Alloy Artifacts  

The Proto Empire


Table of Contents

Introduction

This page will look at the development of Proto Tools from 1950 onward, together with the affiliated companies and brands that made up the Proto empire.

Company History

The early history of the Plomb Tool Company leading up to the creation of the Proto brand has been covered in our article on Plomb Tool. In this article we'll focus on events from 1950 onward relating to the development of the Proto brand and the affiliated companies.


Patents

Proto Tools: Issued and Licensed Patents
Patent No.InventorFiledIssuedNotes and Examples
2,600,512 H.A. Mead12/27/194806/17/1952 Adjustable Compound-Action Pliers
Proto 234 Pliers
2,810,313 R.W. Hermanson06/18/195410/22/1957 Open-End Ratchet Wrench
2,811,068 B. Pepperdine02/21/195610/29/1957Parallel-Jaw Plier-Wrench
2,868,049 C.A. Radcliffe11/16/195601/13/1959Wire Stripper
2,905,037 C.W. Coslow09/09/195709/22/1959 Lockable Adjustable Wrench ["Clik-Stop"]

Trademarks

The Proto trademark was registered by Plomb Tool, with the first use date listed as January 23, 1948.

In 1947 the Penens Corporation filed a trademark application for "Fleet Quality Tools" enclosed by a wing-like design, with the first use date listed as August 29, 1947. The trademark was issued as #519,190 on December 27, 1949. In the filing the company listed its address as 2047 South Santa Fe Avenue in Los Angeles, with Albert R. Said as company president.

Penens later registered "Socketeer" as a trademark.

Pendleton Tool Industries registered the "Clik-Stop" trademark with the first use in 1957, and the "Bet'R-Grip" trademark with first use in 1962. (Note though that "Bet'R-Grip" had been used by J.P. Danielson in the 1930s, and that the later trademark was for a different class of tools.)

Pendleton Tool Industries: Registered Trademarks
Text Mark or Logo Reg. No. First Use Date Filed Date Issued Notes
Fleet Quality Tools [logo] 519,190 08/29/1947 11/08/1947 12/27/1949 For wrenches, reversible ratchets, extensions, etc.
Filed by Penens Corporation.
Serial 540,567. Published September 20,1949.
Socketeer 608,272 06/07/1954 07/23/1954 07/05/1955 Filed by Penens Corporation.
Clik-Stop 670,555 12/30/1957 03/10/1958 12/02/1958 For adjustable wrenches.
Power-Track 716,446 07/29/1960 09/06/1960 06/06/1961 For pliers.
Bet'R-Grip 752,917 08/23/196208/30/1962 07/16/1963 For screwdrivers and wrenches.
Fleet 787,776 08/01/194704/28/1964 04/06/1965 For wrenches, socket wrenches, punches, chisels, pliers, other tools.
Filed by Fleet Tool Corporation.
Serial 192,168. Published January 19, 1965.
Dyna-Ring 811,683 06/01/196409/22/1965 07/26/1966 For sockets.
Fleet 951,110 01/01/196406/01/1971 01/23/1973 For tool boxes.
Filed by Pendleton Tool Industries.
Serial 393,692. Published November 7, 1972.

Tool Identification

The tool production for Proto and the affiliated brands is generally easy to identify, as the pieces will be stamped with one of the standard brand names.


Manufacturing Dates

Manufacturing dates are generally difficult to determine for Proto and the related brands, as no general date code system is known. However, production by the J.P. Danielson division, which included adjustable wrenches, pipe wrenches, pliers, and some economy-grade tools, does appear to have been marked with a forged-in date code. See our article on the J.P. Danielson Company for more information on their date-code system.

The following list of observations may help estimate a manufacturing date for some tools.


References and Resources

Photographs and observations of particular tools are based on items in the Alloy Artifacts collection.

Our article on the Plomb Tool Company has extensive coverage of the predecessor to the Proto brand. Additional information is also available for P&C Tools.


Catalog Resources

Product information was obtained from catalogs covering the Proto, Penens, Challenger, and P & C brands, as summarized in the table below.

Catalog Year Notes
    Proto No. 4922M (1949):
Proto No. 4922M 1949 Copyright 1949 Plomb Tool Company.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
    Proto No. 5023M (1950):
Proto No. 5023M 1950  
    Challenger No. C533 (1951):
Challenger No. C533 1951 Penens Corporation in Schiller Park, Illinois.
Adjustable wrenches with plain hanging hole.
    Proto No. 5225 (1952):
Proto No. 5225 1952 Copyright 1952 Plomb Tool Company.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
    P&C No. 5300 (1953):
P&C No. 5300 1953 Round-shank box wrench 22xx series still listed.
Tongue-and-groove pliers available.
    Proto No. 5428M (1954):
Proto No. 5428M 1954 Copyright 1954 Plomb Tool Company.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.
    Challenger No. 5550 (1955):
Challenger No. 5550 1955 Penens Corporation in Schiller Park, Illinois.
Adjustable wrenches with plain hanging hole.
    Proto No. 6120 (1961):
Proto No. 6120 1961  
    P&C No. 61120 (1961):
P&C No. 61200 1961 Subsidiary of Pendleton Tool Industries.
Shows registered trademark symbol on tools.
    Proto No. 62120 (1962):
Proto No. 62120 1962  
    Challenger No. CH-64-301 (1964):
Challenger No. CH-64-301 1964 Challenger Tool Company in Cleveland, Ohio
    Proto No. PR67120 (1967):
Proto No. PR67120-A 1967 No copyright, dated 3-67 on back cover.
Proto Tool Company division of Pendleton Tool Industries.
Available for Download [External Link] from ITCL.

Proto Tools

In this section we'll look at some examples of Proto tools. Proto tools were initially identical to the Plomb models except for the markings, with the Plomb name replaced by "Proto Los Angeles". In the following decades the designs and styles of existing models have evolved somewhat, and newer tools have been added to the product line as well.

Since the Plomb tool models have been well documented, we'll concentrate on some of the newer or different Proto tools here.


Open-End Wrenches


Proto "Los Angeles" 3018 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench

[Proto 3018 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 1. Proto 3018 1/4x5/16 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 1 shows a Proto 3018 1/4x5/16 open-end wrench with pebbled size fields, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 4.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

Earlier generations of this model marked with the Plomb brand can be seen as the Plomb 3018 Wrenches.


Proto "Los Angeles" 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench

[Proto 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 2. Proto 3030 9/16x5/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 2 shows a Proto 3030 9/16x5/8 open-end wrench with pebbled size fields, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 6.8 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Proto "Los Angeles" 3040 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Proto 3040 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 3. Proto 3040 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 3 shows a Proto 3040 13/16x7/8 open-end wrench with pebbled size fields, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 10.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Combination Wrenches


Proto "Los Angeles" 1212 3/8 Combination Wrench

[Proto 1212 3/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 4. Proto 1212 3/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 4 shows a Proto 1212 3/8 combination wrench, marked with the sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank, and with "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" stamped on the back side.

The overall length is 4.6 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

The pebbled size field design was used on Plomb-marked tools in the late 1940s, and Proto continued to use this style for a few years.


Proto "Los Angeles" 1214 7/16 Combination Wrench

[Proto 1214 7/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 5. Proto 1214 7/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 5 shows a Proto 1214 7/16 combination wrench, marked with the sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank, and with "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" stamped on the back side.

The overall length is 5.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The pebbled size field design was used on Plomb-marked tools in the late 1940s, and Proto continued to use this style for a few years.


Proto "Los Angeles" 1216 1/2 Combination Wrench

[Proto Los Angeles 1216 1/2 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 6. Proto "Los Angeles" 1216 1/2 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 6 shows a Proto 1216 1/2 combination wrench, marked with the sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank, and with "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" stamped on the back side.

The overall length is 6.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Proto "Los Angeles" 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench

[Proto Los Angeles 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 7. Proto "Los Angeles" 1220 5/8 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 7 shows a Proto 1220 5/8 combination wrench, marked with the sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank, and with "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" stamped on the back side.

The overall length is 7.5 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.


Proto "Los Angeles" 1224 3/4 Combination Wrench

[Proto Los Angeles 1224 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 8. Proto "Los Angeles" 1224 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Decal, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 8 shows a Proto 1224 3/4 combination wrench, marked with the sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank, and with "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" stamped on the back side.

The overall length is 9.3 inches, and the finish is black oxide.


Proto 1224 50th Anniversary 3/4 Combination Wrench

[Proto 1224 3/4 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 9. Proto 1224 3/4 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Decal, 1957.

Fig. 9 shows a later Proto 1224 3/4 combination wrench with a 50th anniversary decal, stamped "MFD. U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 9.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The decal is marked "Pendleton Tool Industries Inc." with "50 Years" and "1907-1957" around the oval design.

In addition to commemorating the founding of the company (as Plomb Tool) in 1907, the decal provides a rare indication of the manufacturing date for this tool.


Proto "Los Angeles" 1226 13/16 Combination Wrench

[Proto 1226 13/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 10. Proto 1226 13/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 10 shows a Proto 1226 13/16 combination wrench, marked with the sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank, and with "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" stamped on the back side.

The overall length is 10.3 inches. The finish is cadmium plating, with some loss due to wear and rust.


Proto "Los Angeles" 1246 1-7/16 Combination Wrench

[Proto 1246 1-7/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 11. Proto 1246 1-7/16 Combination Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 11 shows a Proto 1246 1-7/16 combination wrench, marked with the sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank, and with "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" stamped on the back side.

The overall length is 20.6 inches. The finish is chrome plating, with extensive losses due to rust.


Box-End Wrenches


Proto "Los Angeles" 1126 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench

[Proto 1126 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 12. Proto 1126 1/2x9/16 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 12 shows a Proto 1126 1/2x9/16 box-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the shank, and with the fractional sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank.

The overall length is 5.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Proto "Los Angeles" 1130-L 9/16x5/8 Long Box-End Wrench

[Proto 1130-L 9/16x5/8 Long Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 13. Proto 1130-L 9/16x5/8 Long Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 13 shows a Proto 1130-L 9/16x5/8 long-format box-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the shank, and with the fractional sizes forged into pebbled depressions on the shank.

The overall length is 8.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Other Wrenches

Proto offered a wide range of wrenches for specialized applications, such as angle-head obstruction wrenches, flare-nut wrenches, and other specialty wrenches.


Proto 3336 9/16x9/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench

[Proto 3336 9/16x9/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench]
Fig. 14. Proto 3336 9/16x9/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench, ca. 1957+.

Fig. 14 shows a Proto 3336 9/16x9/16 obstruction open-end wrench, stamped "MFD. U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 5.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Proto "Los Angeles" 3348 3/4x3/4 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench

[Proto 3348 3/4x3/4 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench]
Fig. 15. Proto 3348 3/4x3/4 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 15 shows a Proto 3348 3/4x3/4 obstruction open-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The "Los Angeles" marking indicates production between 1949 and 1956.


Proto "Los Angeles" 3352 13/16x13/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench

[Proto 3352 13/16x13/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench]
Fig. 16. Proto 3352 13/16x13/16 Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 16 shows a Proto 3352 13/16x13/16 obstruction open-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 7.7 inches, and the finish is cadmium plating.

The "Los Angeles" marking indicates production between 1949 and 1956.


Proto "Los Angeles" 3364 1 x 1 Inch Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench

[Proto 3364 1x1 Inch Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench]
Fig. 17. Proto 3364 1x1 Inch Angle-Head Obstruction Wrench, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 17 shows a Proto 3364 1x1 inch obstruction open-end wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the shank.

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The "Los Angeles" marking indicates production between 1949 and 1956.


Proto 3712 3/8 Flare Nut Wrenches

[Proto Los Angeles 3712 3/8 Flare Nut Wrench]
Fig. 18. Proto "Los Angeles" 3712 3/8 Flare Nut Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 18 shows an earlier Proto 3712 3/8 flare nut wrench, marked with "Proto" and the fractional size forged into the pebbled handle panel, with "Los Angeles" and "MFD. U.S.A." forged into the back side.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The "Los Angeles" marking indicates production between 1949 and 1956.

[Proto 3712 3/8 Flare Nut Wrench]
Fig. 19. Proto 3712 3/8 Flare Nut Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1957+.

Fig. 19 shows a later Proto 3712 3/8 flare nut wrench, marked with "Proto" and the fractional size forged into the pebbled handle panel, with "MFD. U.S.A." forged into the back side.

The overall length is 6.2 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The absence of the "Los Angeles" marking (see previous figure) indicates production in 1957 or later.


Proto 3718 9/16 Flare Nut Wrench

[Proto 3718 9/16 Flare Nut Wrench]
Fig. 20. Proto 3718 9/16 Flare Nut Wrench, with Inset for Back Side, ca. 1957+.

Fig. 20 shows a Proto 3718 9/16 flare nut wrench, marked with "Proto" and the fractional size forged into the pebbled handle panel, with "MFD. U.S.A." forged into the back side.

The overall length is 6.6 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Proto 3720 5/8 Flare Nut Wrench

[Proto 3720 5/8 Flare Nut Wrench]
Fig. 21. Proto 3720 5/8 Flare Nut Wrench, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. 1957+.

Fig. 21 shows a Proto 3720 5/8 flare nut wrench, marked with "Proto" and the fractional size forged into the pebbled handle panel, with "MFD. U.S.A." forged into the back side.

The overall length is 6.7 inches, and the finish is chrome plating, with losses due to rust.


Proto 371214 Double-Flare Wrench

[Proto 371214 3/8x7/16 Double-Flare Wrench]
Fig. 22. Proto 371214 3/8x7/17 Double-Flare Wrench.

Fig. 22 shows a Proto 371214 3/8x7/16 double-flare wrench, stamped "Mfd. U.S.A." on the shank.

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

Proto's 37xx series of single-ended flare-nut wrenches are well known, but this style of double-flare wrench is less commonly found. We haven't yet found a catalog reference for this example, suggesting that it might have been a special-order item.


Sockets and Drive Tools


Proto WF-38 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Proto WF-38 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 23. Proto WF-38 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Back Side and Side View, ca. Late 1940s to Early 1950s.

Fig. 23 shows a 1/2-drive Proto WF-38 ratchet, stamped with "Proto" and "WF-38" plus a small "US" on the cover plate, with "WF-38" and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the shank on the back side.

The overall length is 10.0 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The small "US" marking suggests that this tool was made for a government contract.


Proto "Los Angeles" 5249 3/8-Drive Ratchet

[Proto 5249 3/8-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 24. Proto 5249 3/8-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1949-1956.

Fig. 24 shows a 3/8-drive Proto 5249 ratchet with a knurled handle, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD USA" on the cover plate.

The overall length is 7.1 inches, and the finish is polished chrome plating.


Proto 5449 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Proto 5449 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 25. Proto 5449 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. Late 1950s to 1960s.

Fig. 25 shows a 1/2-drive Proto 5449 ratchet with a knurled handle, stamped "MFD. U.S.A." with the registered trademark symbol on the cover plate.

The overall length is 10.2 inches, and the finish is polished chrome plating.

The absence of a "Los Angeles" marking indicates production from the late 1950s onward.


Proto 8071785 1 Inch Drive 1-7/8 Socket

[Proto 8071785 1 Inch Drive 1-7/8 Socket]
Fig. 26. Proto 8071785 1 Inch Drive 1-7/8 Socket, with Insets for Construction and Broaching.

Fig. 26 shows a 1 inch drive Proto 8071785 1-7/8 socket with a double-hex crossbar opening.

The finish is chrome plating.

This socket is most likely a special-order item, but the specific application is not yet known.


Pliers

Proto pliers were produced by the J.P. Danielson subsidiary of the company and were typicaly marked with a Danielson date code.


Proto "Los Angeles" [246] 6 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers

[Proto 246 6 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers]
Fig. 27. Proto [246] 6 Inch Slip-Joint Combination Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1952.

Fig. 27 shows a pair of Proto 6 inch combination pliers, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD. U.S.A." near the pivot. Although this example is not marked with a model number, these pliers are listed as model 246 in the Proto catalogs.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

The lower inset shows a close-up of the forged-in code "P.4.2" on the lower handle, although the numbers are indistinct and difficult to read. (There's also a larger "P" to the left of the code which is not part of the standard forged-in code.)

The "Los Angeles" marking places the manufacturing date between 1949 and 1956, and the "2" year digit in the Danielson date code then indicates production in 1952.


Proto 202 6 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers

[Proto 202 6 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers]
Fig. 28. Proto 202 6 Inch Thin-Nose Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side View, 1960s+.

Fig. 28 shows a pair of Proto 202 6 inch thin-nose combination pliers, stamped "MFD. U.S.A." near the pivot.

The overall length is 6.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Chevron" gripping pattern on the handles. This pattern appears to have been used beginning in the early to mid 1960s, as a successor to the Herringbone gripping pattern.


Proto 234 "Multi-Plier" Adjustable Compound-Leverage Pliers

[Proto 234 Multi-Plier Adjustable Compound-Leverage Pliers]
Fig. 29. Proto 234 "Multi-Plier" Adjustable Compound-Leverage Pliers, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, ca. 1957+.

Fig. 29 shows a pair of Proto 234 pliers with an unusual adjustable compound-action mechanism.

The handle is stamped "MFD. U.S.A." with "Pat. No. 2600512" below. One of the pieces is also marked with a forged-in code "K.7.4" (not shown).

The overall length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is polished chrome.

The patent notice refers to patent #2,600,512, filed by H.A. Mead in 1947 and issued in 1952.

The Proto catalogs referred to this as the "Multi-Plier" and noted the great gripping force of the compound leverage action. Currently our earliest catalog reference to these pliers is from 1954, and this model continued to be available at least through 1962.


Proto [240] 10 Inch Waterpump Pliers

[Proto 240 10 Inch Waterpump Pliers]
Fig. 30. Proto [240] 10 Inch Waterpump Pliers, with Inset for Side View and Marking Detail, 1953.

Fig. 30 shows a pair of Proto [240] 10 inch waterpump pliers, stamped "Proto" with "Los Angeles" and "Mfd. U.S.A." below.

The handles are also marked with forged-in codes "O-4-3" (front) and "U93" (back side), with the front code shown as a close-up in the inset.

The overall length is 10.1 inches, and the finish is plain steel, with pitting due to rust.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the "Herringbone" gripping pattern.

The "Los Angeles" marking places the manufacturing date between 1949 and 1956, and the "3" year digit in the Danielson date code indicates production in 1953.


Proto 242-G 8 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers

[Proto 242-G 8 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers]
Fig. 31. Proto 242-G 8 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 31 shows a pair of Proto 242-G 8 inch tongue-and-groove pliers, stamped "Proto" with the ® registered trademark symbol, with "Professional" and "U.S.A." below.

The handles are also marked with forged-in codes "C38" (front) and "B38" (back side), with the front code shown as a close-up in the inset.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is chrome plating. The handles are equipped with plastic grips, probably signified by the "G" suffix on the model number.

The tongue-and-groove plier design was invented in the early 1930s and sold under the well-known "Channellock" brand by the Champion DeArment Company. Based on a catalog review, Proto was offering tongue-and-groove pliers by 1953 (or earlier), and by 1961 these models were referred to as "Power Track" pliers in the catalogs.


Proto [242] 8 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers

[Proto 242 8 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers]
Fig. 32. Proto [242] 8 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1957+.

Fig. 32 shows a pair of Proto [242] 8 inch tongue-and-groove pliers, stamped "MFD. U.S.A." with "U.S." to the right.

The handle is also marked with a forged-in code "S108", shown as a close-up in the inset.

The overall length is 7.9 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

Although not marked with a model number, these pliers are listed as model 242 in the Proto catalogs. The "U.S." marking and plain finish suggest that this example was probably supplied for a government contract.


Proto 243 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers

[Proto 243 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers]
Fig. 33. Proto 243 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers, with Inset for Marking Detail, ca. 1960s.

Fig. 33 shows a pair of Proto 243 10 inch tongue-and-groove pliers, stamped "MFD. U.S.A." and "Proto" with the registered trademark symbol.

The handles are also marked with forged-in codes, one handle with "E-10-5" shown in detail in the inset, and the other with a less distinct "B-11-5" (not shown).

The overall length is 9.9 inches, and the finish is polished chrome.


Proto "Los Angeles" 260 Thin-Nose Pliers

[Proto 260 Thin-Nose Pliers]
Fig. 34. Proto 260 Thin-Nose Pliers, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 34 shows a pair of Proto 260 thin-nose pliers, stamped "Los Angeles" and "MFD. U.S.A." near the pivot.

The overall length is 6.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel with polished faces.


Adjustable Wrenches


Proto "Los Angeles" 708-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Proto 708-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 35. Proto 708-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1953.

Fig. 35 shows a Proto 708-S 8 inch adjustable wrench, stamped "Los Angeles" on the shank, and with "Forged Alloy Steel" forged into the shank.

The shank also has a forged-in code "X-10-3" visible near the hanging hole.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

To estimate the manufacturing date of this wrench, the plain hanging hole would place the production in the range 1948-1960, and the "Proto Los Angeles" marking would narrow this slightly to 1948-1956. Within this date range, the year digit "3" in the Danielson date code system indicates production in 1953.


Proto "Los Angeles" 712-S 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Proto 712-S 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 36. Proto 712-S 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, 1951.

Fig. 36 shows a Proto 712-S 12 inch adjustable wrench, stamped with "Proto" and "Los Angeles" on the shank. The shank is marked with "12 In." and "Forged Alloy Steel" forged into the front, with "12 In." and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the back side.

The shank also has a forged-in code "N-9-1" visible near the hanging hole, shown as a close-up in the middle inset.

The overall length is 12.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.3 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.70 inches. The finish is black oxide.

To estimate the manufacturing date of this wrench, the plain hanging hole would place the production in the range 1948-1960, and the "Proto Los Angeles" marking would narrow this slightly to 1948-1956. Within this date range, the year digit "1" in the Danielson date code system indicates production in 1951.

A similar example in the P&C brand can be seen as the P&C 1712 Adjustable Wrench.


Specialty Tools


Proto "Los Angeles" 6735 Long-Shaft Valve Adjuster

[Proto 6735 Long-Shaft Valve Adjuster]
Fig. 37. Proto 6735 Long-Shaft Valve Adjuster, with Inset for Back Side Detail.

Fig. 37 shows a Proto 6735 long-shaft valve adjuster, marked with "Los Angeles" and "MFD. U.S.A." forged into the underside of the handle, and with a "Pat. No. 2,007,432" patent notice.

The overall length is 6.9 inches, and the finish is plain aluminum.

The patent notice refers to patent #2,007,432, issued to E. Mancuso in 1935.

This tool is very similar to the well-known Proto 6734 valve adjuster, first produced beginning in the 1930s as the Plomb 2034 and later as the Plomb 6734 and Proto 6734. This model is fitted with a much longer screwdriver shaft, apparently required for accessing a recessed tappet adjusting screw.


Penens, Fleet, and Challenger

The Penens Corporation is known primarily for its operation as a subsidiary of Plomb Tool (and later Proto). We recently discovered (October 2015) that Penens was established in 1941 as a reorganization and renaming of the Cragin Tool (previously Bog Manufacturing) operations acquired by Plomb in 1940. (See our article on Bog Manufacturing for the interesting early history of the company.)

Penens did contract production for Plomb during the war, and afterwards produced tools for several economy lines as part of the Plomb (later Proto) empire.

As a subsidiary of Plomb, Penens had an office in Los Angeles, and its manufacturing facility was initially at Menard Street in Chicago, at the old Bog Manufacturing factory.

In 1948 the company moved to a larger factory at 3900 Wesley Terrace in Schiller Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. A notice for this move was found in a 1948 edition of Chain Store Age. Tools continued to be marked "Penens Corp. Chicago" after the move to Schiller Park.

The Fleet Brand

In 1947 Penens registered a trademark for "Fleet Quality Tools" and produced Fleet branded tools for a number of years.

The Challenger Brand

In addition to the Fleet brand, Penens also produced tools for the "Challenger" brand, at least up until the early 1960s. A 1951 Challenger catalog lists the Penens Corporation in Schiller Park, Illinois as the company address, and shows the Challenger logo as a gladiator's helmet.

However, a later Challenger catalog from the early 1960s lists the company as the Challenger Division of Pendleton Tool Industries, with an address in Cleveland, Ohio. Pendleton Tool was the parent company of Plomb Tool, Penens, P&C, and other subsidiaries, but it's currently a bit of a mystery that Challenger ended up in Cleveland. One possibility is that Pendleton had shifted the production of Challenger tools to the Vlchek factory in Cleveland, after having acquired Vlchek Tool in 1959.

Name Change to Fleet Tools Corporation

By 1965 Penens had changed its name to the Fleet Tool Corporation. We haven't found documentation for the exact date, but references to the Fleet Tool Corporation in Schiller Park appear in 1965 records of hearings before the U.S. Congress. The company continued to produce tools under the Fleet brand, but presumably without the Penens marking.


Penens "Chicago" 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench

[Penens Chicago 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench]
Fig. 38. Penens Chicago 13/16x7/8 Open-End Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, ca. 1952+.

Fig. 38 shows a Penens 13/16x7/8 open-end wrench with depressed panels, marked "Penens Corp. Chicago" and "Mfd. U.S.A." in forged raised letters.

The overall length is 8.5 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The inset shows the forged-in code "PJ.3.2" on the back side.

The type of forged-in code noted on this example is frequently found on Penens tools made in the depressed-panel style. Since the format of the codes matches the Danielson date code system, this suggests that either the wrench were made by Danielson for Penens, or that Penens had adopted Danielson's date coding for their own production. In either case, the "2" year code and "Chicago" marking could indicate production in 1952 or 1962.


Penens 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench

[Penens 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 39. Penens 13/16x7/8 Offset Box Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail.

Fig. 39 shows a Penens 13/16x7/8 offset box wrench with raised panels, stamped "Penens Corp." and "MFD. USA" on the front panel, with "Drop Forged in U.S.A." and the fractional sizes on the back side panel.

The overall length is 13.8 inches, and the finish is plain steel.


Penens "Chicago" 6314 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench

[Penens 6314 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 40. Penens "Chicago" 6314 3/8x7/16 Offset Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1948+.

Fig. 40 shows a Penens 6314 3/8x7/16 offset box wrench, stamped "Penens Corp. Chicago" with the model number and fractional sizes.

The shank appears to have a forged-in code at the left, but it's too faint to read.

The overall length is 7.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.


Penens "Chicago" 6332 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench

[Penens 6332 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench]
Fig. 41. Penens "Chicago" 6332 15/16x1 Offset Box Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1948+.

Fig. 41 shows a Penens 6332 15/16x1 offset box wrench, stamped "Penens Corp. Chicago" with the model number and fraactional sizes.

The shank also has a forged in code "D.3.2" faintly visible at the left.

The overall length is 14.4 inches.


Penens "Chicago" 9/16 Combination Wrench

[Penens 9/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 42. Penens "Chicago" 9/16 Combination Wrench, ca. 1948+.

Fig. 42 shows a Penens 9/16 combination wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Penens Corp. Chicago" and "MFD. U.S.A." forged into the panel.


Penens "Chicago" 6026 13/16 Combination Wrench

[Penens 6026 13/16 Combination Wrench]
Fig. 43. Penens "Chicago" 6026 13/16 Combination Wrench, with Inset for Back Side Detail, 1957.

Fig. 43 shows a Penens 6026 13/16 combination wrench with depressed panels, marked with "Penens Corp. Chicago" and "Mfd. U.S.A." forged into the front panel.

The model number "6026" is stamped on the face.

The overall length is 10.4 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The inset shows the forged-in code "B.8.7" on the back side.

The forged-in code on the back side matches the form of the Danielson date code, suggesting that Penens had adopted Danielson's date coding system for their production. In any event, the "7" year code and "Chicago" marking indicate production in 1957.


Penens "Chicago" 4204 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Penens 4204 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 44. Penens 4204 4 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Back Side, 1953.

Fig. 44 shows a Penens 4204 4 inch adjustable wrench, stamped "Penens Corp." and "Chicago" on the shank, and with "Forged Alloy Steel" forged into the back side shank. The shank also has a forged-in code "B 12 3" visible at the right.

The overall length is 4.3 inches.

The forged-in code "B 12 3" is the Danielson Date Code for the tool, and the "3" year code and plain hanging hole indicate production in 1953.


Fleet 4008-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Fleet 4008-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 45. Fleet 4008-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, 1950.

Fig. 45 shows a Fleet 4008-S 8 inch adjustable wrench, stamped with the model number and "Fleet" logo on the shank, with "Penens Corp. Chicago" on the back side.

The shank is also marked with "8 In." and "Forged Alloy Steel" forged into the front, with "8 In." and "Made in U.S.A." forged into the back side.

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The finish is plain steel.

The front shank is also marked with a forged-in code "E-6-0" near the hanging hole, a Danielson date code indicating production in 1950.


Penens "Chicago" 3158 8 Inch Combination Pliers

[Penens 3158 8 Inch Combination Pliers]
Fig. 46. Penens "Chicago" 3158 8 Inch Combination Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. Early to Mid 1960s.

Fig. 46 shows a pair of Penens 3158 8 inch slip-joint combination pliers, stamped with "Penens Corp. Chicago" near the pivot.

The overall length is 8.0 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

The top inset shows a side view of the pliers, illustrating the gripping pattern with opposing chevrons.

This "Chevron" gripping pattern is apparently the successor to the "Herringbone" pattern used from the early 1940s through 1950s.

The handles of these pliers have faint traces of date codes, but we were not able to read the digits. The use of the Penens name indicates production up through the mid 1960s, when the company name changed to Fleet.


Penens 1260 3/8-Drive Ratchet

[Penens 1260 3/8-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 47. Penens 1260 3/8-Drive Ratchet, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 47 shows a 3/8-drive Penens 1260 ratchet, marked with "Penens Corp." and the model number embossed on the shifter.

The overall length is 7.3 inches.

Our article on Vlchek shows a very similar 1/2-drive Vlchek 3800 Ratchet, likely made by Penens.


Penens 1661 1/2-Drive Ratchet

[Penens 1661 1/2-Drive Ratchet]
Fig. 48. Penens 1661 1/2-Drive Ratchet, with Inset for Side View.

Fig. 48 shows a 1/2-drive Penens 1661 ratchet, marked "Penens Corporation" and "Mfd. U.S.A." on the cover plate.

The overall length is 9.6 inches.

The head and shank have been finely ground and polished up to the knurled handle, and the finish is polished chrome.

The ratchet mechanism uses a 22-tooth gear with dual pawls controlled by a lobed shifter. Basically this is the same mechanism used in all Plomb-family reversible ratchets, and the soft pawl springs give it a smooth action with minimal back-drag.


Penens 1/2-Drive Sockets

In our next figures we'll show some examples of sockets made by Penens, including sockets marked both "Challenger" and "Penens".

[Penens 1/2-Drive 16xx Sockets]
Fig. 49. Penens 1/2-Drive 16xx Sockets, with Inset for Broaching.

Fig. 49 shows a collection of five 1/2-drive Penens sockets, each marked "Penens Corp Mfd. U.S.A." and "Alloy". The models and sizes are, from the left, 1614 (7/16), 1616 (1/2), 1618 (9/16), 1626 (13/16), and 1640 (1-1/4).

The finish is chrome plating, fully polished for the larger sockets, but with a satin upper part for the smaller sockets with stepped diameters.

The inset shows the 12-point broaching with hot-broached construction, and the annular ring of displaced material can be easily seen in the larger sockets. Note that the base of the sockets has a small indented mark resembling a "+" symbol, or perhaps a four-leaf clover. This mark on the outside is opposite a dimple on the inner (drive) wall, and is always centered on one of the drive flats. The dimple helps to secure the socket to a drive stud, as a simple (and probably cheaper) alternative to a drilled hole for this purpose.

Sockets for other brands in the Proto family also use a dimple, at least for some of the production, but the mark on the outside is usually something other than a "+" shape.

The fourth socket from the left (1626) is marked for both Challenger and Penens, as is the example in the next figure.


Penens Challenger 1/2-Drive Socket

Our next example shows a tool marked with both the Challenger brand and with Penens as the manufacturer.

[Challenger 1/2-Drive 9/16 Socket]
Fig. 50. Challenger 1/2-Drive 9/16 Socket, with Inset for Broaching.

Fig. 50 shows a Challenger 1618 1/2-drive 9/16 socket, marked "Penens Corp. Mfd. U.S.A." and "Alloy".

The inset shows the 12-point broaching with hot-broached construction. The manufacturing date is probably sometime in the 1950s.


Later Fleet Tool Production


Fleet 4210-S 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[Fleet 4210-S 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 51. Fleet 4210-S 10 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, 1966+.

Fig. 51 shows a later Fleet 4210-S 10 inch adjustable wrench, stamped with the model number and "Fleet" logo on the shank.

The shank is also marked with "10 In." and "Forged Alloy Steel" forged into the front, with "10 In." and "MFD. U.S.A." forged into the back side, along with a "U56" forged-in code near the hanging hole (see lower inset).

The overall length is 10.1 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.1 inches. The head thickness was measured at 0.54 inches. The finish is chrome plating.

This wrench uses a press-fit pin to hold the adjusting knurl, rather than the threaded pin used in older production.

The forged-in code "U56" is a Danielson date code, but currently we're unsure of the decade of production for this wrench. The "6" year code and ringed hanging hole could indicate production in 1966, 1976, 1986, or later.


P&C

The interesting (even entertaining) early history of P&C is covered in our article on the P&C Hand Forged Tool Company.

In this section we'll look at selected examples of P&C's later production, with the selection based the presence of the registered trademark symbol on the tool. Since the P&C-Logo wasn't registered until 1953, the trademark symbol should indicate production after that point. P&C remained in operation until about 1968.


P&C 2528 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench

[P&C 2528 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench]
Fig. 52. P&C 2528 3/4x7/8 Box-End Wrench, with Inset for Side View, ca. 1949 to Mid 1950s.

Fig. 52 shows a P&C 2528 3/4x7/8 box-end wrench, stamped with the P&C-Hex logo on the shank, with the fractional sizes forged into small depressed panels ("size fields") at the ends.

The overall length is 13.2 inches, and the finish is chrome plating.

In this example the P&C logo is not yet marked with the registered trademark symbol, but the use of forged-in sizes in "size fields" indicates production during the Proto era.


P&C 1234 Compound-Leverage Slip-Joint Pliers

[P&C 1234 Compound-Leverage Slip-Joint Pliers]
Fig. 53. P&C 1234 Compound-Leverage Slip-Joint Pliers, with Inset for Side View, ca. Mid 1950s to 1960s.

Fig. 53 shows a pair of P&C 1234 compound-leverage pliers, marked "Mfd. U.S.A." with the P&C-Hex logo and a patent notice. (A patent number is stamped on the tool, but has been partially worn off so that only the last three digits "512" are readable.)

The overall (extended) length is 8.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The full patent number was found to be patent #2,600,512, issued to H.A. Mead in 1952. This patent was also used by Proto for its equivalent model Proto 234 Pliers shown in an earlier figure.


P&C 1243 "Power Track" 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers

[P&C 1243 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers]
Fig. 54. P&C 1243 10 Inch Tongue-and-Groove Pliers, with Insets for Marking Detail, ca. 1953+.

Fig. 54 shows a pair of P&C 1243 10 inch tongue-and-groove pliers, stamped "Mfd. U.S.A." with the P&C-Hex logo and registered trademark symbol.

The overall (extended) length is 10.3 inches, and the finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

Both handles are marked with forged-in codes, though unfortunately both codes are very difficult to read (see insets). The lower handle appears to be "U.7.8", but the last digit is unclear, and the upper handle appears to be "7.8.U", a reordering of the other code.

The tongue-and-groove plier design was invented in the early 1930s and sold under the well-known "Channellock" brand by the Champion DeArment Company. Based on a catalog review, P&C was offering tongue-and-groove pliers by 1953 (or earlier), and by 1961 these models were referred to as "Power Track" pliers in the catalogs.


P&C 1708 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[P&C 1708 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 55. P&C 1708 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Back Side Detail, 1950.

Fig. 55 shows a P&C 1708 8 inch adjustable wrench, stamped with the P&C-Hex logo on the front, with the model number on the back side.

The shank is marked with "8 In." and "Forged Alloy Steel" forged into the front, with "Made in U.S.A." forged into the back side. The shank also has a forged-in code "H-11-0" visible at the right. (See middle inset for a close-up.)

The overall length is 8.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The maximum head thickness was measured at 0.52 inches.

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The forged-in code "H-11-0" is the Danielson Date Code for the tool. For this wrench, the "0" year code along with the plain hanging hole and no R-Circle symbol indicate production in 1950.

As part of the Proto Empire, P&C's adjustable wrenches were made by the J.P. Danielson company, another company acquired by Plomb Tool in the 1940s. Other examples of Danielson production can be seen as the Danielson "Bet'R-Grip" 6 Inch Adjustable Wrench, Plomb 706 Adjustable Wrench, and Vlchek AV6 Adjustable Wrench.


P&C 1708-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[P&C 1708-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 56. P&C 1708-S 8 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Inset for Side View, 1955.

Fig. 56 shows a P&C 1708-S 8 inch adjustable wrench, stamped with the P&C-Hex logo and a registered trademark symbol, and with "Forged Alloy Steel" in forged raised letters. The shank also has a forged-in code "P55" visible at the right.

The overall length is 8.1 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.0 inches. The maximum head thickness was measured at 0.50 inches.

This example is finished in black oxide, as indicated by the "S" suffix to the model number. Adjustable wrenches were also available with a chrome plated finish.

The forged-in code "P55" is the Danielson Date Code for the tool, and the "5" year code and plain hanging hole indicate production in 1955. Based on the 1955 production date, this wrench is currently our earliest P&C tool bearing the R-Circle trademark symbol.


P&C 1712 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench

[P&C 1712 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench]
Fig. 57. P&C 1712 12 Inch Adjustable Wrench, with Insets for Side View and Marking Detail, 1956.

Fig. 57 shows a P&C 1712 12 inch adjustable wrench, marked with the P&C-Hex logo and model number stamped on the shank, and with "12 In." and "Forged Alloy Steel" forged into the front.

The shank also has a forged-in code "B.4.6" visible at the right near the hanging hole, and shown as a close-up in the middle inset.

The overall length is 12.2 inches, and the maximum opening is 1.3 inches. The maximum head thickness was measured at 0.70 inches.

The finish is chrome plating with polished faces.

The forged-in code "B.4.6" is the Danielson Date Code for the tool, and the "6" year code and plain hanging hole indicate production in 1956. With the 1956 production date we would have expected to see an R-Circle trademark symbol following the P&C logo, but apparently the trademark symbol was not yet consistently marked.


Tubing Appliance Corporation (T.A.C.)

In the mid 1950s Plomb Tool acquired the Tubing Appliance Corporation (T.A.C.), a maker of specialty tools for refrigeration and hydraulic line service.


T.A.C. 9011 3/8-Drive 11/16 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench

The next two figures show examples of T.A.C.'s line of ratcheting crowfoot wrenches.

[T.A.C. 9011 3/8-Drive 11/16 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench]
Fig. 58. T.A.C. 9011 3/8-Drive 11/16 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench, ca. 1952-1954.

Fig. 58 shows a 3/8-drive T.A.C. 9011 11/16 ratcheting crowfoot wrench, stamped "Tubing Appliance Co." and "L.A. Cal." with a "Pat. Pend." patent notice.

The overall length is 2.3 inches, and the finish is plain steel.

The pending status refers to patent #2,691,315, filed by A.J. Brame in 1952 and issued in 1954.


T.A.C. 9031 1/2-Drive 1-15/16 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench

[T.A.C. 9031 1/2-Drive 1-15/16 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench]
Fig. 59. T.A.C. 9031 1/2-Drive 1-15/16 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench, ca. 1951+.

Fig. 59 shows a 1/2-drive T.A.C. 9031 1-15/16 ratcheting crowfoot wrench, stamped with "TAC" and "L.A. Cal." on the top line, followed by "Tubing Appliance Co." and "Made in U.S.A.", and with "U.S. Patent No. 2,578,686" along the bottom edge.

The overall length is 4.0 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

The patent notice refers to patent #2,578,686, filed by H.L. Fish in 1945 and issued in 1951. This patent was assigned to the Tubing Appliance Corporation.


T.A.C. 9036 1/2-Drive 2-1/4 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench

[T.A.C. 9036 1/2-Drive 2-1/4 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench]
Fig. 60. T.A.C. 9036 1/2-Drive 2-1/4 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench, ca. 1952-1954.

Fig. 60 shows a 1/2-drive T.A.C. 9036 2-1/4 ratcheting crowfoot wrench, stamped "Tubing Appliance Co." and "L.A. Cal." with a "Pat. Pend." patent notice.

The overall length is 4.5 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

The pending status refers to patent #2,691,315, filed by A.J. Brame in 1952 and issued in 1954.


T.A.C. 9042 1/2-Drive 2-5/8 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench

[T.A.C. 9042 1/2-Drive 2-5/8 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench]
Fig. 61. T.A.C. 9042 1/2-Drive 2-5/8 Ratcheting Crowfoot Wrench, ca. 1952-1954.

Fig. 61 shows a 1/2-drive T.A.C. 9042 2-5/8 ratcheting crowfoot wrench, stamped "Tubing Appliance Co." and "L.A. Cal." with a "Pat. Pend." patent notice.

The overall length is 5.2 inches, and the finish is black oxide.

The pending status refers to patent #2,691,315, filed by A.J. Brame in 1952 and issued in 1954.


Proto (T.A.C.) 500 1/4-Drive Ratcheting Flare Socket Set

The next figure shows a clever and unusual application for a ratcheting crowfoot, a specialty socket set with split sockets for use on brake lines or refrigeration fittings.

[Proto (T.A.C.) 500 1/4-Drive Flare Socket Set]
Fig. 62. Proto (T.A.C.) 500 1/4-Drive Ratcheting Flare Socket Set, ca. 1955-1960s.

Fig. 62 shows a Proto (T.A.C.) 500 1/4-drive ratcheting flare socket set in a custom metal box. The set consists of a 500M ratcheting crowfoot driver, a 4766 flex-head handle, five special split sockets for flare nuts, and one closed socket.

The sockets are marked "Proto-T.A.C." with "MFD. USA" and "Patented", and the model number is marked as "500" on all of the sockets. The socket sizes are 3/8, 7/16, and 9/16" in the back row, with 5/9, 11/16, and 9/16 (closed) in the front row.

[Top Cover of Proto (T.A.C.) 500 Flare Socket Set]
Fig. 63. Top Cover of Proto (T.A.C.) 500 Flare Socket Set.

Fig. 63 shows the top cover of the socket set box.


Proto (T.A.C.) 500M 1/4-Drive Ratcheting Crowfoot Driver

[Proto (T.A.C.) 500M 1/4-Drive Ratcheting Crowfoot Driver]
Fig. 64. Proto (T.A.C.) 500M 1/4-Drive Ratcheting Crowfoot Driver.

Fig. 64 shows the Proto 500M ratcheting crowfoot driver from the model 500 socket set. The faceplate is stamped "T.A.C." and "U.S. Pat. 2578686 & 2578687", with "Made in U.S.A." at the bottom.

The patent notice refers to patents #2,578,686 and #2,578,687, filed by H.L. Fish in 1945 and 1947, respectively. Both patents were issued on December 18, 1951 with assignment to the Tubing Appliance Company.


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