NORTH BROS. MFG. CO. "YANKEE" Radio Tool Sets
Circa 1920s-1930s

Last updated: 20 December 2019

Introductory Note:

I have always admired North Bros. "YANKEE" tools for their quality and reliability. I have used many of them throughout my lifetime and still do. I have a particular fondness for their radio tools because of their excellent design and function. I still find my radio tool sets very useful in performing light maintenance work around our home - a secondary use that was touted in the North Bros. "YANKEE" catalogs. These tools are not often encountered these days but they do show up occasionally at online sales venues such as ebay or at yard sales and flea markets.

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"YANKEE" Radio Tools - hardware store counter display

Description and function of the above items in the No. 105 Radio Tool Set (left to right)

Each of the individual attachments except the countersink is stamped YANKEE in a location where it is not easily worn off. Socket sizes are stamped just below YANKEE on those attachments.

The 9 1/2" long, single speed, No. 1431 Radio Hand Drill (background) comes with a 9/32" capacity three jaw chuck to accommodate the Radio tool attachments.

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In the days of Radio's infancy - the 1920s and 1930s - many amateur enthusiasts worked on their own radios in their homes, maintaining and repairing them as needed. Some even built their own radios. I used to assist my father, who was a great tinkerer, in repairing and modifying radios belonging to friends and relatives during the late 1930s and 1940s. I also built my own crystal radios.

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ZENITH SIX TUBE MID CENTURY RADIO MODEL 6D030 (1946)
Popular mid 1940s wood cabinet/chassis table top radio

One of my vintage radios. I turn it on every morning and listen to the old time music on a local radio station. The radio still functions perfectly. I perform routine maintenance on it using my YANKEE Radio Tools.


"YANKEE" Radio Tools were available in two sets: No. 105 packaged in the standard North Bros. pale green cardboard box with a descriptive yellow label and No. 106 which consisted of the No. 105 Tool Set plus a No. 1431 Radio Hand Drill, in a fitted wooden chest (which in turn was in a standard North Bros. cardboard packing box). Both of these sets were listed by North Bros. in their tool catalogs from the early 1920s until sometime in the late 1930s.


The "YANKEE" N0. 105 Radio Tool Set consists of a No. 230 Ratchet Tool Holder plus a set of attachments and a special wrench in a standard North Bros. cardboard packing box.

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No. 105 Radio Tool Set with paper wrapped attachments in original factory box

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Original factory box end label


The "YANKEE" N0. 106 Radio Tool Set consists of a No. 105 Radio Tool Set plus a No. 1431 Radio Hand Drill fitted in a mahogany finish wooden chest contained within a standard North Bros. cardboard packing box.

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The chest is made from straight grain soft wood with mahogany stained exterior

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Chest was sold in standard North Bros. cardboard packing box.

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Open No. 106 Radio Tool Set (complete) chest

The individual tool attachments are secured in a spring activated drilled out block in the chest lid and are extracted after elevating the block by pushing down on the left edge of it. The retaining blocks in the chest lid are glued in place. The special wrench is secured in the lid via a spring steel retainer. The No. 1431 Radio Hand Drill and No. 230 Ratchet Tool Holder are snugly secured in place by wooden blocks which are in turn affixed to the chest floor by brads.


The No. 230 Ratchet Tool Holder was only sold as part of the No. 105 and No. 106 Radio Tool Sets.

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Barrel is stamped:
"YANKEE" No. 230
NORTH BROS. MFG. CO.
PHILA. PA. U.S.A.
Pat. 2-97
May 4-06 -- MAY 4-15

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The No. 1431 Radio Hand Drill comes with a 9/32" capacity chuck to accommodate the Radio tool attachments. Although diminutive in size (9 1/2" long), it is ruggedly made and embodies the renowned North Bros. quality of manufacture. The No. 1431 Hand Drill was offered separately from the No. 106 Radio Tool Set as a stand alone tool in the North Bros. catalogs.

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No. 1431 Radio Hand Drill with original 1920s era factory box

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1920s era factory box end label

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Handle ferrule is stamped:
"YANKEE" No. 1431
NORTH BROS. MFG. CO.
PHILA. PA. U.S.A.

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Chuck is stamped:
"YANKEE"
NORTH BROS. MFG. CO.
PHILA. PA. U.S.A. PAT. MAR 15, 12


NOTE

The No. 1431 hand drill was superseded by the No. 1431A (incorporating some minor changes) sometime during the 1930s. It appears that some of the later production No. 1431A hand drills came with a slightly longer chuck which made them a very tight fit in the No. 106 tool set chests.


The No. 105 and No. 106 Radio Tool sets were discontinued by Stanley Tools when they acquired North Bros. Mfg. Co. in 1946, but the No. 1431A hand drill was continued as a stand alone tool and was subsequently stamped with the Stanley name.


1920s North Bros. Advertisement

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