines were added at each side of the code letter as a kind of separator to keep it visually distinct from adjacent content. This is what we normally call a “–V–“code. But the lines are used like a pair of brackets or quotation marks to isolate the letter—they are still not actually part of the mfr code.

A misconception brought about by our common usage of these terms is the belief that “=V=” signifies Moore Drop Forging while “–V–“ was a new code made for Easco when it bought the company. It’s well known that Easco acquired Moore in 1967, whereas “–V–“ didn’t come online until about 1970 with the addition of model numbers. That’s about a 3- to 4-year discrepancy. The real distinction was not between Moore and Easco, but the decision by Sears to add the model numbers.

And so there really isn’t a “=V=” or a “–V–“ mfr code. There is only V, from about 1946 to 1986, while the lines are merely design elements. We still use these terms for convenience sake (as we do in the RHFT Study), but we shouldn’t lose sight of what they actually represent.

A note before beginning the double-line vs. no-line variation discussion. During the period covered by Types 3 to 6, Moore/Easco was making both the RHFT and teardrop ratchets with virtually identical raised panels on the handles. The stamps for these were two separate pieces of tooling, one for the ‘obverse’ logo side and a ‘reverse’ stamp for the descriptive side. This means that an obverse stamp for the teardrop could feasibly be struck on the RHFT obverse and vise versa. For many years, the workers needed only one obverse logo stamp for all handle panels of the same size, so that both the RHFT and teardrop ratchets could be struck with the exact same double-line logo stamp. Suddenly in 1970, there was now for the first time a single no-line logo stamp dedicated to only one particular tool in the entire wrench line—the RHFT ratchet. You can imagine the confusion this caused among different shifts of workers in up to four plants robotically accustomed to using the same double-line stamp on all the handles for many years. Mistakes were surely made, as the artifacts tell. This kind of error would have probably been allowed to pass by quality control since the wrenches did have the correct size logo, lines or not. A double-line logo occasionally appearing on the no-line Types 4 and 5 RHFT is no doubt from having been struck with the obverse stamp still in use on all the teardrop ratchets and other drive tools. 

Now on to the RHFT logo variations……

Type 3 [1969-70]: The primary or “majority” logo format for this type is the traditional double-line. A few rare examples are found with a no-line logo. The probable reason for this will become more apparent in the Type 4.

Type 4 [1970-71]: This is the very first raised panel wrench issued with a no-line logo during the double-line era. Sears must have had a very specific purpose in mind for the removal of what had been an essential part of its signature panel wrench design for decades. The artifacts themselves provide no clue as to why this change was made.

I believe the answer lies in two related catalog events that took place during the same year. Although the RHFT had been selling in the stores since 1968, its first Craftsman tool catalog appearance was in 1970. The second event was in its presentation. During the late 1960s, Sears designed a CRAFTSMAN COMMERCIAL logo to label those power and hand tools it was promoting as heavy duty. In its large consumer catalog, Sears was also using a white oval with the words Sears Best in script to indicate its premium products in various categories like clothing, electronics and appliances. In 1970, Sears applied this Sears Best oval for the first time in the Craftsman tool catalog in addition to its existing commercial labeling, but assigned it exclusively to only one item in the whole book—the RHFT ratchet.

Sears had been selling the quick release ratchets like hotcakes in its stores. The RHFT was the premium flagship of its drive tool fleet, and Sears would want to make a big splash for its catalog debut. How could Sears visually distinguish this Sears Best tool from all the other wrenches, ratchets and breaker bars? By removing the old traditional double lines, which gave the RHFT handle a modern, more polished and sophisticated appearance than its counterparts. It was the only raised panel tool at the time to lose its double lines, and the only tool in the 1970 catalog to receive this special designation. And the only explanation that appears to makes any sense—the connection here is too compelling. 

Customer orders from the 1970 catalog for the RHFT would have been filled with those ratchets in production at the time: the later Type 3 and the Type 4. This could explain why a few Type 3s can be found struck with the new no-line logo stamp. The Type 4 was intended to be struck entirely with no-line logos, so the occasional examples of a double-line logo in these were probably struck inadvertently with the stamps still in use for the teardrop ratchet handles.

Type 5 [1971]: The Type 5 is essentially a continuation of the Type 4 story line. For the 1971 Craftsman tool catalog, the RHFT is once again the only product in the entire book to be distinguished with the oval Sears Best label.  It is still the only Craftsman drive tool to have a no-line logo. Here too, examples with a double-line logo would have been struck with in-house teardrop ratchet stamps.

Type 6 [1972-81]: The Type 6 begins its reign with the same no-line logo as Types 4 and 5. However, it was soon joined by teardrop ratchets and breaker bars also having no-line logos for no apparent reason.

Once again, the catalogs offer valuable insights. Starting with the 1972 Craftsman tool catalog, the RHFT no longer has an exclusive to the Sears Best oval. In an apparent move to begin eliminating the Craftsman Commercial label, Sears was now applying the Sears Best oval to a small number of other power and hand tools. Here we find the very kind of one-to-one correlation we’re looking for—Sears takes away the RHFT’s exclusive to the Sears Best label in the catalog by spreading it to other items, while at the same time it takes away the RHFT’s exclusive to the premium no-line logo on the tools by spreading it to breaker bars and the teardrop ratchets. When you have two different witnesses telling the very same story, you tend to believe them. It’s the best explanation we have for no-line logos appearing on other tools around this time. Over the next several years, Sears replaced more and more of the Craftsman Commercial crowns in the catalog with the Sears Best oval until it finally discontinued the commercial label in 1976. 

Then suddenly, for some inexplicable reason, the premium no-line logo simply vanishes! The teardrop ratchets, the RHFT and the breaker bars all magically appear with the old double lines again sometime in the latter half of the 1970s. There had to be a very good reason for this.

Can the catalogs give us a clue this time too? They do. It can be found at the very top of the first inside page of the 1976-77 50th Anniversary catalog. It announces: “1976-77 marks the 50TH ANNIVERSARY of our famous CRAFTSMAN Trademark!” This is a bit odd since it doesn’t celebrate 50 years of the brand as you would normally expect from a company, but celebrates the trademark itself. Displayed throughout the catalog is a celebratory logo of the Craftsman name in 3-dimensional letters ascending on an incline. But it’s not the original block-letter logo from 1927, nor is it the underline logo from the 1930s through the wartime—it’s the modern lettering style introduced in 1945. And what was the design element seen on all the tools with the newly minted 1945 logo? The double lines. If you’re going to celebrate the trademark anniversary with the 1945 rendition, then it’s only natural to bring back the double lines that went with it. And so in this instance also, we have two different witnesses—the catalog and the tools—that seem to be telling us the same story. There’s no question that Sears returned the lines to the tools at some point around this time, and so the trademark-celebration explanation makes perfect sense. We see a good quantity of Type 6 RHFT in both no-line and double-line logos, and so it’s not surprising to find a date somewhere near the middle of its lifespan. Jim C.’s extensive Teardrop Type Study photos also indicate a return of the double lines about 1976. There are a couple of other supporting factors. When the no-line logo was first introduced on the RHFT, it was an exclusive premium marking that went along with the Sears Best labeling. It was less a distinction once the label began spreading to other catalog items along with the no-line logo to other drive tools. When Sears did away with its “commercial” labeling in 1976 and instead applied Sears Best to all its top-end catalog items, any remnant of the RHFT’s unique status among the entire Craftsman product line was gone, and with it the original purpose of the no-line logo. One can also imagine that Easco benefited by a return to the days when only a single logo stamp was needed to strike all similar-sized handle panels. It’s a perfect storm. So I think we can finally assign dates to the no-line (1972-76) and the historical double-line (1976-81) Type 6 logo variations.

It has been suggested that the return of double lines on the Type 6 and teardrop ratchets were to indicate the change from the large to small diameter QR plungers. But there’s no good reason why the entire drive tool line was changed back to a double-line logo for a detail so small that hardly anyone would even notice. We also find enough minority examples of a double-line handle with a large plunger (both parts appearing to have uniform wear) to show the plunger change occurred after the return of the double lines, around 1977-78.
                                                                                                                               _________

Some final thoughts about the catalogs. Our use of them primarily to associate artifacts with the ad campaigns provides an opportunity to discuss the limitations of trying to identify variations just from their photos. There was no Photoshop back in the day. Typeset strips of paper containing text were pasted (where the term “cut and paste” originates!) onto a master sheet alongside photos that were also pasted. Then the paste-up layout was photographed as a whole (remember camera-ready art?), and the final image ‘burned’ to a plate. It was very costly and time-consuming. Because of catalog size and cost restraints, large catalogs were printed on thin porous paper that made poor surfaces for photo rendition. Looking at any older catalogs from the era we’re studying and before, it’s easy to see that every single b&w shot is artist enhanced or even skillfully drawn from scratch, all by hand, so that the lettering and edges of the hand tools would be crisp and black in the finished book. The point is that the image you’re seeing is not the native image of the tool itself. Moreover, the art was drawn according to an individual artist’s conception of the item. In a recent mid-1960s catalog search for possible flat-As, we not only found both pointed and flat As, but also square, conventional, block and even arched As, none of which appeared on any Craftsman tool of the day. Or the three different hand drills side by side having the EXACT SAME cord, just like the four soldering pencils on 1970 Pg. 73 (some of the fanciful renditions are rather amusing). There are many hundreds of examples, all hand-drawn according to that artist’s interpretation. So we can’t fully trust the tool markings seen in these catalogs.

Then there are the photos themselves. Photo shoots were also costly and time-consuming. Companies re-used as many photos as possible from previous shoots. A photo in a 1965 catalog might have been shot back in the 1950s. For example, two pointed-A sockets pictured at the upper right on Pg. 8 of the 1964 catalog are the very same images on Pg. 106 in the 1971 book. Again, there are many, many examples.

Take the RHFT. The b&w photo on Pg 107 in the 1971 catalog (reused from 1970) and the color photo from the back cover both show double-line logos. Yet we know for an absolute fact from the artifacts and the patent dating that from at least October 1970 until well past 1971, all RHFT had a no-line logo. The variation shown in the catalog simply didn’t exist anymore.

The 1976 Pg. 50 b&w ratchet photo shows a large RHFT in the foreground with separate photos of both a standard and flex-head teardrops arranged in the background. The same three images are shown in both the 1977 and 1978 catalogs at differing pose angles and scale. However, the 1978 RHFT is also flipped vertically. Why can you still read the Craftsman name without needing a mirror? Because the logo was hand-drawn by an artist. Just like it was for the 1976 and 1977 catalogs. Nobody can tell for sure from these photos which handle logo was actually shipping. When you look at the background ratchet images, you see the standard teardrop was inked with a double-line while the flex-head has a no-line logo. Well....which is it? And finally, the reused image in the 1978 catalog shows oil ports on the teardrops. Weren’t those discontinued by this time? They’re missing on at least three of the six TD ratchets pictured on Pg. 123—which three are correct? Or did the artist simply forget to draw the others in?

Catalogs were created to sell products, just like any sales literature. They were not designed as historical or archival records. What is depicted in them can be trusted only so far. We must seek corroboration wherever possible from alternative authoritative references as well as the artifacts themselves. 

« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 09:50:56 PM by DadsTools »