Author Topic: Unique Craftsman Ratchet Extension  (Read 1181 times)

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Offline Todd F.

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Unique Craftsman Ratchet Extension
« on: June 23, 2020, 04:42:53 PM »
I am the owner of two ordinary looking ratchet extensions that I’ll bet you’ve never seen. One is a 1/2-inch drive and the other is 3/8-inch. Both are three inches in length. What makes these two extensions so unique is the fact that they take the quick release feature of the Craftsman ratchet and transfer that action through to the end of the extension. In other words, when you press the Quick Release button on the ratchet, the socket is released from the end of the extension. I have searched every Craftsman catalog I could find (I own over 70) and these extensions don’t appear anywhere.  I’ve never come across anyone that’s even heard of them. 

Now I didn’t acquire these through any type of super collecting skill. But rather the opposite. I simply walked into my Sears retail store in 1975, grabbed them off the shelf and bought them. They have been in my toolbox ever since.  It was only a few years ago that I discovered that they were extremely rare. They may be as rare as the elusive type 4 teardrop ratchet found in the Jim C. “teardrop ratchet study”.

Upon discovering the rarity of these extensions, I conducted an exhaustive search of the Sears catalogs and came up with nothing. The extensions I have utilize the protruding plunger on the stud end of the Craftsman Teardrop and RHFT ratchets to advance a small rod running through the hollow extension to activate a plunger within the extension itself to release the socket from the end.  Pressing the quick-release, as you normally would, would cause the extension to release from the ratchet, but, my extensions came with a black plastic collar that rested against the shoulder at the back end of the extension and you gripped the extension between you index and middle fingers and pressed the release button with your thumb. Like you would hold a syringe. Those plastic collars have cracked and been lost years ago. I still use them by placing my fingers on the shoulder. The collar just made it a little easier.  They work with both the large and small diameter plungers found on the quick-release Craftsman RHFT and teardrop ratchets made until 1984. That’s when the protruding plunger went away. 

These disassemble in about two seconds. With the retaining ball facing up, just use a punch or small screwdriver and press the plunger in about two or three times as far as the ratchet can push it. Gravity will cause the ball to fall into a detent in the plunger and everything slides out the back. It goes back together just as easily.

There is a tragic footnote to this story. When I bought these extensions, I purchased the two 3-inch extensions and two 6-inch extensions. (3/8 and 1/2 inch) About ten years ago I lived in an extremely humid area of the country.  Fighting rust was a constant battle. While preparing to move away from there, I was trying to reduce the weight of my household goods by getting rid of heavy stuff. I ran across the two badly rusted, 6-inch extensions. Having no idea of their rarity, and thinking I could still walk into Sears and buy some more just like them…..I tossed them in the recycle bin. I don’t even have a record of the part numbers. I kick myself every time I think about it.   

Part Number of the 1/2” X 3” is 43535
Part Number of the 3/8” X 3” is 43533

If anybody reading this knows anything about these unique extensions, please comment.
Thanks for reading.
Todd F.

« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 05:40:17 PM by Todd F. »
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession

Offline mikeswrenches

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Re: Unique Craftsman Ratchet Extension
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2020, 08:01:38 PM »
Todd, It’s interesting that you posted this today, for it was just a couple days ago that I was reading a thread on another forum about the evolution of Craftsman's quick release ratchet.

That is when I first learned about this particular design and its rarity. My real problem is I can’t remember where I saw it because I wanted to post a link.

You did get me interested enough to see how many QR rat patents I could find. It didn’t take long to find 11 more. That means there are probably more out there.

Nice work!

Mike
Check out my ETSY store at: OldeTymeTools

Offline Yadda

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Re: Unique Craftsman Ratchet Extension
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 06:55:28 AM »
I tried looking up the part numbers.  My limited Google fu found a reference in a 1973 Sears catalog.  I wasn't able to view it, but you might start there.
You might say I have a tool collecting problem....

Offline Todd F.

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Re: Unique Craftsman Ratchet Extension
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2020, 01:40:49 PM »
Yadda
I have revisited my 1972-73 and 1973-74 Craftsman catalogs. They both have pages that mention the quick-release ratchets and the extension bars but not quick-release, extension bars. Also in the extension bar listing are 43532 and 43531 that are very close the part numbers on my extensions, but they are regular 1/4-inch extensions. You know Craftsman, their part numbers are often a scatter-shot of numbers.  Craftsman also likes to recycle part numbers too. My extension part number, 43535, shows up as a 5/8-inch socket when searched sometimes. 
Todd F.
remember - there's a fine line between collection and obsession