War Finish Socket Head

The blog has covered a number of hand tools over the years, but these have always been military marked and for army or air force service. Tonight we have another tool to look at that is a little different in that it is a tool produced during wartime, that was most likely for civilian use. This socket attachment is undated, but stamped ‘War Finish’:imageThis is an extension bar for a hex-drive socket set as it has a large head to go over a nut:imageThe head also has a hole cross bored through it to allow a metal pry bar to be fitted here to increase the torque when tightening or loosening a stubborn nut. The opposite end of the tool has a hexagonal fitting to allow it to be fitted into the socket wrench:imageStamped on the body is a number ‘2097’:imageAnd most importantly for us the term ‘War Finish’:imageWar Finish was never an officially government sanction economy procedure, but most tool manufacturers could not get hold of their usual high quality raw materials to coat tools in either paint or chrome to stop them rusting. Other changes made might include not cleaning up castings as well as pre-war standards or reducing the number of processes needed to finish the tool so it could be made quicker at the expense of looking more crude. The term ‘War Finish’ was applied to indicate to customers that this tool was not to the grade one might expect pre-war, but the company was working under wartime conditions and trying to save labour and materials in its manufacture. It must be said that there was never anything wrong with these tools in how they functioned, but rather in how they were finished.

This particular tool has the trade mark ‘Britool’ which indicates it was made by the British Tool and Engineering Company, who had copy-writed that term back in 1920. This Wolverhampton company has a following amongst collectors of old tools, and this thread might be of interest if you wish to look into its history in more detail and see some of the range of products the company manufactured.


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