Last updated: 30 September 2016

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Tool Markings

North Bros. always used that form of their Company name -- never North Brothers -- in marking their tools. Similarly, "YANKEE" was always rendered that way -- never without the quotes or in lower case lettering. The layout and arrangement of stampings varied from tool to tool.

* From the introduction of "Yankee" tools in 1895 until North Bros. Mfg. Co. was sold to Stanley in 1946:

"YANKEE" (Tool No.) NORTH BROS. MFG. CO. PHILA. PA. U.S.A. (followed by Patent dates)

* After acquisition of North Brothers by Stanley in 1946:


* After Stanley closed the North Bros. Philadelphia plant in 1959 and moved "YANKEE" Tool production to New Britain, Conn:

STANLEY ® YANKEE (Tool No.) MADE IN U.S.A. (Note: I have not included these tools on my web pages in keeping with this page title - North Bros. "Yankee" Tools).

Tool Finish

Exposed metal surfaces were painted black or dark gray enamel or nickel/chrome plated unless otherwise noted.

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"A" suffix tools

The nickel plating on early "YANKEE" tools often wore off with use to expose the brass under lay. WWII production tools were not plated in order to conserve nickel which was a war-essential commodity - the metal surfaces were often blued, painted or simply left as lightly polished brass - aluminum was sometimes substituted for steel where practical.

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"YANKEE" decals were affixed to all pre-1924 spiral ratchet screwdriver hardwood handles which were originally finished with what appears to be reddish brown stain/lacquer or varnish (not specified by the Company) as were hand drill handles and knobs.

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"YANKEE" decals which included type of tool were affixed to the main gear wheels of hand drills.

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"YANKEE" decals which included type of tool and factory address were affixed to the frame of most hand drills.

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"YANKEE" was impressed on the side of "A" suffix screwdriver handles. This stamping was often weakly struck and became hard to distinguish after much use. The finish color on these handles (similarly for "A" suffix hand drills) has been described by some as cranberry.

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"cranberry" lacquered handle and knob on 1530A hand drill

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A red colored "YANKEE" was impressed into the top of the composite rubber handle pad of the model 2100/2101 series bit braces.


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No. 105 Radio Tool Set with wrapped tool accessories in factory packing box

"YANKEE" tools were packaged and sold in substantial cardboard packing boxes to which were affixed yellow paper labels that described how to use the tool and outlined it's features. Accessories were wrapped in plain paper or enclosed in brown paper envelopes.

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"YANKEE" No. 100 Tool Set with paper wrapped screwdrivers in fitted wood box.

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"YANKEE" No. 30A Spiral Ratchet Screwdriver and factory packing box.

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These screw drivers came from the factory accompanied by a set of bits (example)

Packing box top labels were changed to reflect the "A" suffix series tool designations (mid 1920s to late 1930s) and instructions were updated if needed.

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No. 131 Spiral Ratchet Screwdriver box top label

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"Yankee" No. 131/131A Spiral Ratchet Screwdriver box top label directions for use

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No. 131A Spiral Ratchet Screwdriver box top label

Abbreviated tool information labels were affixed to the ends of packing boxes.

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No. 1431 Radio Hand Drill factory box end label


Three very imaginative and talented inventors designed innumerable (mostly ratchet) hand tool mechanisms and assigned their patents to North Bros:

Furbish worked mostly alone, but Leopold and Fegley frequently collaborated in producing their designs.

The Directory of American Tool And Machinery Patents Search Facility is an outstanding tool for researching patents by Patentee, Assignee, Manufacturing Company ..... and so on.

To examine North Brothers Manufacturing Co. Patents: Visit this page and click the Search button

There is one more Patent assigned separately to North Bros. - US Patent: 1,059,132 Means For attaching handles to tools - bit storage handle for the North Bros. (e.g. 1530 & some 14xx series) eggbeater drills.

Patents expired after twenty years from the date of issuance. After that the design was consigned to the Public Domain.


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Link to Vintage Woodworking Hand Tools Directory