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Old tool brands


lotsaIHCs

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In the thread about mergers, someone brought up SK tools. I didn't want to hijack the thread with a tool theme so I started a new one. I was think about all of the old tool names that have been merged, discontinued, cheapened or are now made in the land of not quite right. Thorsen comes to mind. They used to be great tools, but now it's just a name on cookie cutter overseas tools. Craftsman tools from the 60s and early 70s were good. From the late 70s to the late 80s, they were still good but were showing signs of being cheapened up. Barcalo, Crescent, Plomb, Diamond and even Buffalo were all, at one time really good tools but either are no longer made or have been merged into other companies that made them crap. I'm sure there are a lot of other old brands that are gone or are china junk now.

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Crescent was at one time made in Jamestown, NY. Imagine that.

There was another tool company that made boilermaking tools in Oswego, NY called Oswego Tool Company, but they were gone much earlier.

Walworth Tools of Massachusetts manufactured the first patented Stillson wrench and continued to do so long after the patent's expiration, along with other plumbing tools.

Wright seems to be among the least changed in the past few decades. Sometime in the last decade or two, they were bought, by an employee.

Snap-on I suppose could go in that "unchanged" category. They own divisions with engineering and/or manufacturing in whole it in part overseas (Hoffman, John Bean, Sioux, for example). They went public in 1978.

I'm starting to take more of an interest in contract manufacturing for house brands. For example, I believe Wright manufactured IH hand tools. I'm personally very interested in Oswego Tool Company (close to home), and I know they contract manufactured for at least one five and ten chain. There are a couple of other "brands" that I think they had a hand in, though I have nothing but circumstantial evidence to support my suspicions.

Old hand tools. Now you're piquing my interest at eleven!

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OVB or “Our Very Best” comes to mind. They were a hardware chain that had their own re-branded tools. Montgomery Ward and Sears did the same thing with re-branded tools.
 

Herbrand, Utica, Diamond Edge, Simmons, Heller, Keen Kutter, Allen, New Britain, Champion, Evansville Tool Works (ETW marked).  I won’t even start on Anvil and Vise companies that have disappeared.  
 

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Bonney was a favorite, or maybe just easy to get at a good price, of my Dad. I still have several of the old 40s era Bonney wrenches he had, along with the next generations of Bonney tools that we used. I still like Bonney wrenches and have accumulated several including some that are in my service truck.

Like a lot of companies ownership and place of manufacture had changed. I think the last place Bonney tools were made was Utica. At one time John Deere wrenches were made by Bonney. I have some real nice 12 point open ring line wrenches with both John Deere and Bonney logos. Other than the inscriptions the wrenches are exactly the same. Very nicely finished tools.

NAPA used to carry New Britain tools, not sure who made them, nor do I care. They were okay tools, held up to our on farm abuse, I still have several in my boxes at home.

I also have quite a lot of old S-K stuff. 

One thing I have learned about all tools. None of them germinate.

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50 minutes ago, MTB98 said:

Williams is still around and sells both USA made and import tools. They’re owned by Snap-On. 
https://www.williams-industrial.com/us_en/

I had an old 3/4" Snap On socket replaced and got a Williams branded socket. Every bit as good as the Snap On.

Williams and Wright are brands that I will snatch up at an auction or flea market if it's something I could use.   

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Armstrong tools are good. Might be related to Williams. Lots of information on old tools at a online place called Alloy Artifacts. I have some Hinsdale tools from the teens or 20's. Some of that early stuff is a little light for the job or weaker than the later alloy steel tools. All the long gone US stuff is good for the most part, particularly the industrial grade.

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....I have  an  inch drive  PLUMB socket set....almost complete, including ratchet...still in original  steel container......that my Dad brought in the late 30's  ,,,  I guess brought when he purchased  the TD40   and winch, all brand new....

Incidentally  ...that TD40 is still very much alive.....winch long gone.....I  had negotiated  with the second owners  son, to purchase this old TD...for obvious reasons.......but at the 11th hour after months of going back and forth....it was ''Sorry....but no...''....This on the basis that my Dad sold that TD   ......shortly after the outbreak of WW2......sold to this blokes Father ,who, because of a serious motor bike'  'accident'    was deemed unfit for War service...but he could still , with  difficulty   , claw his way onto the TD...

He was a neat old bloke ...a bit eccentric...and he suffered  considerable  pain with one  ''bad' leg.....and with his passing ..the family wanted to keep the old TD40...after all,at that point  he /they had owned that machine for nearly fifty years...my Dad had it for maybe three....nearly four years....Anyway  that was it !!!

More  trivia....at some point prior to WW2, Internation Harvester   ''crew'' visited NZ  and among others, Dad    and the TD 40 were filmed , logging  in a typical steep valley as found in our area here in the South Island........using, as was customary at the time...the creek bed for a ''haul road ''.....Around that time, the TD 40 was rolled ...and literally broke in half  around the big cast housing between   Clutch and Gear box....Dad survived....and a crew from Christchurch ,250 miles away...came up and after stripping the tractor down, they Bronzed    up that housing ...and the TD was in business again...One can clearly see the bronze ...beautifully laid  around that casting....

Anyone who has done logging via the winch, will know the old trick of jamming the tractor behind a stump.....to do a hard drag...thats how the tractor got smashed up...and I wrote Guy Fay (??)  re the film in the archives etc..but he implied there was so much  stuff there, that was ''undocumented''.  .that it would be too hard to find....

Mike

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....yeah..I realise this is a ''tool'   thread...but ...trust me  having used many small IH track machines  in past years.....

...American tools    and IH  Crawlers are   made for each other.....(and I wouldn't of had it any other way....:)  )

...Dad and his TD 40    circa late 30's

Mike

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Herbrand. which may have been made by Bonney? I haven't seen either for sale up here in 30 plus years. I have a Herbrand combo set

 I have an Allis Chalmers flare wrench set up to 3/4" in the pouch ( made by Bonney). I have never seen another

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5 hours ago, Maynard said:

Bonney was a favorite, or maybe just easy to get at a good price, of my Dad. I still have several of the old 40s era Bonney wrenches he had, along with the next generations of Bonney tools that we used. I still like Bonney wrenches and have accumulated several including some that are in my service truck.

Like a lot of companies ownership and place of manufacture had changed. I think the last place Bonney tools were made was Utica. At one time John Deere wrenches were made by Bonney. I have some real nice 12 point open ring line wrenches with both John Deere and Bonney logos. Other than the inscriptions the wrenches are exactly the same. Very nicely finished tools.

NAPA used to carry New Britain tools, not sure who made them, nor do I care. They were okay tools, held up to our on farm abuse, I still have several in my boxes at home.

I also have quite a lot of old S-K stuff. 

One thing I have learned about all tools. None of them germinate.

FIL has Bonney wrenches, i agree, they were top notch, at one point GE had them, it is very common to find them where retired GE employees lived. Apparently there were bins of each size and one often fell into a pocket or lunch box, Johnny Cash style. I have been buying some steel box sets of Klein sockets on ebay, I find them easy to carry, and keep together and they stack nicely in box compartments on my truck. You do end up with a lot of ratchets that way.. 

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Just now, hillman said:

Herbrand. which may have been made by Bonney? I haven't seen either for sale up here in 30 plus years. I have a Herbrand combo set

 I have an Allis Chalmers flare wrench set up to 3/4" in the pouch ( made by Bonney). I have never seen another

One of Dads old socket sets was    ''Herbrand'.   .it had   "Made in Germany "" on the pale blue colour original box ....1/2  inch drive...It was of very good quality ..

Mike

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Mike did a similar fate happen to a T20?

I agree those old blokes were excellent craftsmen, lots would scoff at brazing but it can be an excellent choice for repair 

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True Value had Master mechanic and Montgomery Ward had Power Kraft ( not sure on spelling, but I have one of their adjustable wrenches). They were of good quality. Mayne not professional tools like  snap on but good solid tools.  JC penny had their own brand too but I don't remember what it was. I really like the design of these old Barcalo wrenches. The offset was built in, not just a bend in the shank of the wrench. It let you use them on recessed bolts. 

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20 minutes ago, lotsaIHCs said:

True Value had Master mechanic and Montgomery Ward had Power Kraft ( not sure on spelling, but I have one of their adjustable wrenches). They were of good quality. Mayne not professional tools like  snap on but good solid tools.  JC penny had their own brand too but I don't remember what it was. I really like the design of these old Barcalo wrenches. The offset was built in, not just a bend in the shank of the wrench. It let you use them on recessed bolts. 

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my TrueValue store had a metric set hanging on the wall in a roll, I bought it, it had a mixture, some were old USA tools others were china or similar, I think as he sold individual wrenches he replaced them as he went. must've made the switch to china at some point. the roll had clear plastic it was brittle and broke, it got tossed. 

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Dad had a Plumb 1/2 socket set complete in the original steel box. Ever so often I get desperate and use one because they are very thin walled and are the only socket I have that will fit. I found an early Proto 3/4 drive ratchet that is the same pattern as the Plumb, but the Proto is the name cast in the handle.

I have tried my best to break Craftsman end wrench's and never have. Down inside my old D6's no room for a ratchet and all the old Cat mechanics I learned from used the box end in the open end to double wrench those cap screws out. About as good a way break open box combination wrench as there is.

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Dad bought a new  bluegrass 3/4 drive set from a friend who was a regional salesman for belknap hardware. Several sockets had thorsen stamped on them but we're identical in every other way.

A neighbor had a set of pencraft (sp?) Tools from JCPenney back in the 70s? Very good American tools. Obviously a play on Penneys and craftsman.

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16 hours ago, acem said:

Diamond tools. Mostly adjustable wrenches, pliers and horseshoe related stuff.

Bluegrass.

Plomb became proto due to copyright issues with plumb.

Challenger tools.

Diamond tools were made in my home town Duluth Mn. Iknow a lot of the people that worked there. They got bought out and moved to SC.

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When we purchased the "fuel shop" back in March, we got all the hand tools from each work station (5) stations. A lot of the hand tools are old names like Bonney, Wright, Williams, Proto and a bunch of older Snapon stuff too. 

 

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