Author Topic: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009  (Read 13922 times)

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Offline DadsTools

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CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« on: June 05, 2020, 02:34:10 PM »
CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009

In attempting to answer questions posted by b.well on GJ regarding dating on Craftsman RHFT ratchets, it became apparent in looking through older posts and other forums that many others in the past had asked similar questions. There was clearly a need to conduct a comprehensive Type Study on the RHFT.  After examining many photos and examples, it quickly became apparent that the patent information marked on the handles were key to determining the timeline on these ratchets. After an exhaustive search of all available images and descriptions, related patents (including one not previously recognized), and a little backstory on a lawsuit between Sears and the inventor of the quick release, I was finally able to assemble a solid list of RHFT types along with their characteristic markings and chronology. I had some assistance from b.well, and some inspiration from Jim C.'s amazing TD Type Study. What's unusual about this study is that it relies almost exclusively on the external patent evidence instead of the Sears catalogs. The two posts that follow, TYPE STUDY APPROACH, METHOD & SOURCES and TYPE SUMMARY provide all the background information on the Type Study and how it was arrived at. First posted on GJ, I posted it on Tool Talk as well because I felt it would be appreciated here as well. My apologies that the columns do not perfectly line up because of the font, but it's still in a usable format. Thanks. 

[amended 6-22-2020]


Type 1:   1968            =V=                              "PATENT PENDING"                                   NM   QR1   PA   (1)
Type 2:   1968-69       =V=                              "PATENT PENDING"                                   NM   QR1   FA   (1)
Type 3:   1969-70        -V-                     "U.S. PAT. 3462731, AND OTHERS"                      NM   QR1   FA   (2)
Type 4:   1970-71        -V-       "U.S.PATS.  3172675, 3208318, 3467231, 3532013"        M     QR1   FA   (2)
Type 5:   1971             -V-       "U.S.PATS. 3467231,3532013 CAN.PAT.870343-1971"      M     QR1    FA   (2)
Type 6:   1972-81        -V-        "U.S.PATS. 3467231,3532013 CAN.PATENTED-1971"       M     QR1    FA   (2) (3) (4)
Type 7:   1981-83        -V-                                "PATENT PENDING"                                   M     QR2    FA   (5)
Type 8:   1983-86        -V-                               No Patent Markings                                   M     QR2    FA
Type 9:   1986-1995  Post-V           Same as Type 8 w/2-Letter “V_” Mfr Codes               M     QR2    FA   (6)
Type 10: 1995-2009   Vary      No “FORGED IN” Marking, No-Line Logo, Various Codes    M     QR2    FA   

ABBREVIATIONS [see TYPE STUDY APPROACH et.al. for more details]:
M = model number
NM = no model number
QR1 = 1st Generation quick release having an opening in the stud end for the plunger
QR2 = 2nd Generation quick release having no plunger opening or a “blind” stud
PA = pointed-As in the CRAFTSMAN logo
FA = flat-As in the CRAFTSMAN logo

FOOTNOTES [see TYPE STUDY APPROACH et.al. for more details]:
(1) Some examples are found with a double-spaced P A T E N T  P E N D I N G
(2) Types 3 through 6 can be found in both "double-line" and "no-line" CRAFTSMAN logo variations [see Post #53 for more]
(3) A small percentage of Type 6 can be found with a -VV- mfr. code
(4) Late production 1/2" & 3/8" have smaller diameter plungers (QR1-S), poss. 1978-81
(5) Early Type 7 have small model # on top text line, later Type 7 have full-height model # at right
(6) Two-letter V_ mfr codes, typically VE, VF, VG, VH, VJ
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 07:49:21 PM by DadsTools »

Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2020, 02:34:54 PM »
TYPE STUDY APPROACH, METHOD & SOURCES
[Please see also the Type Summary Section in a separate post]

In any collectible Type Study, one must first decide by what criteria the typing will be determined. This is based in no small part on how the study is intended to be used. In this case, the goal was to assist the collector in determining the production date range of any Craftsman Round Head Fine Tooth (RHFT) ratchet by visual inspection only. The outward appearance and markings were consequently used as the sole assessment criteria for determining each Type and its dating. Since the dual-pawl ratcheting means and tooth count for each drive size remained consistent throughout the RHFT production, only the externally distinct features were required to define each Type.

Easco (formally Moore Drop Forging) and its successor Danaher produced versions of the RHFT for a number of brands besides Craftsman including Master Mechanic, KD, Allen, Ridgid, Napa and others, as well as under its own Easco brand. This Type Study is focused exclusively on the Craftsman versions, although the related patents will apply to these other brands as well.

Minor differences in external markings having no substantive affect on the identification or chronology of a Type are deemed to be a “variation” and are footnoted in the Type List accordingly. This can be a matter of subjective judgment at times, and so individual opinions on these variations may differ. The criterion here is whether a marking would substantially alter the definition or dating of a Type group where its members are otherwise identical.

For example, a —VV— mfr. code is occasionally found on a small minority of Type 6 examples (instead of the characteristic —V— code) while all other markings remain identical. One would be tempted to define this as an additional Type with its own date range by following the assumption that one mark must supersede the other, so that —V— was replaced by —VV— at some point along the timeline. But other authoritative studies have assigned date ranges for —V— and —VV— of 1968-1986 and 1974-1989 respectively (a 12-year overlap), showing that both codes were being used concurrently during the Type 6 date range of 1972-1981. In addition, the —V— code was still being used on the later Types 7 and 8, proving there was no distinct switchover from one mark to the other. Seeking the simplicity of stating something like “—V— was being used, then they switched to —VV—, and then back to —V— again” will not work here, since we have no way to determine exactly when or even why —VV— makes the rare Type 6 appearance (although Jim C.’s TD Study and others have suggested it may represent an alternative plant in the Easco network of manufacturing  facilities). Trying to force the evidence into a dogmatic preconceived notion would be like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole instead of letting the evidence take us where it will. What’s more, even the experts cannot say why —V— was used at times on some tools and —VV— on others during their overlapping years. Since all the Type 6 examples are otherwise identical, and neither code alters its date range of 1972-81, we have no grounds to assign —VV— its own Type, and so must include it only as a minor variation within the Type 6 period.

Another example is the lines on either side of the CRAFTSMAN name logo that appear on so many of its hand tools. To my knowledge, no “official” term exists for these lines. Alloy Artifacts calls it the “double-line” logo when there are two lines, and perhaps that’s as good as any. On the RHFT we find two logo variations; one with two lines and one with no lines, or a “no-line” logo. Both logos are found throughout Types 3 through 6. However, each Type has a ‘majority’ variation. All of Type 3 was almost certainly meant to have a double-line logo, and so the very rare occurrence of a no-line logo is a fluke. Type 4 and 5 on the other hand appear instead to have been planned with a no-line logo, since that’s what the overwhelming majority have, So it’s possible that at the end of the Type 3 period that a few were made with the new Type 4 no-line stamp, creating a sort of transitional version. A double-line logo on the Type 4 and 5, however, is more difficult to explain, since the overwhelming majority of them have no lines. But we do know from examining the double-line “teardrop” ratchets from this period that the no-line logo occasionally appears on these as well, so we know that both logo stamps were in use at the factory. Keep in mind that the logo stamp was a separate device from the descriptive panel stamp, and so could be used on any appropriate sized panel. Because the geometry of the raised panels on both the teardrop and the RHFT were essentially the same, both the double-line and no-line stamps could have been applied to either. On the Type 6, it appears that the no-line logo was in use until late in that era and then was changed back to the double-line, but earlier double-line examples are also known to exist. Because of all these inconsistencies, the presence of a double-line or no-line logo can at best be defined only as a variation.

The above two examples illustrate the kinds of judgment calls essential to any Type Study project. A researcher must assess which features are fundamental to the purpose of the Type Study and which are incidental. Our purpose was to provide the reader with a clear, easy-to-use means to accurately identify and date any RHFT. It’s noble to try classifying every observable variable, but not every feature is worthy of its own Type. Sometimes the attempt to Type every variable might even be futile, as is apparently the case with the Plomb / Proto / Penens / Fleet / et.al. pear- and racetrack-head ratchets from the 1940s-50s where it seems like they marked every single production run with a different brand (both for others and their own) and model number (sometimes different numbers for the same brand or the same number for different brands!). Or like the New Britain Kilness ratchet where NMB made the exact same tool marked for so many different brands that I’m still not sure we’ve found them all! Our approach to the RHFT would simply not work with these—the only way to Type these kinds of lines is according to their mechanical geometry, the brand and number markings having to be relegated to mere variations. Otherwise, the resulting list would be so complex and unwieldy as to make it a chore to use, and possibly a project with no end. And so each Type Study must be tailored to the peculiarities of that particular tool line, presented in a format that furnishes both accuracy and ease of use, and in a framework that projects a foreseeable conclusion while lending itself to simple amendment without having to substantially reconstruct it.

It has been suggested that certain product features on the RHFT might be drive-specific. We found no evidence of this. After an extensive search of all available current and archived images online, we found every drive size represented in each Type.

Terminology is another element of any Type Study. Physical features and markings have over time acquired various descriptive terms within the collecting community. Sometimes these terms differ from one another. Manufacturers themselves sometime disagree in their descriptions of a given feature. For the sake of the RHFT, we used the ‘official’ terms specified in the related patents: the drive part on which a socket is placed is called the stud; the button activating the quick release is called the release button; the ram that extends out of the stud when the release button is pushed is called the plunger. We have already discussed the use of double-line and no-line logo names.

The Type Study makes use of the following abbreviations for saving space:

M = handle shows a model number
NM = handle shows no model number
PA = pointed-As in the CRAFTSMAN logo
FA = flat-As in the CRAFTSMAN logo
QR1 = 1st Generation quick release having an opening in the stud end for the plunger
QR2 = 2nd Generation quick release having no plunger opening or a “blind” stud

Speaking of the two quick release variations, we found instances where a later QR2 rebuild kit was installed in an earlier QR1 style ratchet (and vise versa). Fortunately, the easily recognized ‘blind-stud’ of the QR2 is linked to a later patent date as well as a different series of model numbers. Once you know what to look for, you won’t confuse them or be fooled. The patent for the QR2 will be explained in the separate Type Summary posting under the Type 7 entry. For now, here are the distinct model numbers for each drive size and QR style:

___________QR1_________QR2
1/4"_______43178_______43187
3/8"_______43788_______43781
1/2"_______44978_______44977
3/8" Flex___42792_______42794
1/2" Flex___44973_______44983

The RHFT Flex-Head ratchets were first introduced in 1978 during the Type 6 era. All the examples we’ve seen conform to the very same Type Study definitions and chronology as the standard Type 6 through Type 10. 

One other product in the line is the RHFT ratcheting torque wrench, briefly offered in a 3/8” drive #44466 and a 1/2" drive #44465 between 1978 and 1981. The only thing they share in common with the other RHFT wrenches is the ratchet heads, which themselves also conform with the Type Study from the handful we’ve seen: 1978-80 = QR1, 1981 = QR2. The difference with these is that, unlike the other ratchets, the model numbers stay the same with the change to the QR2. They are included here simply for the sake of thoroughness. 

Honorable mention goes to the obscure Quick Release Extension Bar sold in the general catalogs and stores for only two years between 1972-74. It was made to work with the Roberts QR1 extending plunger in both the RHFT and Teardrop ratchets, which engaged the bar’s center rod activating the QR on the stud end. A plastic collar was installed on the bar shank against the shoulder of the female drive end, so that two fingers could be placed on it providing leverage when pressing the QR button with the thumb. Not many were sold, and the collars invariably broke, which led to its ultimate demise. While not strictly an RHFT item, it is kind of a sad orphan that deserves a home, so we’re giving it a place here. The QR bar was made in two lengths and drive sizes: 43533 3” 3/8dr, 43534 6” 3/8dr, 43535 3” 1/2dr, and 43536 6” 1/2dr.

This Craftsman Type Study is unique in that it was compiled almost entirely without the use of any Sears catalog references. Most type studies depend heavily on these catalogs out of necessity, even though they can be fraught with inconsistencies, omissions and inaccurate artists’ renderings. For example, the RHFT first appeared in the 1970 catalog, and so the community has generally presumed this was the first year of production. Yet the patent markings on the ratchets themselves prove that production began two years earlier. At the time, Sears had the largest retail distribution channel in the country for its Craftsman branded tools, and so an item certainly did not need to be in the catalog to be sold successfully. When we needed a tool back in the day, we just drove to Sears—we didn’t look in the catalog first.

We used the catalogs only for comparing handle logo images to the actual artifacts, the debut date of the flex head, the date range of the torque wrenches, and for a little help in determining the starting date for the Type 10. Other than these, we were fortunate that the patent markings allowed us to use the USPTO and Canadian issued patents exclusively for our Type dating, which are far more reliable than any catalog. Not only do these government-issued dates make this Type Study uncommonly precise, but their rapid succession during those early RHFT years sheds additional light on that important transition period when =V= was changed to —V—, pointed-A changed to flat-A, and when model numbers first appeared on the tools. While we can’t form any across-the-board conclusions about the markings on the entire hand tool line from this single ratchet study, we can now say for certain that the decision to transit from older markings to newer happened at least as early or late as a particular year.

There are seven patents related to the handle markings on the RHFT. They are as follows:

--US 3172675 Ball Socket Attachment for Impact Tool, filed 2-19-63, issued 3-9-65, inventor Victor E. Gonzalez, no assignee, acquired by Sears in 1968 [Note: this and the following patent number were not originally intended to be associated with the RHFT—their solitary appearance on the Type 4 is explained in the Type Summary section.]

--US 3208318 Quick Release for Socket Wrenches, filed 4-24-64, issued 9-28-65, inventor Peter M. Roberts, assigned to Sears 6-15-65, assigned back to Roberts by Sears 2-17-81

--US 3467231 Pawl Reversing Mechanism for Ratchet Wrenches, filed 2-12-68, issued 9-16-69, inventor Henry J. Haznar, assigned to Moore Drop Forging.

--US 3532013 Quick Release Mechanism for Fine Tooth Ratchet Wrenches, filed 5-1-68, issued 10-6-70, inventor Henry J. Haznar, assigned to Easco Hand Tools Inc.

--Canadian 870343 Pawl Reversing Mechanism for Ratchet Wrenches, filed N/A, issued 5-11-71, inventor Henry J. Haznar, owner Moore Drop Forging [Note: This is the Canadian counterpart to the corresponding US 3467231 patent]

--Canadian 888494 Quick Release Mechanism for Fine Tooth Ratchet Wrenches, filed N/A, issued 12-21-71, inventor Henry J. Haznar, owner Moore Drop Forging [Note: The Canadian counterpart to the corresponding US 3532013 patent]

--US 4399722 Socket Wrench Including Quick-Release Adapter, filed 3-6-81, issued 8-23-83, inventor Vincent Sardo Jr., no assignee [Note: This previously un-referenced patent solves the mystery surrounding an often misidentified RHFT type (even by Alloy Artifacts), and will be explained in greater detail in the Type Summary section.]

The second patent listed above for a quick release mechanism invented by Peter M. Roberts and issued in 1965 (3208318) was the object of a long court battle between Roberts and Sears. Roberts had assigned the patent to Sears, but in 1969 sued Sears over infringement and that the retail giant had defrauded him in the agreement. The case went though multiple trials and appeals, and was not completely settled until 20 years later. While it is not the intent of this Type Study to substantially involve itself with this matter, the discussion of which would fill many pages on its own, it merits mentioning because it played a role in the patent history of the RHFT. The Haznar quick release patent, the patent pending marks on Types 1 and 2, the appearance of its number on the Type 4, and the 1981 filing of the Sardo quick release patent were all influenced to some degree by the legal wrangling between the two parties. We will confine ourselves to its brief mention only in those instances where it directly affects the RHFT typing details.

A fascinating revelation during the December 1976 Roberts trial and of particular interest to collectors is the sheer volume of QR ratchets sold by Sears. In the 11 years between late 1965 and the trial, it was documented that Sears sold a staggering 17 million units! That averages over 1.5 million units a year, or almost 29,000 a week. And while the numbers are not sorted between Teardrop and RHFT ratchets or drive sizes, it’s apparent that huge quantities were made of each. The 6/15/65 agreement between Roberts and Sears called for a 2-cent per unit royalty up to a maximum of $10,000. It was reported that Sears paid this off sometime in 1966 only nine months after the agreement—that’s 500,000 units sold! No wonder Roberts sued. In preparation for the market launch of the Teardrop QR ratchet toward the end of 1965, Moore Drop Forging produced 750,000 QR ratchets for Sears, at times as many as 40,000 units per week. The general public would have no idea of these numbers had it not been for the trial. There are a number of takeaways in this for collectors. First, what you see for sale on websites like eBay, yard/estate sales and flea markets represent only a tiny fraction of what’s out there still in the garages and tool boxes of private hands. Second, just because you’ve not seen a specimen personally does not necessarily mean it doesn’t exist. Too, it gives us an insight into the kinds of quantities Sears could sell just through its stores without even listing the item in a catalog. And finally, we don’t have a situation where a particular model or type was made and then languished for months or years before that production run was finally sold out—Sears was flipping these runs at a dizzying pace, and a change in style or markings could be released in mere weeks after the decision was made. The documented evidence from the court case is beyond mere speculation, personal observation or catalog representation—they are indisputable fact.   

As is the case with virtually all patented products, an item marked PATENT PENDING means a patent application has been filed with the USPTO but has not yet been approved for issue. Once approved, a manufacturer will change the markings to show the issued patent number. We interpreted the RHFT markings accordingly.

The Craftsman mfr. code study by Gary Lauver was used as the source for the date ranges of the —V— and —VV— codes. Observations posted by numerous GJ members in multiple RHFT-related threads were relied on to determine both the last year of its appearance in a Sears catalog (2008) and the last year it was still offered for sale online (2009).
« Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 01:29:16 PM by DadsTools »

Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2020, 02:35:32 PM »
TYPE SUMMARY

TYPE 1: The first issue of the RHFT ratchet, characterized by three distinct handle markings: the pointed-As in the CRAFTSMAN logo, =V= mfr code and PATENT PENDING.

In 1968, Moore Drop Forging filed two patent applications with the USPTO for both the ratcheting mechanism and the quick release (QR1) of the original RHFT, both invented by employee H.J. Haznar. The same two patents were also filed with the Canadian Patent Office for a total of four pending applications (this total will figure prominently in the early years of the RHFT history). The first was for the ratcheting mechanism and was filed 2-12-68; the second for the quick release was filed 5-1-68. Although the Canadian filing dates are not available online, the drawings and abstracts are the same as in the US applications and so were likely submitted the same year.

The drawings in these two patents help to narrow the Type 1 dating. The 2-12-68 drawings show approximations of the RHFT mechanism, but the later 5-1-68 drawing shows a scale image of the actual tool down to the head shape, thumbwheel and even the sculpted geometry of the shank. This indicates that at the time of these later drawings, the engineering was completed and the tool was already being made under the pending first patent, which places the start of the Type 1 production between February and May of 1968. This also tells us that the =V= code and the pointed-A were still in use at that time.

It’s important to note that at the time of the 1968 Moore patent filings, Sears already had an issued quick release patent assigned to it in 1965 (Roberts 3208318), and so the patent pending marking on the Type 1 shows that this earlier 3208318 patent was never intended to be associated with Moore’s RHFT. This fact will play a role in subsequent analysis.


TYPE 2: Same as Type 1 except it has the flat-As in the logo. It was assigned its own Type because of the flat-A’s importance in helping to date other Craftsman hand tools. Vintage Craftsman enthusiasts universally recognize that the transition from pointed-A to flat-A happened some time around 1968, and the Type 2 confirms this. Starting with Type 2, the pointed-A never appears again in the RHFT series.

The PATENT PENDING means Type 2 was also made prior to the first RHFT patent that was to be issued later by the USPTO on 9-16-69. This places Type 2 production on the RHFT timeline between May 1968 and September 1969. The double-line =V= marking suggests this code was still in use as late as 1969.


TYPE 3: Changes to both the patent markings and the mfr code characterize the Type 3. The earlier pending marks are now replaced with U.S. PAT. 3462731, AND OTHERS. The number refers to the first RHFT patent issued on 9-16-69 by the USPTO for the ratchet mechanism. Its appearance on the handle shows that the Type 3 started production after this date.

The “AND OTHERS” is a curious statement that still strikes us oddly today. The “U.S. PAT.” is singular, and along with just one number demonstrates that Moore—now operating as Easco Hand Tools—had only a single legitimate RHFT patent in hand (the previously mentioned Sears patent was not included). If it actually had more, it would have used the plural “U.S.PATS.” as it did on the later Types when it definitely had multiple patent numbers. So what is the meaning of this ambiguous “AND OTHERS” when they truly had no other patents issued yet?

Recall that Moore filed four patent applications in 1968. The management apparently expected the OTHERS to be issued very shortly after the first. Since there was only a single other US patent pending, they were also counting on the two Canadian pending patents to make up the OTHERS. So they decided to claim AND OTHERS anticipating that by the time the Type 3 production was completed and being distributed, they would certainly have the OTHERS in hand. But as the markings on the Type 4 will reveal, things did not turn out quite the way they expected.

For now, we can confidently date the range of production for the Type 3 as beginning after the first-issued patent cited on the handle, but before the second legitimate RHFT patent was finally issued on 10-6-70, and so between September 1969 and October 1970.

The other important Type 3 marking is the first use of the single-line —V— mfr code on the RHFT. The double-line =V= never appears again on any RHFT, revealing that this change was a permanent transition. This also confirms that the new —V— code was in use as early as 1969.


TYPE 4: One of the more interesting of the RHFTs is the Type 4, which is characterized by the presence of four different US patent numbers 3172675, 3208318, 3467231 and 353201, as well as a model number. At first glance, these numbers might lead one to think this version was issued somewhat later in the RHFT timeline. But a careful assessment of the marking on both Types 3 and 4 uncovers its true vintage and meaning.

The last two numbers are legitimate RHFT US patents that referred specifically to that tool; 3467231 for the ratchet mechanism and 3532013 for the quick release. This is the first appearance of the 3532013 patent, which confirms the Type 4 was made after its 10-6-70 issue date.

So far, so good….but what’s the story on the first two patent numbers? This has always been puzzling since they were both issued back in 1965. Had they been originally intended to reference the RHFT, we would have seen them pompously displayed on the 1968-1969 Types 1 and 2 handles instead of the relatively lame “patent pending” mark. Anyone who has ever looked up the first patent 3172675 knows this has virtually nothing to do with the RHFT. The second number 3208318 is the previously mentioned 1965 Sears/Roberts quick release that was never intended to be associated with the RHFT—from its start, the RHFT was dependent solely on the 1968 Moore quick release. So why were these two numbers placed on the handle?

The only answer that fits all the facts is that these two 1965 numbers weren’t placed on the Type 4 because of any relevance to the RHFT, but because of the overly-optimistic AND OTHERS claim on the Type 3. At the time of the Type 4 production run, Easco (the new company name) had been issued only one more of the pending patents (3532013), giving it a total of just two. That comprised only a single added ‘other’ number, which did not add up to the plural OTHERS it had promised publicly on the previous Type 3. One can imagine how unhappy this would have made Sears management. So Sears and Easco had to dive into their patent repertoire to fish up a couple of patents that ‘sort-of, kind-of’ looked like they might have something remotely to do with the RHFT to take the place of the two still-pending Canadian patents that had not yet been issued, slapped them on the handle, and said, “See? There are the OTHERS we promised!” I call these two the imposters that masqueraded as the real thing for a handful of months until the first legitimate RHFT Canadian patent was finally issued in 1971. Once Easco had its bona fide OTHERS, the imposters were expunged from the record and quietly slipped back into the filing cabinet, never to be seen on the RHFT again.

Having finally uncovered the first two patent numbers as imposters, we can now reckon the date range for the Type 4 production based on the second genuine RHFT patent issued 10-6-70 (US3532013), but before the third genuine patent (Canadian) that would be issued 5-11-71, or between October 1970 and May 1971.

Type 4 is also the first RHFT to display a model number. This is important to the Craftsman timeline because it confirms the appearance of model numbers on the hand tools as early as 1970.


TYPE 5: The Type 5 is characterized by the removal of the two ‘imposters’ (since they were no longer needed as stand-ins) and replaced by the first Canadian-issued patent number along with its 1971 year of issue. Including the 1971 issue year on the handle is kind of unusual on a Craftsman hand tool. Perhaps it was added to fill out the second text line on the handle, or to possibly ‘refresh’ the image of the RHFT by proudly proclaiming a brand new date.

Canadian patent 870343 was issued 5-11-71, and so Type 5 production commenced after that date. However, the issuing of the second and final Canadian patent at the end of that same year was to make the Type 5 short-lived, giving it a production date-range between May 1971 and December 1971.


TYPE 6: The Type 6 is characterized by the change in the Type 5 Canadian patent markings from CAN.PAT.870343-1971 to CAN.PATENTED-1971, replacing one of the numbers with a word.

This brings us to the next RHFT puzzle—why would Easco remove a legitimate patent number when it was previously motivated to stuff every patent number it could on the handle? The answer here seems to have been dictated by necessity. The issue of the second Canadian patent (888494 for the quick release) on 12-21-71 now left Easco with four legitimate patent numbers to fit on the second text line of the handle, and so something had to go to make the needed room. It could not remove the “CAN.” because that is what delineated the US numbers from the Canadian ones. It could not justify removing any US numbers in favor of Canadian ones, not only because of their historical importance, but also because the US patents held the greater clout in the domestic marketplace than their less prestigious Canadian counterparts. The 1971 also appears to have been deemed too important to sacrifice, or perhaps its removal wouldn’t have provided the needed space anyway. Easco apparently decided that the best solution was to absorb both Canadian patents into the blanket-term PATENTED in place of the numbers.

Given that the second patent’s 12-21-71 issue date was at the start of the holidays, any subsequent production run would have had to wait until the new year, which gives us a starting date for Type 6 production no earlier than January 1972. Its end in March of 1981 would be brought about by a fifth and final RHFT patent.

During the latter part of the Type 6 period, the diameter of the plunger on the 1/2" and 3/8" was reduced, creating a “small plunger” variation. The internal mechanism and assembly differs slightly, but is still a 2-piece affair that functioned similarly. The reason for this change is uncertain. Todd F. from the Tool Talk forum confirmed it’s not required for the elusive QR extension bar. The QR means is the same and so provided no infringement protection from the Roberts patent lawsuit (at this time, Sears still had complete ownership of the patent anyway). They might have been addressing a service issue by thickening the stud metal or improving the mechanism’s reliability, or had simply found a less expensive means for producing it. A review of the artifacts and their markings suggests a date for the change around 1977-78, and ran until the end of the Type 6 in 1981.


TYPE 7: The Type 7 is the most challenging to place chronologically in the RHFT timeline. Its PATENT PENDING mark leads many to believe it was made prior to the issue of the first RHFT patents (even Alloy Artifacts assigns it such an early date). Yet the presence of a model number and the absence of the older =V= code makes this ‘early’ solution untenable. So, what patent application is being referred to as PENDING, since a final patent number never appears on any subsequent RHFT?

Fortunately, the tool itself provides the needed clue. The Type 7 is the first RHFT to have a “blind” stud with no plunger opening. All prior Types had a plunger that protruded from the stud end when the release button was pushed. It is this feature—what we’re calling the ‘2nd Generation’ quick release, or the QR2—that is the link to the actual patent in question.

An extensive search turned up an unassigned 'orphan' patent filed by Vincent Sardo Jr. on 3-6-81 and issued on 8-23-83 as patent 4399722. The abstract explains that the invention is an improvement specifically directed at the Haznar patents 3467231 and 3532013 (look familiar?). The Fig. 1 drawing shows a near-perfect rendering of the Craftsman RHFT ratchet with its shank design, head shape, thumbwheel, release button, selector knob, and even the geometry of the raised panel handle. There can be no doubt this patent is ‘hard-wired’ to the RHFT. This was the missing puzzle piece that finally allowed us to correctly identify the Type 7 and place within the RHFT timeline.

The need for this new patent was due to the ongoing lawsuit between Sears and Peter Roberts over his earlier 1965 patent 3208318 for the original quick release mechanism. We’ve mentioned this patent a couple of times for the role it would ultimately play in the RHFT history. Roberts entered into an agreement with Sears in 1965 assigning it all patent rights. He later filed suit in 1969 claiming Sears swindled him. The legal battle went on for two decades with the parties finally settling in 1989. A judge decided in May 1979 that Sears should return the patent rights to Roberts. To quote a comprehensive article on the case by the Washington Post, “Under court order, Sears later would reassign the patent to Roberts and introduce a quick-release wrench that, it said, differed significantly from his.”

Sears reassigned the patent back to Roberts on 2-17-81. This left it without a patent under which to continue manufacturing its QR ratchets without infringement. Sears would need to “introduce a quick-release wrench that….differed significantly from his.” This explains the new patent application only a couple of weeks later on 3-6-81 for an improved quick release mechanism and its associated PATENT PENDING mark on the Type 7. It also helps explain why the extending plunger in Roberts and Haznar was replaced with a blind stud having no extending plunger so that it "differed significantly" from Roberts.

Roberts’ design relied on a singly located QR groove cut into the plunger to receive the dropping detent ball. The plunger could not be allowed to turn because the groove would have rotated away from its vertical alignment with the detent ball opening. But the RHFT called for a rotating selector disk and release button in the same assembly so these had to be separate parts from the non-rotating Roberts plunger. This two-part device is what’s provided in the RHFT Haznar patent. 

Sardo’s improved QR patent provides for the plunger and release button to be made as a single piece that could be rotated together. This was accomplished by employing an orbital groove around the entire diameter of the plunger so that no matter how it was rotated, the groove would be in a position to receive the dropping detent ball. The new design was incorporated into the QR2 quick release found on the Type 7 and later RHFTs, as well as the teardrop ratchets. This improvement is the one depicted in Fig.2 of the Sardo patent application and indicated by the PATENT PENDING handle marking. Sardo has a thrown-together contrived feel—it’s essentially a ‘CYA’ cover-your-butt patent lacking any remarkably innovative features. It got the job done with an uninspiring but serviceable solution that was also different than Roberts and had no prior patent art.

4399722 also describes a “quick-release adaptor” that is essentially an extension bar with its own built-in QR mechanism. Sears sold this bar in its catalogs and stores for a short time back in 1972-74 under cover of Roberts’ patent. Having now lost that cover, Sears needed to protect itself for this past infringement, and so it included the bar in the 1981 Sardo CYA patent application. Since the original QR bar was activated by the Roberts protruding plunger, Sardo had to show its new QR ratchet with the same kind of plunger to make it look like the two were designed to work together so that the unusual act of patenting two devices at once appeared plausible on the surface. That the Type 7 QR was implemented with a blind stud incapable of working this bar that Sears never intended to produce again further illustrates Sardo’s contrived nature.

Todd F. from the Tool Talk forum disassembled and photographed the blind stud QR2, revealing a curious spring and second ball in place of the previous forward-protruding extension of Roberts' device. But the remainder of the one-piece orbital groove, plunger and release button component is identical to that depicted in Sardo’s Fig. 2 drawing.

The 3-6-81 application date and the 8-23-83 issue date of 4399722 finally enables us to correctly place the Type 7 in the RHFT timeline during this patent’s pending period from March 1981 to August 1983. It is the last Craftsman RHFT to carry a patent marking.


TYPE 8: The Type 8 is the first RHFT to have no patent markings, and the last to bear the —V— mfr code. It conforms to the same standard markings found on many other Craftsman raised panel wrenches: FORGED IN U.S.A. followed by the mfr code and the model number. Based on the citing of 1986 as the final year of the —V— code by Lauver and other sources, we can assign a date range for Type 8 production from the end of the Sardo patent’s pending period to the end of the —V— series, or from August 1983 to some time in 1986.

The Type 8 leaves us with one final RHFT mystery—what happened to the QR2’s 4399722 patent number? Why wasn’t the number stamped on the handle after its issue date like with all other previous RHFT patents? We should expect to see it prominently displayed after patiently waiting out the pending period. But starting with the Type 8, patent markings are never again shown on the handle.

The likely answer is in the 1981 reassignment of 3208318 to Roberts, which left Sears legally exposed were it to continue selling the RHFT. The sole purpose of the subsequent filing by Sears of the QR2 patent and its re-design of the mechanism was to legally protect itself from another infringement suit by Roberts. Fortunately for Sears, Roberts’ patent expired shortly thereafter on 9-28-82 during the pending period of QR2 4399722 patent. The patent expiration of the Roberts quick release passed it into the public domain where anyone could reproduce it without fear of infringement. Since Sears no longer needed the protection afforded by 4399722 at the time it was issued on 8-23-83, there was no longer any need to stamp the patent number on the handle. Considering the years of legal entanglement over this case, we can imagine it seemed best to just let the whole affair pass into history.


TYPE 9: Type 9 represents the post-V period. They are essentially the same as Type 8 except they now have a 2-letter mfr code beginning with V and ending with another letter. These are typically VE, VF, VG, VH or VJ.  The date range begins when the single-V ends in 1986 and continues until early 1995.


TYPE 10: Type 10 is the last of the RHFT ratchets, characterized by the removal of the “FORGED IN” markings from the handle, leaving only the “USA” mark (the mfr code and the model number are still there). The double-lines are also removed from both sides of the handle leaving a no-line logo. These can have a variety of mfr codes. The date range for Type 10 is 1995 until the very end of the RHFT series. The last catalog appearance for the RHFT was in 2008, and was still available online at least through 2009. To find the manufacturer and dates for the various Type 10 codes, refer to Gary Lauver’s excellent Craftsman Hand Tool Manufacturers & Date Ranges study at https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/...ad.php?t=84807
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 03:38:03 PM by DadsTools »

Offline Papaw

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2020, 03:41:09 PM »
A very extensive study !

Welcome to Tool Talk !
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Offline p_toad

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2020, 09:25:07 PM »
wow....just wow.   thanks - may take a while to absorb some of that.   :tongue:

Offline Jim C.

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2020, 09:48:31 PM »
Looking good Dad and many thanks for the kudos!!  Like I’ve written throughout the course of the TD Type Study, I’m always open to incorporating better/more accurate information into the TD study.  If you believe any of your RHFT info can be applied to the TD study, I’m listening.  My goal has always been to make the TD study as accurate as possible, and making those changes is easy enough.  The biggest issue I had was fine tuning the dates of manufacture/availability. I cited the sources of information I used, but in some instances, I relied on memory, experience using/seeing the ratchets back in the day, and conversations with a couple hard core Craftsman collectors.  Consequently, when I listed the dates, I was sure to add “(+ / -)” hopefully informing the reader that the dates are approximate.  Anyway, great job on the RHFT type study, and welcome aboard!

Jim C.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 07:43:28 AM by Jim C. »
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Offline mikeswrenches

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 05:44:12 AM »
Very nicely done!! And welcome to Tool Talk. Looks like you’re going to fit right in.

Mike
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Offline lptools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2020, 07:20:53 AM »
Hello, DadsTools. Welcome to Tool Talk, and thanks for sharing the Type Study!! Regards, Lou
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Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2020, 11:23:28 AM »
Looking good Dad and many thanks for the kudos!!  Like I’ve written throughout the course of the TD Type Study, I’m always open to incorporating better/more accurate information into the TD study.  If you believe any of your RHFT info can be applied to the TD study, I’m listening.  My goal has always been to make the TD study as accurate as possible, and making those changes is easy enough.  The biggest issue I had was fine tuning the dates of manufacture/availability. I cited the sources of information I used, but in some instances, I relied on memory, experience using/seeing the ratchets back in the day, and conversations with a couple hard core Craftsman collectors.  Consequently, when I listed the dates, I was sure to add “(+ / -)” hopefully informing the reader that the dates are approximate.  Anyway, great job on the RHFT type study, and welcome aboard!

Jim C.

Thanks, Jim. There may be a few details in the RHFT study that could apply to your TD study. I had the benefit of having so much patent info on the handles that referring to the catalogs was not even necessary. Referencing the government patents instead made some of the study data the most accurate possible. The patents give us the most precise dating on certain features like when =v= changed to -v-, pointed-A to flat-A and the first use of model numbers on the tool. It also sheds light on the -v- vs. -vv- issue (which the RHFT proves it's not necessarily a sequential matter). These might be referenced to tweak any of your own findings if needed.

The APPROACH section may provide some alternative ideas. This can be a sensitive topic since it involves personal perspective, style and intent. Everyone is different and all have their own style. One major difference came from my experience as a collectible book author, the influence of which was to keep me always focused on the reader, in this case, what approach would best serve the reader's purpose, or presenting it in the most practical way for readers to use. The reader--or Study user--is king. One could just cut out my little list/chart and use that to quickly identify and date without ever having to read the little essays, the purpose for which were to provide the background and the evidence for the chart in a separate place. I further divided it into the APPROACH and SUMMARY sections to distinguish general information from specific Type information, again with the reader in mind. My decisions as to what were Types and what were just variations were also guided by what I thought would be most practical for the reader's use.

Your remarkable study was guided more from a historian's perspective, which is a different, more detail-oriented perspective where artifact, identity, details and dating merge into a single narrative, more like a history than a reference. It too is a valid approach, and can address details in a way a generalized reference might not. Perhaps something in this overview might be useful too.   
« Last Edit: June 06, 2020, 02:15:53 PM by DadsTools »

Offline Todd F.

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2020, 08:29:52 PM »
DadsTools.  Congratulations on a truly excellent study. I was thinking of doing one myself but now there is no need.  My wife thanks you. Your method of using patents instead catalogs is genius.  I am that guy you talked about in your study that separates every little variance into a separate category. I have the “no-line” and “double-line” logos separated as well as the “single-space” and “double-space” fonts in the word “Patent Pending” on the 1/4-inch type 1 and 2. It’s ironic then that I never noticed the existence of the type 5. Every thing with “1971” went into one pile. Not to worry, I had some in my “spares” drawer and have some coming from eBay. Now I just need to make more space in the display drawer.

I have some information on the “quick-release adaptor” in the 4399722 patent. I actually have two of them. I’ll post some pictures when I dig them up.

Great Study. Welcome to Tool Talk.
Todd F.
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Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2020, 12:02:51 AM »
DadsTools.  Congratulations on a truly excellent study. I was thinking of doing one myself but now there is no need.  My wife thanks you. Your method of using patents instead catalogs is genius.  I am that guy you talked about in your study that separates every little variance into a separate category. I have the “no-line” and “double-line” logos separated as well as the “single-space” and “double-space” fonts in the word “Patent Pending” on the 1/4-inch type 1 and 2. It’s ironic then that I never noticed the existence of the type 5. Every thing with “1971” went into one pile. Not to worry, I had some in my “spares” drawer and have some coming from eBay. Now I just need to make more space in the display drawer.

I have some information on the “quick-release adaptor” in the 4399722 patent. I actually have two of them. I’ll post some pictures when I dig them up.

Great Study. Welcome to Tool Talk.
Todd F.

Thank you so much for your kind words, as well as your wife's gratitude!

I certainly did not want to give the impression that discounting certain details while elevating others was preferable in some way. The pastime of collecting can be as broad or granular as is satisfying and pleasing to the individual. My intent for the Study was not to suggest how one should collect the RHFT series, but only as a practical reference for those who do collect them so they might better understand what they have and where it belongs in the RHFT timeline. All the speculation and unanswered questions I found during my preliminary research through various forums convinced me that such a study on the RHFT was needed by the community, and believed I might be capable of making that contribution. It may surprise some that I myself am not a collector of Craftsman tools, but that didn't make the work any less exciting or rewarding--being an 'outsider' of sorts may have even afforded me a fresh perspective. Relying solely on the patents allowed me to pull a few new rabbits out of the hat. I am grateful it is being received well.

I was not aware of a distinction between a single- or double-spaced PATENT PENDING on the Types 1 and 2. This is a perfect example of why I chose the approach of classifying such features as variations when they had no direct effect on identifying its type or chronology. That the variation exists on both Types suggests there is no "one stops and the other starts" sequence, and so to try establishing another Type for this would have bogged things down chasing after a detail that might have no chronological order and ultimately no influence on the proper identification and timeline placement of Types 1 and 2. It's one of those judgement calls I wrote about. That this new-to-me finding does not disturb the Type Study timeline tends to validates my approach--I wanted to have a main framework where each new finding could be added just as a variation without requiring a re-write of the Type List. A serious collector will of course want to consider each variation separately, as they should--the only distinction is in the criteria of a Study as to what determines a full-fledged Type as opposed to a lessor variation within a Type.

I would very much like to see whatever additional information you might have on the adapter described in 4399722. The patent has a sort of 'contrived' feel to it--it is highly unusual to describe two inventions in a single patent, in this case the adapter and the new ratchet quick release. It also seems a bit disingenuous that the title and drawings seems to paint the adapter as the main object with the quick release almost an afterthought, whereas the abstract states substantially the opposite. The Roberts/Sears lawsuit pretty much establishes that the main purpose for the patent was for the quick release, so its unclear why the adapter was lumped together with it. I did read a single post somewhere in one of the related GJ threads where a member makes reference to a couple of unusual extensions he bought back in the 70s but was discontinued after only a couple of years because of issues with it. Perhaps this is the same 'adapter'. In any event, it's uncertain whether such an extension could even be justifiably included in a ratchet study.

BTW, great collection!!!

Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2020, 03:12:20 PM »
DadsTools.  Congratulations on a truly excellent study. I was thinking of doing one myself but now there is no need.  My wife thanks you. Your method of using patents instead catalogs is genius.  I am that guy you talked about in your study that separates every little variance into a separate category. I have the “no-line” and “double-line” logos separated as well as the “single-space” and “double-space” fonts in the word “Patent Pending” on the 1/4-inch type 1 and 2. It’s ironic then that I never noticed the existence of the type 5. Every thing with “1971” went into one pile. Not to worry, I had some in my “spares” drawer and have some coming from eBay. Now I just need to make more space in the display drawer.

I have some information on the “quick-release adaptor” in the 4399722 patent. I actually have two of them. I’ll post some pictures when I dig them up.

Great Study. Welcome to Tool Talk.
Todd F.

Todd, I was wondering if the 1/4" drive in Types 1 and 2 were the only ones you've seen with the singe- and double-spaced variations? It appears in your excellent photo that all the lettering on the single-spaced version were compressed--even the V is narrower. I wonder if there's a difference in the length of the grip or the panel? Perhaps it was shortened some and needed to have the markings compressed for the lesser available space?

If anyone else has this variation or another not on the Type Study List, please show 'em!

Offline Todd F.

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2020, 06:09:07 PM »
DadsTools, I found that particular variation only in the 1/4" drive types 1 and 2. I’ve posted a picture below of my type 1 and 2 RHFT ratchets in all three sizes. The 1/2” and 3/8” have the same basic geometry as the single spaced 1/4".

The biggest variance, not mentioned in your study, is the change that takes place in the type 7. The phrase “PATENT PENDING” is moved to the left and the font of the part number more than doubles in size. In Jim’s study of the Teardrop ratchet, these are referenced as the type 11 and 12. While this change is visually significant, substance wise, it’s inconsequential. But…after collecting and handling these wrenches, the small font ratchets collectively seem older than the large font ones. The depth of the stamp seems deeper and the surface of the metal curves down into the stamped letters. The large font appears to have been made with a slightly different process making the stamp more flush with the surrounding surface. Was there a change in the process where one stopped and the other started? I have no idea. It’s just a gut feeling on my part and in the grand scheme of things makes no difference.

 I will address the “quick-release adaptor” in a separate thread as not to de-rail the ratchet study. Though I’m still puzzled about the roll played by the 4399722 patent. The patent clearly shows the plunger protruding from the front side of the square stud. In fact, the “quick-release adaptor” requires it to function. Yet after the issuance of the patent, all Craftsman ratchets are missing the protruding plunger. 

Keep up the good work. I have a feeling that your RHFT study will be the “go-to” reference for years to come.
Todd F.
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Offline DadsTools

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2020, 09:00:33 PM »
DadsTools, I found that particular variation only in the 1/4" drive types 1 and 2. I’ve posted a picture below of my type 1 and 2 RHFT ratchets in all three sizes. The 1/2” and 3/8” have the same basic geometry as the single spaced 1/4".

The biggest variance, not mentioned in your study, is the change that takes place in the type 7. The phrase “PATENT PENDING” is moved to the left and the font of the part number more than doubles in size. In Jim’s study of the Teardrop ratchet, these are referenced as the type 11 and 12. While this change is visually significant, substance wise, it’s inconsequential. But…after collecting and handling these wrenches, the small font ratchets collectively seem older than the large font ones. The depth of the stamp seems deeper and the surface of the metal curves down into the stamped letters. The large font appears to have been made with a slightly different process making the stamp more flush with the surrounding surface. Was there a change in the process where one stopped and the other started? I have no idea. It’s just a gut feeling on my part and in the grand scheme of things makes no difference.

 I will address the “quick-release adaptor” in a separate thread as not to de-rail the ratchet study. Though I’m still puzzled about the roll played by the 4399722 patent. The patent clearly shows the plunger protruding from the front side of the square stud. In fact, the “quick-release adaptor” requires it to function. Yet after the issuance of the patent, all Craftsman ratchets are missing the protruding plunger. 

Keep up the good work. I have a feeling that your RHFT study will be the “go-to” reference for years to come.
Todd F.

Thanks for the info. If I'm following you correctly, then the distinction in Jim C.' Types 11 and 12 are also observed in the RHFT Type 7?

I honestly had not taken note of the details in every type in Jim's Study (my bad). Looks like we can now affix a more precise dating for Jim on these TD Types 11 and 12 because the pending marks must refer to 4399722. There's no way around this, as the TD QR was always tied to Roberts 'lawsuit' patent. Jim also observed that the pending mark is also associated with the introduction of the "blind" stud. Similarly, once the Roberts patent expired, the patent number was never stamped in the TD Type 13. I think we've helped tweaked the dating for Jim here.

I would also tend to agree that the "large" font is later than the "small" font in this variation, but on different grounds independent of physical examination in hand. For many years, the standard format for the raised panel wrench markings had been FORGED IN USA followed by the mfr code then followed by the model number. The RHFT had never really followed that convention because of its unique patent markings. We know that Sears was anxious to put that pending mark on the RHFT asap to cover its legal liability, and simply followed the marking style precedent established on earlier RHFTs. However, based on the large font variant, it appears that Sears finally decided to make the RHFT panel markings conform to its other panel wrenches. So it moved the FORGED IN USA with the PATENT PENDING all the way to the left, followed by the code, followed by the model, essentially bringing in line with the rest of the raised panel tools. When the Type 8 was introduced, Sears merely dropped the pending mark to make the style conform to the rest of its lines. That would be my assessment based on a 'forest' as opposed to a 'trees' view.

I agree with you that the change is substantively inconsequential. The Type 7 is defined by the 'lawsuit' pending patent and the blind stud that "differed significantly" from the Roberts quick release. It's like the 1960 Lincoln Cent when the Mint changed the die from a small date to a larger format date, creating an important variety, but both are still 1960 pennies, both have the same design, format and alloy. To try 'typing' the small and large fonts leads down a slippery slope of determining when one ends and the other begins, plus having to add another Type to the list, neither of these efforts substantially altering the fundamental meaning of the Type 7 (if you catch my drift). My feelings are that from a practical and functional perspective, both are minor variations within the same Type. Another one of those judgement calls.

Do we have any photos of the RHFT with this variation on them? I'd like to add this variation in the Type Study footnotes.

I agree it seems odd that Roberts' protruding plunger is still depicted in 4399722, yet the production patent pending stud has none. Here's what I think went on. As I mentioned before, 4399722 has such a contrived look and feel to it, plus the odd feature of having two different inventions claimed, the 'adapter' QR extension bar and the 'improved' QR ratchet. It was clearly a 'cover-your-butt' patent. Your report of having a couple of these odd extensions shows they were produced. I bet Sears produced it under the cover of Roberts original 1965 patent. When Sears was forced to assign the patent back to Roberts, they were left exposed on the QR extension too, so they stuffed both adapter and ratchet into the CYA 4399722. Here's the thing though--in order for both devices to have any rational relationship, they would have to work together some way. An examination of the patent shows that the protruding plunger in 4399722 was necessary to activate the QR means in the adapter. So, while both were depicted and claimed this way, the real objective was not to manufacture the adapter and the ratchet QR together, but only to get the adapter and the new QR covered by this new patent as protection for both against Roberts. The main claim for the new ratchet QR was a one-piece plunger/release button as opposed to Roberts' two-piece. This new design allowed them to make a "blind" stud that "differed significantly" from Roberts. They never had any intent to make the adapter with it--the adapter was included as a CYA for past infringement. One of the more contrived, insincere (i.e., slimy) patents I've seen.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 09:25:33 PM by DadsTools »

Offline Todd F.

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Re: CRAFTSMAN RHFT RATCHET TYPE STUDY 1968-2009
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2020, 09:33:09 PM »
Do we have any photos of the RHFT with this variation on them? I'd like to add this variation in the Type Study footnotes.

The second picture in the above post shows both versions of the type7.
Todd F.
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